MAJOR SAMUEL HAWKINS MARSHALL "MARSH" BYERS - AUTOGRAPH POEM SIGNED 3/1886 - HFSID 142779
Sale Price $2,337.50
MAJOR SAMUEL HAWKINS MARSHALL "MARSH" BYERS
The famous poem of the Civil War soldier which he wrote while in Libby Prison is partially written on this card with a letter on the reverse, dated 1886. The poem, "Sherman's March to the Sea" was commended by General Sherman, who later gave Byers a place on his staff. Extremely rare!
Autograph Poem signed "S.H.M. Byers" in an Autograph Letter on verso, 2 pages (front and verso), 4¼x3½. Oskaloosa, Iowa, March 1886, in full: "On the opposite side of this is a verse of Sherman's March to the Sea, at your request. Yours very truly". He has handwritten the fifth and final stanza of his famous poem, in part:
"O! Proud was our army that morning,
That stood where the pine darkly towers!
When Sherman said, "Boys you are weary,
This day fair Savannah is ours"-
Then sang we the song of our Chieftain,
That echoed over river and lea -
And the stars in our banner shone brighter
When Sherman marched down to the sea."
Samuel Hawkins Marshall "Marsh" Byers (1838-1933) was admitted to the Iowa Bar on June 16, 1861. Eight days later, he enlisted in the 5th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Captured at Chattanooga in 1863, he served 16 months in Confederate prisons, escaping three times and being recaptured twice. (The third time, he hid out in a slave house until he could join General William Tecumseh Sherman's advancing Union army at Columbia, South Carolina.) While in Libby Prison, he learned of Sherman's triumphant march across Georgia, and wrote the poem titled "Sherman's March to the Sea." His fellow prisoners put the poem to music, and it was smuggled out in the wooden leg of Lt. Tower, of Ottumwa, Iowa. By war's end, the poem had become famous throughout the North.General Sherman put Byers on his staff, and said that the poem had given the name to his campaign. The Governor of Iowa brevetted Byers to Major. He later served as US Consul in Zurich, Switzerland, wrote two books about the Civil War, and also wrote the Iowa state song. Prior to his 1933 death, he was the last surviving member of the 5th Iowa Volunteers, and also the last surviving member of Sherman's staff. Heavy surface damages on letter on verso, affecting signature (partially legible). Toned. Lightly soiled. Poem is highly legible and in fine condition.
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