Written by Lt. Alexander McQueen while in winter camp near Lindsey Station, VA in the winter of 1863. This poem was set to music and was sung around the campfires of the Palmetto Light Artillery.
Midst darkness of midnight, a soldier boy lay,
With naught for his pillow, but a moss-covered stone,
And the wind in the tree-tops did solemnly play,
In music aeolian a dirge and a moan.
The pale stars looked down in sadness and sorrow,
From their homes in the mystic and shadowy West,
But sweetly he sleeps and dreams of tomorrow -
Tomorrow! ah, where shall the soldier boy rest.
His pale feet so tender, are bleeding and bare,
For long has he marched over rock and over hill;
And the dew is distilled on his dark raven hair;
From the blue sky above him so quiet and still.
But sweetly he sleeps, and sweet are his dreams,
On fancy's fleet pinions, he's borne far away,
To his homestead so dear, and the babbling old stream,
All marked by the signs of his innocent play.
He dreams of her fondly, whom oft to her breast.
He clasped as he murmured a gentle farewell;
Soldier boy sleep thee! from the homes of the blest,
Bright spirits above thee, ah! break not the spell.
To-morrow! To morrow! the sweet spell is broken,
And darkness is casting its shadow before.
Ah! Soldier boy! soldier boy! known by this token,
Thy loved ones shall see thee, alas! never more.