"The Cherokees"

The following poem was written by Private Joseph High of Captain Joseph Cunningham's, Company H, "Cherokees," 19th Alabama Infantry Regiment, while at Camp Jones in Huntsville, Alabama. Company H was one of six companies in the 19th Alabama formed of men from Cherokee County, Alabama. The poem was printed in the Huntsville Democrat on October 2, 1861. "Captain JOE" and "Lieutenant JIM" refer to Capt. Cunningham and Lieutenant James Bradford of Co. H, respectively. Joseph High would rise through the ranks to become First Lieutenant of the "Cherokees." He was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, leading his men in an attack on Yankee breastworks. Although not great poetry, it does provide insight for us today into the patriotic spirit of the young soldiers of both sides in those heady early days of the war. Six months later Joe High and his comrades would come face to face with the horror of war near a small country church named Shiloh.


Air. -- The Dying Youth.


At home.

The "CHEROKEES" is our name,
We ask for neither wealth nor fame,
But "Freedom" shall our motto be,
And we'll shout "DEATH or LIBERTY!"

Our Captain, JOE, you all well know,
He's not the man that has said "Go!"
But he has said "Come on, Boys!"
We'll go and stop that Yankee noise.

Lieutenant JIM, he's tall and slim,
But we well know he's not a whim,
He'll lead us on to victory;
May I be there that sight to see!

All of the crew I think will do,
Each Cherokee Boy will prove true blue,
They're Cherokee boys, and that's enough,
Each one will say, "lay on, McDuff!"

"Freedom or Death," our song shall be,
From land to land, from sea to sea,
And when you hear from us again,
You'll hear of lots of Yankees slain.

Walk in the ranks, you Cherokee Boys,
Come, go with us and share our joys;
A jolly crowd will be with you,
Then, to the rest, we bid adieu.


At Huntsville.

At Camp Jones, we in our tents be,
As fine a crowd as you can see,
A pretty girl has said as much,
That, in her life, she's seen none such.

The people of the Huntsville town,
Shall in the world have great renown;
They to the soldiers have been kind,
As any people you can find.

The ladies -- bless their little souls --
Amongst us take their evening strolls;
They bring us cakes and pretty flowers,
To while away the lonesome hours.

The ladies, all, are kind to me,
But there is one in Cherokee,
With whom I did so lately part,
That lies much nearer to my heart.

J. B. High; Capt. Cunningham's Co.

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