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Subdeacon Joe

The Bond Between Soldiers

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THE SAME CANTEEN by Private Miles O'Reilly

 

There are bonds of all sorts in this world of ours,

Fetters of friendship and ties of flowers,

And true lover's knots, I ween;

The girl and the boy are bound by a kiss,

But there's never a bond, old friend, like this,

We have drank from the same Canteen!

 

It was sometimes water, and sometimes milk,

And sometimes apple-jack "fine as silk;"

But whatever the tipple has been

We shared it together in bane or bliss,

And I warm to you, friend, when I think of this,

We drank from the same Canteen!

 

The rich and great sit down to dine,

They quaff to each other in sparkling wine,

From glasses of crystal and green;

But I guess in their golden potations they miss

The warmth of regard to be found in this,

We drank from the same Canteen!

 

We have shared our blankets and tents together,

And have marched and fought in all kinds of weather,

And hungry and full we have been;

Had days of battle and days of rest,

But this memory I cling to and love the best,

We drank from the same Canteen!

 

For when wounded I lay on the center slope,

With my blood flowing fast and so little hope

Upon which my faint spirit could lean;

Oh! then I remember you crawled to my side,

And bleeding so fast it seemed both must have died,

We drank from the same Canteen!

 

This poem, which was printed without attribution in the second issue of Confederate Veteran magazine in February 1893, was actually written by "Private Miles O'Reilly" of the 47th New York Infantry (the Washington Grays). "Private O'Reilly" was the pseudonym of Charles G. Halpine, a Union Army officer.

 

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Halpine wrote some of the most human and realistic prose of the Civil War.

No flowery patriotic idealist stuff. He had seen the elephant.

As an officer he would have been in a spot of trouble so he used the pseudonym

 

Some of his other writings.

http://www.civilwarpoetry.org/authors/oreilly.htm

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