The Fireside Alter Call

Around the cook fire, they sat

On that warm August night

A forced march got them there

Anticipating the coming fight

Their uniforms were a hodgepodge

Of both butternut and gray

Kepis and old slouch hats

Were proudly worn, displayed

In the distance were campfires

They could hear the Union bands

Serenading in the twilight

Drifting across no man’s land

The evening meal was over

Their pipes were out and lit

Every man, he became silent

Lost in their thoughts, they did sit

They all knew that tomorrow

Some of them would die

Always there in their minds

The lingering question of why

From the darkness, he came

Tall and stately, well composed

In his hand, he carried a book

What it was, everyone knows

Taking a fireside stump seat

He opened the book to read

The words were reassuring

He knew there was a need

The word that he loudly read

Came from the Twenty First Psalm

The effect that they gave

Instilled in them was calm

The chaplain from stump got up

Then led them in a prayer

Then he held an altar call

Offering salvation because he cared

Men would meet their Maker

On that battlefield tomorrow

The men that then came forth

They claimed victory over sorrow

June 14, 2022