Sherman’s Lament

For General William Tecumseh Sherman and soldiers everywhere.

The day over, the battle won.
No joy rests in the victory.
The home front questions tactics,
I’m a soldier accused of barbary

Looking out o’er the battlefield
I see the bodies of fathers, sons and brothers.
Their blood cried out to me from the mud
Like the weeping of wives, sisters and mothers.

I’m but a humble soldier
With a job that must be done.
A country that needs healing,
A war that must be won.

We fight for freedom and glory,
Or so the politicians tell.
But their reasons are all moonshine
This war—all war—is Hell.


“I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers … it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”

–Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, May 1865