Stephen Vincent Benet
Pennsylvania / United States
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The Ballad Of William Sycamore [1790-1871]

Rating: 4.0

My father, he was a mountaineer,
His fist was a knotty hammer;
He was quick on his feet as a running deer,
And he spoke with a Yankee stammer.

My mother, she was merry and brave,
And so she came to her labor,
With a tall green fir for her doctor grave
And a stream for her comforting neighbor.

And some are wrapped in the linen fine,
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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Linda Sue Grimes 15 April 2020

Obviously, William is referring to one of the General Custer's Civil War battles: Gettysburg (1863) , the Battle of Yellow Tavern (1864) , or the Third Battle of Winchester (1864) . The son died serving with Custer.

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Wm Kenah 15 June 2011

Wonderful poem and my mother's favorite. I have a quibble, however. William Sycamore's dates are represented as 1790-1871, but he says his youngest son 'died with Custer.' Custer's Last Stand was in June of 1876, so the son's death precedes that of the father even though the father claims that the letter that brought the news burned his hand. Why do facts have to get in the way of a good story? Wm

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Linda Sue Grimes 15 April 2020

Obviously, the youngest son died while serving with General George Armstrong Custer, during one of the General's Civil War battles: Gettysburg (1863) , the Battle of Yellow Tavern (1864) , or the Third Battle of Winchester (1864) . It could have been any of those battles, or it could have any other battle Custer engaged in during the Civil War (1861-1865) .

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