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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"To The Troopers of Spotsylvania"

George Washington Estes Row (right)

     During his service in the Confederate cavalry, George Washington Estes Row (1843-1883) served as a courier for at least three different generals. In 1862 he was detailed as a courier to both General Jeb Stuart and to General William E. "Grumble" Jones. In 1864 he acted as a courier for General Lunsford Lomax, and it is apparent that it was during that period that he submitted his poem for publication. The spirit and subject of the poem make it likely that it was written much earlier in the war.  [Please note that all images in my blog can be clicked on for enlarged viewing]
     Private Row was a real fire-eater in terms of his devotion to the Confederate cause. Upon Virginia's secession from the Union in April 1861, he returned home to Spotsylvania from the school he had been attending, the Locust Grove Academy in Albemarle County. He immediately enlisted in Company E of the Ninth Cavalry and rode with them for a year, then he transferred to Company I of the Sixth Cavalry. He fought with the Sixth for the remainder of the war, and even afterwards. He joined others who broke out of the encirclement at Appomattox and remained at large for three weeks before surrendering to the provost marshal in Richmond on May 2, 1865.
     Whether this poem was ever published in any newspaper I cannot say. However, he gave it his best shot and his effort gained the endorsements of Captain Samuel J.C. Moore, an adjutant to General Jubal Early, General Lunsford Lomax and the adjutants of General Fitzhugh Lee.


Troopers poem

Troopers poem (back)

Mr. Editor,

     You will find inclosed in this half sheet the poor production of a youth, who attempted to write poetry and failed. If you think it worthy of noticing in your paper you will please insert it.

To The Troopers of Spotsylvania

The cloud of war is hanging, 
O'er our blessed land, 
Then do not let us linger, 
Or our sabers idly hang.

For our gallant steeds neighing, 
And we hear the trumpets blast, 
Hasten troopers to your quarters, 
Let us be not among the last.

Shall we brave sons of old Virginia, 
Slumber late this cloudy morn, 
While the sons of South Carolina, 
Are awake and out and gone.

But let us troopers on to glory,
And let us show that we are brave,
nor let us rest 'til every tyrant,
Has sought & found an early grave.

And when this civil war is over,
The survivors will be free,
For you know that we prefer
Death to slavery.

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