Friday, July 10, 2015

Green-Wood Cemetery #2

June 2015...

This is my second post about my visit to Green-Wood Cemetery.

The highest point (~220 feet) in Brooklyn, NY is found at Battle Hill in modern day Green-Wood Cemetery.  This is the location of the first battle of the Revolutionary War after the United States declared independence on July 4, 1776. This (The Battle of Long Island...which we lost) was also the largest battle of the entire war in terms of troop deployment and fighting. The fighting on Battle Hill was especially brutal, with the Americans inflicting the highest number of casualties against British troops of the entire battle...if you stand and study long enough you can imagine the British attacking and the Americans valiantly attempting to defend the high ground.

As General George Washington watched the bloodshed that day he cried in despair, "“Good God... What brave fellows I must this day lose!”

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Green-Wood Cemetery #1

Green - Wood Cemetery - Brooklyn, New York

June 2015...

I doubt that many people would find a cemetery to be an exciting place...but in my opinion, for a lover of history Green-Wood Cemetery is only surpassed by the likes of Arlington, Gettysburg, Andersonville, Pearl Harbor, and Normandy.

Green-Wood Cemetery occupies the highest elevation in Brooklyn (~200 feet) on nearly 500 acres and holds 600,000 bodies in a beautiful setting of rolling hills, mature trees, serene ponds, world class sculptures/ works of art, and spectacular architecture.

I will spend the next several posts chronicling my most memorable moments in Green-Wood...

"The Drummer Boy"

Clarence MacKenzie (Brooklyn's first casualty of the Civil War) was 12 years old when he marched off to the Civil War as a drummer boy with Brooklyn’s 13th Regiment. While camped/ resting in Annapolis, Maryland. Unfortunately, he was accidentally killed by a stray bullet fired by soldiers drilling nearby. Clarence is buried in "The Soldiers’ Lot" which Green-Wood donated specifically for Civil War Veterans. His grave is marked with a 10 foot tall “white bronze” monument inscribed: OUR DRUMMER BOY. The proud figure of the boy and his drum in uniform brought me to tears...

The Dead Drummer Boy

Midst tangled roots that lined the wild ravine
Where the fierce fight raged hottest through the day,
And where the dead in scattered heaps were seen,
Amid the darkling forest’s shade and sheen
Speechless in death he lay.

The settling sun, which glanced athwart the place
In slanting lines, like amber-tinted rain,
Fell sidewise on the drummer’s upturned face,
Where death had left his gory finger’s trace
In one bright crimson stain.

The silken fringes of his once bright eye
Lay like a shadow on his cheek so fair;
His lips were parted by a long-drawn sigh,
That with his soul had mounted to the sky
On some wild martial air.

No more his hand the fierce tattoo shall beat,
The shrill reveille, or the long roll’s call,
Or sound the charges, when, in smoke and heat
Of fiery onset, foe with foe shall meet,
And gallant men shall fall.

Yet may be in some happy home, that one,
A mother, reading from the list of dead,
Shall chance to view the name of her dead son,
And move her lips to say, “God’s will be done!”
And bow in grief her head.

But more than this what tongue shall tell his story?
Perhaps his boyish longings were for fame.
He lived, he died; and so memento mori.
Enough if on the page of War and Glory
Some had has writ his name.