Pat Jones

Diary of Whit Berry,
Corporal, Sharpshooter,
Army of the United States

by J. Patrick Lewis

Battle of Monocacy
Frederick, Maryland,  July 9, 1864

I drew a killshot bead on Jubal Early,
Confederate general barking at the rear,
But something spooked me. I had not securely 
Settled on courage or outmaneuvered fear.   
Blue ragtags fell like hail. We thought salvation
Arrived by Burnside bullet to the brain.
Our troops, lacking in all but determination,
Lay lifeless now, their morgue a mercy train.
To slow Early’s advance, that was the mission:
He looked to capture Washington that day.
General Lew Wallace said on one condition:
What you would take, we will not give away.
Two thousand dead on both sides spelled defeat —
Rebs won the battle, but their spoils? Retreat.

J. Patrick Lewis’s poems have appeared in Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Dalhousie Review, New Letters, and many literary journals. He has also published over sixty children’s poetry and picture books to date with Knopf, Atheneum, Dial, Harcourt, DK, Ink, Little, Brown, National Geographic, Chronicle Books, Candlewick and others.( )