Saturday, January 16, 2010

Muse Monday 8



THE BATTLE-FIELD
BY
Emily Dickinson


They dropped like flakes, they dropped like stars,
Like petals from a rose,
When suddenly across the June
A wind with fingers goes.

They perished in the seamless grass, --
No eye could find the place;
But God on his repealless list
Can summon every face.



Study of Princeton Battlefield

Winters
Revolutionary forces
Move across time;
Across fields, where
Young, old fall forward
With not thought;
Covering mounds,
Dirt, ash to ash
Ending,
Bringing
Beginning
Soulful, filled memory
Marked places
Monumental stands
Reminding
Hearts who return
Hearts finding solace
Who walk; among
What cannot be changed; Spirits
Blown by winds
Their whispers
Heard
Felt
Riding upon
The rustling of green grass, and sometimes
Blanketed by sun
Blanketed by snow
Buried, beneath
All time…
© E Stelling, 2010

This is a place I visit often. A place of solace for my writing. I learned on my fifth visit that across the field and behind what you see in my photo was one of Washington's greatest defense against enemy troops*. Behind the monument is the graves of the unknown soldiers. There are no markers, only the plaque that is placed at the rear of the beautiful site. I have mixed emotions when I come visit.

*The Battle of Princeton (January 3, 1777) was a battle in which General Washington's revolutionary forces defeated British forces near Princeton, New Jersey.

On the night of January 2, General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, repulsed a British attack at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek. That night, he evacuated his position and went to attack the British garrison at Princeton. General Hugh Mercer, of the Continental Army, clashed with two Regiments under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mawhood of the British Army. Mercer and his troops were overrun and Washington sent some Militia under General John Cadwalader to help him. The Militia, on seeing the flight of Mercer's men, also began to flee. Washington rode up with reinforcements and rallied the fleeing Militia. He led the attack on Mawhood's troops, driving them back. Mawhood gave the order to retreat and most of the troops tried to flee to Cornwallis in Trenton.

In Princeton itself, General John Sullivan forced some British troops who had taken refuge in Nassau Hall to surrender, ending the battle. Washington moved his army to Morristown, and with their third defeat in 10 days, the British evacuated New Jersey. With the victory at Princeton, morale rose in the ranks and more men began to enlist in the army. The battle was the last major action of Washington's winter New Jersey Campaign.

The site of the battle is now Princeton Battlefield State Park (information from Princeton files, and State Park site).

5 comments:

Rebecca said...

Very nice tribute - so well written. The info is interesting too.

blueviolet said...

You captured that just beautifully, E. :)

Just telling it like it is said...

Oh how life can be a battle field

Jessie Carty said...

love some Emily Dickinson :)

Anonymous said...

From Therese Broderick at RWP -- I love the look of the poem on the page -- quite sculptural, like a monument. A "study" in form.