The Jacket of Gray
Fold it up carefully, lay it aside; Tenderly touch it, look on it with pride; For dear must it be to our hearts evermore, The jacket of gray our loved soldier boy wore. Can we ever forget when he joined the brave band, Who rose in defense of our dear Southern land. And in his bright youth hurried on to the fray -- How proudly he donned it -- the jacket of gray? His fond mother blessed him and looked up above, Commending to Heaven the child of her love; What anguish was hers, mortal tongue cannot say, When he passed from her sight in the jacket of gray. But her country had called, and she would not repine, Though costly the sacrifice placed on its shrine; Her heart's dearest hopes on its altar she lay. When she sent out her boy in the jacket of gray. Months passed and war's thunder rolled over the land. Unsheathed was the sword, and lighted the brand; We heard in the distance the sounds of the fray, And prayed for our boy in the jacket of gray. Ah! vain, all, all vain were our prayers and our tears. The glad shout of victory rang in our ears; But our treasured one on the red battlefield lay. While the life-blood oozed out on the jacket of gray. His young comrades found him, and tenderly bore, The cold, lifeless form to his home by the shore; Oh! dark were our hearts on that terrible day, When we saw our dead boy in the jacket of gray. Ah! spotted and tattered, and stained now with gore, Was the garment which once he so proudly wore; We bitterly wept as we took it away And replaced with death's white robe the jacket of gray. We laid him to rest in his cold, narrow bed, And graved on the marble we placed o'er his head, As the proudest tribute our sad hearts could pay, "He never disgraced the jacket of gray." Then fold it up carefully, lay it aside. Tenderly touch it, look on it with pride; For dear must it be to our hearts evermore. The jacket of gray our loved soldier boy wore!
The Jacket of Gray, by Mrs. C. A. Ball, Charleston, South Carolina. From the Sponsor souvenir album and history of the United Confederate Veterans' reunion, 1895, William Bledsoe Philpott, Editor.