James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

September 19

On the Slain at Chickamauga

By Herman Melville (1819–1891)

  • One of the severest battles of the Civil War, fought on Sept. 19, 1863. The Confederates, under Bragg, defeated the Federals under Rosecrans.

  • HAPPY are they and charmed in life

    Who through long wars arrive unscarred

    At peace. To such the wreath be given,

    If they unfalteringly have striven—

    In honor, as in limb unmarred.

    Let cheerful praise be rife,

    And let them live their years at ease,

    Musing on brothers who victorious died—

    Loved mates whose memory shall ever please.

    And yet mischance is honorable too—

    Seeming defeat in conflict justified,

    Whose end to closing eyes is hid from view.

    The will, that never can relent—

    The aim, survivor of the bafflement,

    Make this memorial due.