Description

    Two Manuscript Fair Copies of Private Dalzell's "The Blue and the Gray"

    James M. Dalzell (1838-1924), Autograph Manuscript Signed, "James M. Dalzell" with an additional two signatures in text, two pages, 8" x 13", Washington, [dated April 1867, but written much later], a fair copy of "The Blue and the Gray" which he composed in 1867 in response to the conciliatory poem by Francis Miles Finch (1827-1907). Dalzell prefaces his copy with a explanatory note: "...In the spring of 1867 a news item went the rounds of the press, giving a touching account of how some beautiful Southern ladies had decorated alike the graves of Confederates and Union Soldiers in some cemetery in the south. The incident called forth a beautiful poem, by Stoddart. I think [he was obviously mistaken in this attribution], entitled 'The Blue and the Gray'. It has become an American classic. But the war was just over, and cooling time had not yet come, so the following poem - far inferior to the original but better expressing the sentiment of that day, went the rounds of the press in reply to the One first named..." Dalzell's version reads in part: "1. You may sing of the Blue and the Gray | And mingle their hue in this rhyme. | But the Blue that we use in the fray | Is covered with glory sublime. So no more let us hear of the Gray, | The symbol of treason and change. | We pierced it with bullets - away! | Or will pierce it with bullets again. | Then up with the Blue and down with the Gray, | And hurrah for the Blue that won us the day!... " Offered together with a second fair copy, an Autograph Manuscript Signed, James M. Dalzell, Private Dalzell", two pages 8" x 13", Soldier's Home, Dayton, Ohio, May 30, 1916, entitled "The blue and the Gray of 1867 As revised by its Author 1916" A very different version in a much more conciliatory tone. Dalzell adds a postscript below the poem noting that at "The great age of seventy seven, looking back over the graves of the men of both sides who fell in the war... all hate, every feeling of anger or animosity of the slightest degree, passed away forever from me..." Dalzell was an attorney who served with the 116th Ohio during the Civil War. He later became a prominent Ohio legislator best known for patriotic speeches and articles under the name of "Private Dalzell". A fascinating pair of manuscripts illustrating how passions cool over time and heal the raw wounds of war. Two pieces, Very Fine condition. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
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