At eighty-four, he stood in winter’s cold
And rain to honor foe who died as friend.
“Put on your hat,” he worriedly was told.
“No, he would not wear hat at my life’s end.”
Pallbearer, later he caught cold that day;
Pneumonia was the price of honor paid.
And like the one he helped to put away,
In weeks, with honor, was in his grave laid.
A score and six years after civil war,
The one who lost Atlanta by retreat –
Gray’s General Joe Johnston suffered more
At Sherman’s hands and grave: a last defeat.
It was at the Union’s General Sherman’s death that Johnston, as a pallbearer, stood bareheaded in New York’s February winter, caught a cold, and died from pneumonia.
© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.