The poem below focuses on Gettysburg’s Peach Orchard and the battle that raged therein; however, there is a connection, albeit slight, to Christmas. The poem is taken from my forthcoming book, Private Hercules McGraw: Poems of the American Civil War.
The Peach Orchard
We steamed up through this orchard of peach trees.
It was as hot as a pan sizzling ham, and them peaches,
strange enough, made me think of Christmas –
each one hanging like a pretty bell. But I couldn’t hear
no music. Only clanging my ears was able to capture
was musket pop and a whole lot of screaming.
Screaming turned to cheering once Gen. Barksdale
spurred his horse and bolted out before our charge
like a mongrel after a piece of meat. He cut
the air above his head with his sword, swinging it
like he meant to slice the noggins’ off the whole Billy army.
And the way that hair of his trailed behind him,
just like Santa’s locks when he scoots in that sleigh of his,
made me think us Southern folk has a chance to do some damage.