Lydia Hamilton Smith, born in Gettysburg, Pa., was the daughter of an African-American mother and an Irish father. When donations wither away for Civil War veterans, she uses her own earnings to help them. Lydia was born and died on Valentine’s day.
There’s Lydia; we catch a glimpse of her
among the burning leaves of mid July.
She guides her horse with water wagon, far,
through fields of Gettysburg where marked to die,
lie men, propped there by tree or death’s cold pall.
Alone and broken, now his dreams are sad.
He cannot answer here the muster’s call
nor may this soldier rise with courage, glad.
See, there! She now approaches where they fall.
An Angel sent, she is the spirit’s daughter.
Through humid, misty tears she’ll now embrace.
Put soldier’s lips to cups of cool, cool water.
She walks among the brave who’ve lost their place;
who lie among the battle’s latest fodder.
Her horse now stamps his feet. With early sun
she moves among the dying and forgotten.