Bold Soldier Boy
Oh, the wild, glorious, roving life of a bold soldier boy! With all thy faults, I love thee still. Howpleasant the sweet consciousness that God gives him that he fights in a good cause. His soul isunfettered by the trammels of civilized life. Does he desire to worship? Where he is
his church.Does he wis
h for sleep? He says with Tecumseh, ―The earth is my mother; I will repose on her bosom.‖ No pent up Utica contracts his powers; he
travels far and near, seeing many lands. He sails onthe ocean, steams on the river, rattles on the cars,trudges on the mud road, and climbs bold mountains.
He bares his breast to the storm and says, ―Thou artmy brother.‖ The gentle rains fall upon his brow, andhe welcomes them as a mother‘s kiss. He would not
exchange the cooling draught of water from thesparkling fountain for all of the drinks of the mostfashionable saloon. His fare is rough, but then hisappetite is good, and he is not sickened over dainties.He lives a life of toil, but his muscles are strong andhis heart is brave. He exists amid dangers, but heheeds them not, for the smiles of the fair, the prayersof the good, and the hopes of the oppressed cheerhim on. When he stands in battle, his soul sinks not infear, for above him is the flag of the free, and beneaththe soil he would lie, rather than yield to
tyrants. The canon‘s deadly roar, the crash of arms, the
shout of the charge are his music. If victory comes, his soul is filled with indescribable joy. If he fails,
full well he knows, ―Whether on the scaffold high, —
Or in the battle‘s van, —
The noblest places forman to die
Is where he dies for man.‖
If he perish, true hearted comrades will dig his grave. ―No useless coffin will enclose his form; he willlay like a warrior, taking his rest, with his martial cloak around him.‖ Why need he dread death?
Isnot the grave the common receptacle of the young, the beautiful, the beloved? Let not the brave
then fear to die. His memory shall be cherished by those who love him. The mighty deeds in ―which
he bore an humble part shall live in the traditions of a thousand generations
but, hush, my
wandering thoughts! Stillness reigns in camp, ‘tis time for sleep. Good night.
This description of a ―soldier boy‖ was written by Chaplain John J. Hight, 58th Indiana.