Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Voice of God

Often romanticized, those who fought in the American Civil War understood intimately the carnage and human wreckage wrought by great battles. Major General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who wrote prolifically about the American Civil War, offered a glimpse of the personal internal conflict still raging after the guns ceased.

"With the declining day I slowly rode over the stricken field. Around the breastworks lay a hundred and fifty of the enemy's dead and desperately wounded. We had taken also in the counter-charges and eddies of the strife nearly two hundred prisoners - happier than they knew. These we sent away for safe keeping. But we had with us, to keep and to care for, more than five hundred bruised bodies of men, - men made in the image of God, marred by the hand of man, and must we say in the name of God? And where is the reckoning for such things? And who is answerable? One might almost shrink from the sound of his own voice, which had launched into the palpitating air words of order - do we call it? - fraught with such ruin. Was it God's command we heard, or His forgiveness we must forever implore?" - Major General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, "The Passing of the Armies" Describing a battlefield outside of Petersburg towards war's end.

As we consider this period in our history, we would do well to answer these questions so long ago posed and to honor the memory of men who, knowing these risks, fought to forge the foundations of our country.



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GettysBLOG said...

As usual, very fine, pointed, and eloquent work. Wonderful stuff, Randy

Anonymous said...

Thanks Randy,this piece is so insightful. I have emailed your site to a friend.