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THEODORE O'HARA, son of an Irish exile, was born in Danville, Kentucky, and educated at St. Joseph Academy, Bardstown, where he taught Greek to the younger classes while finishing his senior course. He read law, was appointed clerk in the Treasury Department at Washington, 1845, and on the outbreak of the Mexican War entered the army as a soldier, rising to be captain and major. At the close of the war, he returned to Washington and practised law. He was afterwards editor of the “Mobile Register," and of the Frankfort “Yeoman," in Kentucky, and was employed in diplomatic missions. He was a colonel in the Confederate Army, and after the war, settled in Georgia. On his death the Kentucky Legislature passed a resolution to remove his remains to Frankfort and lay them beside the soldiers whom he had so well praised in his “Bivouac of the Dead;” and there 'he rests, the soldier bard, among the voiceless braves of the Battle of Buena Vista.
This poem was written for the occasion of their interment; and it has furnished the lines of inscription over the gateways of several military cemeteries.
Bivouac of the Dead.
The Old Pioneer.
THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD.
(In Memory of the Kentuckians who fell at the Battle of Buena Vista, Jan. 28, 1847.)
The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
That brave and fallen few,
On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread, And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.
No rumor of the foe's advance
Now swells upon the wind;
Of loved ones left behind;
The warrior's dream alarms;
At dawn shall call to arms.
Their shivered swords are red with rust,
Their plumèd heads are bowed ; Their haughty banner, trailed in dust,
Is now their martial shroud. And plenteous funeral tears have washed
The red stains from each brow, And the proud forms, by battle gashed,
Are free from anguish now.
The neighing troop, the flashing blade,
The bugle's stirring blast,
The din and shout, are past;
Shall thrill with fierce delight
The rapture of the fight.
Full many a norther's breath has swept
O’er Angostura's plain,-
Above its mouldered slain.
Or shepherd's pensive lay,
That frowned o'er that dread fray.
Sons of the Dark and Bloody Ground,
Ye must not slumber there,
Along the heedless air.
Shall be your fitter grave:
The ashes of her brave.
Thus 'neath their parent turf they rest,
Far from the gory field,
On many a bloody shield;
Smiles sadly on them, here,
The heroes' sepulchre.
Dear as the blood ye gave;
The herbage of your grave;
While Fame her record keeps, Or Honor points the hallowed spot
Where Valor proudly sleeps.
Yon marble minstrel's voiceless stone
In deathless song shall tell,
The story how ye fell;
Nor Time's remorseless doom, Shall dim one ray of glory's light
That gilds your deathless tomb.
GEORGE RAINSFORD FAIRBANKS.
GEORGE RAINSFORD FAIRBANKS was born in Watertown, New York, but settled in Florida at St. Augustine in 1842 and identified himself with his adopted state.
From 1860 to 1880 his home was at Sewanee, Tennessee, and he has been on the Board of Trustees of the “University of the South” since 1857. During the war he served as major in the Confederate army, 1862–65. In 1880 he returned to Florida and has since made his home in Fernandina. His “ History of Florida” is considered the best history of that state, and is written in a clear and interesting style.
History of Florida.
History and Antiquities of St. Augustine.
OSCEOLA, LEADER OF THE SEMINOLES.
(From History of Florida.*) His true Indian name was As-se-se-ha-ho-lar, or Black Drink, but he was commonly called Osceola, or Powell. He belonged to a Creek tribe called Red Sticks, and was a half-breed. He removed to Florida with his mother when a child, and lived near Fort King [three miles east of Ocala]. At the beginning of the Florida war he was about thirty* By permission of the author.