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FUGITIVE AND ANONYMOUS POEMS

The Southern States have contributed a large number of poems that belong under this head. In the case of anonymous poems and poems of disputed authorship, efforts have been made to ascertain the real facts and to present them impartially. No poem written by an author already represented in the preceding volumes has been admitted into this volume. The reader will not make the mistake, therefore, of expecting to find in this section of Volume XIV all or even a majority of the fugitive poems that the South has produced. The authors of such poems were frequently better known as prose writers than as poets and are represented, therefore, in Volumes I to XIII.

ALL QUIET ALONG THE POTOMAC TO-NIGHT

By THADDEUS OLIVER

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["The authorship of this poem," says Mr. Rossiter Johnson, in his 'Famous Single and Fugitive Poems,' has been disputed, but there is now no reason to doubt that it belongs to Mrs. Ethel Lynn Beers, who resided in Orange, New Jersey, and died October 10, 1879." The authorship has also been claimed for Lamar Fontaine, of Texas. The evidence seems conclusive, however, for Thaddeus Oliver, of Twiggs County, Georgia. The poem was first published unsigned on October 21, 1861, "in a Northern newspaper.". In Harper's Weekly, of November 30, 1861, it reappeared with Mrs. Beers's initials attached, Mr. Oliver, however, wrote the poem in August, 1861, and read it to several friends in camp with him in Virginia. In a letter dated "Camp 2d. Ga. Regt. near Centreville, Va., October 3, 1861," Mr. John D. Ashton of Georgia, writing to his wife, says: “Upon my arrival at home, should I be so fortunate as to obtain the hoped for furlough, I will read you the touching and beautiful poem mentioned in my letter of last week, 'All Quiet Along the Potomac To-night, written by my girlishly modest friend, Thaddeus Oliver, of the Buena Vista Guards." See also the Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume VIII.]

"All quiet along the Potomac,” they say,

“Except now and then a stray picket
Is shot, as he walks on his beat, to and fro,

By a rifleman hid in the thicket.
'T is nothing—a private or two, now and then,

Will not count in the news of the battle;
Not an officer lost-only one of the men,

Moaning out, all alone, the death-rattle."

All quiet along the Potomac to-night,

Where the soldiers lie peacefully dreaming;
Their tents in the rays of the clear autumn moon,

Or the light of the watch-fires, are gleaming.
A tremulous sigh, as the gentle night-wind

Through the forest-leaves softly is creeping;
While stars up above, with their glittering eyes,

Keep guard-for the army is sleeping.

There's only the sound of the lone sentry's tread,

As he tramps from the rock to the fountain,
And thinks of the two in the low trundle-bed

Far away in the cot on the mountain.
His musket falls slack--his face, dark and grim,

Grows gentle with memories tender,
As he mutters a prayer for the children asleep
For their mother--may Heaven defend her!

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