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The Fallow Fields Of Andersonville

I write this down with deep concern,
the prison was my greatest test;
the names you call, I did not earn,
the job was mine, I did my best.
You say it was a rebel's nest
and blame me for the whole affair.
You call me guilty, take no share
in blame, for you are now experts.
You say my name as if to swear.
In closing, I am Major Wirz.

In war we have a lot to learn,
there was no beef as you suggest;
our fields lay torched, you watched them burn
and hooting, howling, beat your chest.
There's no exchange, at your request.
Your northern army did not care.
The rations came and went in spurts,
your men were starving in your snare.
In closing, I am Major Wirz.

Your men, like mine would often yearn
for food that would not reinfest
the healthy ones that would return
to hold their loved ones to their breast.
The gallow now is your protest?
In peacetime you can not compare,
we all were hungry, in despair.
Our women, children. . . how it hurts,
their supper was a whispered prayer.
In closing, I am Major Wirz.

I hear the curses fill the air
from soldiers who were never there.
A gallow hanging now reverts
to murder. All accused beware.
In closing, I am Major Wirz.

*Major Henry Wirz; The only man in the War Between The States executed (unjustly and illegaly) for war crimes

 

Copyright © Linda Lee. Reprinted by permission.