The story told in the following verses is a true incident of the Civil War. The Northern soldier was Lieutenant Edwin S. Rogers of the 31st Maine Regt. Vols. He was a native of Patten, Me., and entered Bowdoin College in the Class of '65, becoming at once a member of D K E. When a Junior he enlisted in the Union army, and at Cold Harbor, June 8, 1864, received a wound from which he died a few hours later. The name of the Southern Deke is unknown to the writer.
Upon a southern battle-field the twilight shadows fall; The clash and roar are ended, and the evening bugles call. The wearied hosts are resting where the ground is stained with red, And o'er the plain between them lie the wounded and the dead.
And out upon the sodden field, where the armies fought all day, There came a group of soldiers who wore the rebel gray. But peaceful was their mission upon the darkened plain: They came to save their wounded and lay at rest the slain. And tenderly their hands performed the work they had to do,
And one among them paused beside a wounded boy in blue, A Northern lad, with curly hair and eyes of softest brown, Whose coat of blue was red with blood that trickled slowly down.
A bullet hole was in his breast, and there alone he lay At night upon the battle-field, and moaned his life away. The rebel paused beside him, and in the lantern's light He saw upon the soldier's breast a fair familiar sight. It was the pin of D K E, the diamond, stars and scroll, The emblem of a brotherhood that bound them soul to soul. He raised his hand and quickly tore his coat of gray apart, And showed the wounded soldier a Deke pin o'er his heart.
Then close beside the Yankee dropped the rebel to his knee, And their hands were clasped together in the grip of D K E. "I'm from Theta," said the Yankee, and he tried to raise his head; "I'm from Psi, in Alabama," were the words the rebel said. "Brothers from the heart forever" - nothing more was left to say, Though one was clad in Northern blue and one in Southern gray.
But the Northern lad was dying; his voice was faint at best As he murmured out his messages to "mother and the rest." And as the rebel soothed him, with his head upon his knee, He heard him whisper "Bowdoin," and "Dear old D K E." And he bandaged up the bosom that was torn by rebel shot; And bathed the brow with water where the fever fires were hot; And kissed him for his mother, and breathed a gentle prayer As the angel's wings were fluttering above them in the air.
And to a lonely country home, far in the heart of Maine, A letter soon was carried from that Southern battle plain. It told about the conflict, and how he bravely fell Who was the son and brother in that home beloved so well; It told the simple story of the night when he had died - All written by the rebel Deke whom God sent to his side. And when it all was written, the writer sent within A little lock of curly hair and a battered diamond pin.
And thirty years have passed away, but these simple relics are Of all a mother treasures dear, the dearest still by far.
A simple tale and simply told, but true; and I thought it might Well thrill the hearts of loyal Dekes, so I tell it here to-night. The Northern soldier's name is found on Bowdoin's honor-roll; And the names of both are blazoned fair on Delta Kappa's scroll. God bless our noble brotherhood; its past is sweet to hear, And its grandeur and its glory grow with each succeeding year; And the story of its heroes shall an inspiration be To us who proudly wear to-day the pin of D K E.
John Clair Minot, Theta - Bowdoin '96
Again, these verses relate an actual incident, and they are worth publishing again for their eloquent portrayal of the spirit of Delta Kappa Epsilon which often illumined the dark days of the War. The Northern Deke was Lieut. Edwin S. Rogers, Theta '65, who was fatally wounded at the battle of Cold Harbor, June 7, 1864.