Home History How the Civil War Inspired This 19th-Century Poet’s Classic Christmas Song

How the Civil War Inspired This 19th-Century Poet’s Classic Christmas Song

by Enochadmin

Charles Appleton Longfellow was the oldest youngster of poet and author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A dramatized model of Charley’s story is at the moment being informed within the new film “I Heard the Bells,” however the true story behind it’s simply as, if no more, fascinating.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow vehemently objected to his son’s want to enlist within the Union Military. In 1863, on the age of 18, Charley ran away from residence and enlisted within the 1st Massachusetts Artillery. He knowledgeable his father of his determination in a letter mailed from Portland, Maine. “I’ve tried arduous to withstand the temptation of going with out your depart however I can’t any longer, I really feel it to be my first responsibility to do what I can for my nation and I’d willingly lay down my life for it if it might be of any good,” he wrote.

Inside two weeks of his arrival, doubtless due to his well-known father’s connections, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant within the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry. On November 27, 1863, whereas concerned in a skirmish throughout a battle of the Mine Run Marketing campaign, Charley was shot via the left shoulder. The bullet exited beneath his proper shoulder blade and skimmed his backbone. The wound was thought-about grave, and the military surgeon informed the elder Longfellow that “paralysis may ensue” for his son. On Christmas day, 1863, as his son recovered from his wounds, Henry penned the poem “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” with many references to the Civil Warfare. Charley survived his wounds, however didn’t return to the battle.

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