Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“Devil’s Den”

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on January 29, 2012

S. Thomas Summers’ new volume of poetry, Private Hercules McGraw: Poems of the American Civil War, is out now. I’d highlighted Summers’ work a while back (here and here) during a guest-blogging stint at The Atlantic, but I don’t think I’ve done so yet here. The release of Private Hercules McGraw gives me an opportunity to correct that.

Private Hercules McGraw is a series of interconnected free-verse poems in the voice of the title character, chronicling his experiences during the war. S. Thomas Summers is a teacher of Writing and Literature at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, NJ and an adjunct writing professor at Passaic County Community College in Wanaque, NJ. He blogs original Civil War poetry at Lint in My Pocket — Artillery on the Ridge. Used with permission.

Devil’s Den

by S. Thomas Summers

I could tell, sun was gonna pour fire
and we was gonna sweat. Found Willy
soaking up as much shade as he could
under an oak big enough to offer Goliath
a place to sit. Willy was glad to see me breathing,

told me we was gonna fight again.
that we was gonna run up some hill
named Devil’s Den. Willy was scared.
Seemed a rattler fat as a log lived ‘tween the rocks
on that hill. Guess it was the devil locals

spoke about. Anyways we started moving
and Yanks started spitting at us, but Willy
kept an eye out for that snake. Bullets didn’t
bother him none. Once I yelled —
Willy, there’s that devil now. He done fainted

dead away. Whole regiment probably thought
he-caught one cause he lay still as death.
It’s the only time the war let me laugh.


One Response

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  1. S. Thomas Summers said, on January 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Andy. Hope you enjoyed the book.

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