United States, War Department. Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1891 (2 vols.).
history, poems, poetry

Morning’s Maul

Some nights…

Naomi Shihab Nye,“Hello”

Some mornings shy at the dawn,
some claw the night to death.
We slid into Friday
like a Sunday afternoon.

But soon it baked
our clay in blood.

Mr. Jones scattered
all the birds
with his caw,

while the dust danced
down sunlit slides
and the morning
the dawn.

© rl busséll 2021 – All rights reserved.


July 3, 1863 “The town of Gettysburg looked as if some universal moving day had been interrupted by catastrophe.” But there was only one documented civilian death during the battle: Ginnie Wade (also widely known as Jennie), 20 years old, was hit by a stray bullet that passed through her kitchen in town while she was making bread.

Bruce Catton

July 1-3, 1863, one-hundred and fifty-eight years ago, the Battle of Gettysburg began and resulted in the largest casualties of the American Civil War.

The Battle of Gettysburg resulted in eight-thousand men killed in combat; these bodies, baking in the heat of summer, needed to be buried quickly. Over three-thousand horse carcasses were burned in a series of piles south of town; townsfolk became violently ill from the stench. Meanwhile, the town of Gettysburg, with its population of just two-thousand, found itself tasked with taking care of fourteen-thousand wounded Union troops and an additional eight-thousand Confederate prisoners.

According to lore, the Union soldier to fire the first shot of the battle of Gettysburg was Lt. Marcellus Jones.

Civil War era soldiers – photographer unknown circa 1865
L. Prang & Co. lithograph of the painting "Hancock at Gettysburg" by Thure de Thulstrup, showing Pickett's Charge. Restoration by Adam Cuerden.
L. Prang & Co. lithograph of the painting “Hancock at Gettysburg” by Thure de Thulstrup, showing Pickett’s Charge. Restoration by Adam Cuerden.
poems, poetry

Widow’s Walk

I have seen a widow’s walk
where seven gables point the sky,
and I have stared at chalk
hoping to draw the perfect I.

But why?
Why set my feet where Hawthorne trod?
Why practice to marry eye to hand?
Why collect all those marks
set to paper, board or ageless cloth?
Why wonder at the ephemeral moth?

© rl busséll 2021 – All rights reserved.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

poems, poetry

Trees as barques

Is it a wonder that no one dance
can capture the forest prance?

Slender barques move
to their journey’s end.

Forest rood, slender forest stood
as early light’s lithe fingers
brush against a young pinewood.

Beach, oak and sycamore lift their tongues
praising Father, Son and the Breathing One,
pushing leaves across the verdant earth.

All the thorns of Adam’s birth
lie beneath skin, branch and earth.

Leaves, open mouthed, catch water
from sacred skies;
heavy clouds like
angels pouring bread.

© rl busséll 2019 – All rights reserved.