Charles Graham Halpine, writing as Private Miles O'Reilly, refers in this poem to his wartime experience as one of 37 officers in the original 69th New York State Infantry Regiment, which he joined as a lieutenant on April 20, 1864. Four years later, 26 of those officers are dead; of the eleven who remain, four have suffered permanently crippling injuries. Eight hundred of the 1000 men who enlisted in the ranks have also perished.
Thanks to Chuck Ten Brink for contributing this poem and the biographical information about its author.
"April 20, 1864"