Monday, March 17, 2014

John W. Large, Veteran of the Third Ohio Cavalry

On a cold winter's day, I came across this tombstone for a Civil War Veteran at Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery. The only portion of the name that I could very well was John W., and a surname beginning with the letters La. A search in the Oakland Cemetery database yielded the name John W. Large. The National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors Database has a record for John W. Large. He served in Company A of the Third Regiment, Ohio Cavalry.  A lengthy inscription is found on the front facing side of this obelisk shaped monument, and I could read only a few words.

I did google searches for the various phrases that I could read, and discovered that the inscription on the tombstone for John W. Large was a portion of the poem "The Soldier's Funeral" by Letitia Elizabeth Landon. Inscribed on the tombstone are the words:

In Memory Of
John W. Large

Died at his home
Oct. 29, 1864

29 yrs.

A member of Co. A 3rd OVC

This soldier had stood,
On the battle pain
Where every step
Was over the slain
Brand and ball
Had passed him by
And he came
To his native land to die
Twas hard to come
To that native land...

(the remaining words were illegible)

While I could not read every word inscribed on the tombstone, I found the full text of Miss Landon's  poem "The Soldier's Funeral" in the book The Poetical Works Of Miss Landon, (Phillips, Sampson, and Co., 1853) available online at Google Books,  which reads:

The Soldier's Funeral, by Letitia Elizabeth Landon

And the muffled drum rolled on the air,
Warriors with stately step were there;
On every arm was the black crape bound,
Every carbine was turned to the ground;
Solemn the sound of their measured tread,
As silent and slow they followed the dead.
The riderless horse was led in the rear,
There were white plumes waving over the bier;
Helmet and sword were laid on the pall
For it was a soldier's funeral.

That soldier had stood on the battle-plain,
Where every step was over the slain:
But the brand and the ball had passed him by,
And he came to his native land to die.
'Twas hard to come to that native land,
And not clasp one familiar hand!
'Twas hard to be numbered amid the dead,
Or ere he could hear his welcome said!
But 'twas something to see its cliffs once more,
And to lay his bones on his own loved shore;
To think that the friends of his youth might weep
O'er the green grass turf of the soldier's sleep.

The bugles ceased their wailing sound
As the coffin was lowered into the ground;
A volley was fired, a blessing said,
One moment's pause -- and they left they dead! --
I saw a poor and an aged man,
His step was feeble, his lip was wan:
He knelt him down on the new-raised mound,
His face was bowed on the cold damp ground,
He raised his head, his tears were done, --
The father had prayed o'er his only son!

Rest in peace, John W. Large, and thank you for your years of service to your country.

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