TALES OF THE SOUTH

                               The Death of Willie Abell*
                                  A Poem by REV. DR. J. C. HIDEN.

                  *Taken from the Southern Historical Society Papers
                                                    Volume VIII  JAN TO DEC, 1880. Pages 184 -185
 

[The following appeared in the Charlottesville (Va.) Chronicle of October the 9th, 1864, and is well worthy of preservation, as handing down the name of a hero, who, though a beardless boy, was as true to country and to duty as any plumed knight who figures in the world's history.]

We heard a day or two since an incident related which we think should be published, as not only illustrating a fine train of character in our young townsman, William M. Abell, who fell on the battle field near Luray just a week ago, but as illustrating also the spirit of devotion to duty which actuates so widely all of our young men.

Mr. Abel, who was acting adjutant of his regiment (Fifth Virginia Cavalry), had gone forward to reconoitre in advance of the skirmish line, and discovered that a squadron belonging to his regiment was in a position where it was about to be cut off, which it was unconscious. He stared immediately to inform the Colonel, that it might be withdrawn, and just at this moment he received the fatal shot through the body; but in this condition he galloped on, gave 
the information, saved the squadron, and then lay down to die. Such are the young men we are losing.-Chronicle of the 2d.

         The ball has pierced his vitals, 
         But still he grasps the rein;
         The squadron is in danger,
         And he takes no note of pain;
         Warm blood his body laved;
         But he spurs his faithful charger,
         The squadron must be saved.
 

He gallops through the carnage,
NO Wavering-no pause;
And he pours his very life-blood
In Freedom's holly cause.

His life is swiftly ebbing.

He strength is waning fast;
But courage and his message
Sustain him to the last.
The body may surrender, 
The "mortal coil" may fail,
But his dauntless, untamed spirit
Has never learned to quail;
His voice is raised; he utters
One piercing, eager cry,
"Oh! Colonel, SAVE THE SQUADRON!"
Then lays him down to die.

Time-honored Old Dominion!

What heroes hast thou borne!

Thy mother's eye is weeping,
Thy lovely bosom torn;
But still thy grand "Sic Semper"
Defiantly shall wave;'
Thy sons will bear it proudly 
To freedom or-the grave.
 

                              J. C. H.

         Charlottesville, October 5th, 1864.


 

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