'We Are All Officers Now'

by Andy Hall

A little over a hundred years ago, an old Texas veteran with the unlikely name of Valerius Cincinnatus Giles died, leaving a sprawling, fragmentary memoir of his Civil War service. A half-century and a lot of editing later, it was finally compiled and published as Rags and Hope, a volume that has since become a classic among Civil War enlisted soldiers' autobiographies. In closing Giles wrote:

It is over, and we are all officers now!
It's General That and Colonel This
And Captain So and So.
There's not a private in the list
No matter where you go.

The men who fought the battles then,
Who burned the powder and lead,
And lived on hardtack made of beans
Are promoted now—or dead.

This has been a fantastic week for me. I didn't get all the posts done I wanted to—never did get to responding to Paul's not-so-gentle nudge about Gideon Welles—but it's been great fun all the same. I want to thank S. Thomas Summers and Tim Lewis for allowing me to post their poetry here, I want to thank my fellow guest-bloggers, Oliver Wang, Neil Drumming and Mark Kleiman, whose contributions have amazed in their scope and depth of understanding.

Thanks go as well to Betsy Ebersole and Eleanor Barkhorn, who worked behind the scenes to make the blog thingy work. Special thanks to Eleanor, who in the space of five days handled eleventy-seven urgent crises, just from me alone.

TNC, thank you for giving me a platform, sir. You are, as always, generous to a fault.

And finally, thanks to all of you in the Golden Horde, newbies and old hands, lurkers and the loquacious alike. Thank you all.