The Heart’s Idol – A Civil War Memory

THE HEART’S IDOL.

BY RENA L.L.  .

[To Mrs. Ida Mathers, my friend and companion, around the cots of our country’s wounded and dying.]

She came, a quiet messenger
To those who needed care;
A gentle friend, a faithful nurse.
Like some saddened spirit
She would come and go
So noiselessly that echoes dared not haunt her footsteps.
Those dark eyes, so large and sad,
Like summer seas, pure, fathomless and deep,
Told her sad history.

In the heat of battle he was stricken down;
Brave, strong and true, his men
Where  fiercest raged the conflict;
Nor left them when the serried ranks
Poured forth from mutilated forms,
And formed in line of march
For lands immortal.
“For Liberty and God,” he cried,
As, through the battle smoke and dust,
He caught the glimmer of the flag.
Now rising, falling, but at last upright
Is planted firmly; the field is won —
I’m ready now, my men! One message home
And I’ll be with you —

“Dear wife, I’m dying! Oh, my best beloved,
My precious Ida, we have loved too well!
Kiss Maud for me our only darling
Meet me in Heaven — dear one, farewell!”
What wonder that the tears would start
With ever gush of music, every voice of mirth?
What wonder that she moved so still,
Tenderly and gently as a sister might
Among the wounded sufferers?
Her heart was sore, she too had suffered;
Her idol slept and earth had lost its light.

The Hillsdale Standard (Hillsdale, Michigan) May 29, 1866

1860 Census – Gilcad, Branch Co., Michigan: Ida, her husband, Zelotes and daughter Maud are living with his parents.

Zelotes fought for the Union (he was a sergeant,) was wounded and died.

This book states Zelotes died from disease.

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