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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

May 10

The Dying Words of Stonewall Jackson

By Sidney Lanier (1842–1881)

  • Stonewall Jackson was shot by his own men while reconnoitring at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. He died on May 10.

  • “Order A. P. Hill to prepare for battle.”
  • “Tell Major Hawks to advance the Commissary train.”
  • “Let us cross the river and rest in the shade.”

  • THE STARS of Night contain the glittering Day

    And rain his glory down with sweeter grace

    Upon the dark World’s grand, enchanted face—

    All loth to turn away.

    And so the Day, about to yield his breath,

    Utters the stars unto the listening Night,

    To stand for burning fare-thee-wells of light

    Said on the verge of death.

    O hero-life that lit us like the sun!

    O hero-words that glittered like the stars

    And stood and shone above the gloomy wars

    When the hero-life was done!

    The phantoms of a battle came to dwell

    I’ the fitful vision of his dying eyes—

    Yet even in battle-dreams, he sends supplies

    To those he loved so well.

    His army stands in battle-line arrayed;

    His couriers fly: all’s done: now God decide!

    —And not till then saw he the Other Side

    Or would accept the shade.

    Thou Land whose sun is gone, thy stars remain!

    Still shine the words that miniature his deeds.

    O thrice-beloved, where’er thy great heart bleeds,

    Solace hast thou for pain!