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1864 February 27: The Grave of an Unknown Hero

March 4, 2014

From The Polk County Press of February 27, 1864, reprinted from the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette.

The Soldier’s Grave.

The correspondent of the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette says:

I send you a theme for one of your poets.  The scene is Newport News, Va., and the subject :  The Soldier’s Grave.  The author will have the melody of the moaning sea for inspiration, and his imagination can take in the tragedy of the Cumberland and the Congress.  I have striven in vain to ascertain the name of the sleeper ;  and a corresponding curiosity compelled me in vain, also—to seek the name of the unconscious genius, who possesses such power of condensation, poetic feeling and pathos, as constitute this simple epitaph on this lonely grave of an unknown hero.  Here it is, in word and figure :

Scan 32

I think you might travel over all the grave-yards and fields of the dead in all Virgina, and yet find nothing more touching in the lapidaric offering.

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