Civil War Poems


Imilda Wendell

I have come across two poems composed by my great-great grandmother Imilda Wendell during the Civil War. I don't know for certain, but I am inclined to believe she wrote these and then sent them to her brother Capt. Nelson O. Wendell.


When far from home's enchanting scenes,
Compelled to share a soldier's lot
No music raptures great my ears
Born in the beauties of that spot
The joys of youth and love and home
Too swift, alas! have flown away
While, now I feel that death is near
All earthly hopes must soon decay.

I see my cherished mother's face --
The parting kiss to me is given.
I feel her loving arms embrace
Alone through her I hope for Heaven.
And that sweet sister too, I see,
Who bravely bade her brother go
While deep within her bosom hid
The pain she would not have me know.

And there's another trusting one
To whom I pledge a soldier's faith,
'Twill break her gentle heart to know
Her lover's cold and still in death.
But tho for these I fain would live,
One thought give recompense for life,
'Tis that I see my country's flag
Float proudly o'er late scenes of strife.

But oh! my not my short career
An emblem of my country be.
But may she live on honored name
To every one who would be free.
But one request I still would ask
E'er I shall fill a soldier's grave.
'Tis that the flag I helped defend
Forever o'er my tomb shall wave.

Miss Leona Wendell May 1862


Lonely hearts are bleeding, sighin
O'er the victories death has won,
Day by Day brings darker shadows
To bedlim the light of home.

Who may know a mother's anguish,
When from her fond heart is torn
All a parent's pride and gladness
That may never more return.

That may, e'er the morrow's sunlight
Beams from out a golden sky,
On a bloody field of battle
Lay him down in pain to die.

In a sister's eye there glimmers
Tremblingly the rising tears,
As the dreaded tiding reach her
Of a struggle -- fierce, severe.

For she feels that in that battle
A dear brother's hand has joined,
And, amid that fearful struggle,
He a soldiers' grave may find.

Other hearts as warm and tender,
Bitterly are doomed to mourn;
While the dear, the brave and noble,
To a hero's grave are born.

God of Heaven, who reigns above us --
Who can stay the winds and sea --
In this hour of deep affliction,
Humbly we would look to Thee.

Deign to view the troubled water,
On which heaves our vessel frail;
And, in tons of love and mercy,
Bid the angry waves "be still."

Boltonville, May 1, 1863 I.L.W.

Imilda Leona Wendell was the youngest sister of Captain Nelson O. Wendell, Company F, 121st New York. In April 1863 in letters written to her, Imilda saw a change, a foreboding that Nelson felt that his days were numbered. They were extremely close keeping in constant contact with each other. The feeling of imminent demise were realized when Nelson was killed at Salem Church, Virginia, part of the Chancellorsville campaign on May 3, 1863, only two days after his sister penned Our Country's Tears. At the time of his death she was living with her sisters in Washington County, Wisconsin as she was a young lady of 23 years of age. Imilda Leona Wendell was my great-great grandmother.

Charlott Wells Jones

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Created: 6/26/13
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