The Front Porch Go to Mickey Newbury Back Porch
Back Porch


Author:  Hank
E-mail:  beukema@optonline.net
Date:  10/25/2008 6:50:24 PM
Subject:  Re:
Message:  Intro:

This is a fictional account of three characters meeting while fleeing the Civil War.... The result is the three strangers sitting around a campfire and singing the three songs that became Mickey Newbury's American Trilogy in the late Sixties.... A live version of Mickey singing the song can be heard in the background....

The boy had been following me since Chancellorsville....
When I ran from that bloody battle, I ran without thought...
All I knew was what my instincts told me;
go East and go North; go home... After a week of this we reached the Palisades, the sheer
wall of cliffs at Englewood overlooking the Hudson River in New Jersey where I would follow
the river North and home... With the river and the cliffs at my back, I turned to face him...
If you're gonna be here anyways, I said, then you may as well join me .... I
threw the tobacco pouch at him and raised the whiskey bottle to my lips... He was just
a kid; he had come from the Stonewall Brigade, the troop of students that had followed the
great man from the Virginia Military Institute and on into battle before most of them
could shave...
When Stonewall went down at Chancellorsville, the boy no longer had a
reason; General Jackson Was his cause and his country and without him there seemed no reason
to fight on...
My reasons were simpler: I was scared, I was tired, and I could no
longer stand the thought of killing even one more man, and so, without much thought, I ran,
and I kept running until I could no longer hear the screams or smell the smoke of the
cannons.... The boy asked me why I ran and I said,
Because I couldn't fly........
He nodded like he
understood.... It was good to have somebody to talk to again, even a Reb....
I passed him the whiskey....

That night as we set the fire to blazing, we heard a rustle off to the
right... I saw his eyes first and Reb raised his gun at the sight of a black man in the woods
with a gun... Charlie had escaped when his Master was killed by a Union raiding party; he
had no family left, so he just wandered away, keeping out of sight, heading for a town he
had heard of called Nyack where the Underground Railroad was doing the Work of the
Righteous... As we sat on either side of the fire, Johnny Reb took out his harmonica and
started playing Dixieland.... Well, I may have run, but I was still a Union man thru and
thru, so I started in on Glory, Glory Hallelujah.... Charlie musta felt left out cause
he started in on a song I had never heard; it sounded like a slave song and was about how
all my trials, Lord, would soon be over.... At one point, I stopped, and said, Listen,
boys, if we're gonna get along, let's do this thing righteous; one at a time and maybe we
can all learn sumthin.....
So, the three of us, an unlikely group if there ever was one:
an old preacher/deserter, a young boy/deserter and a runaway slave, sitting around
a campfire at the top of a cliff over the Hudson River on a cloudless night, sang
Dixie, the The Battle Hymn, then All My Trials.........
When we were done and the woods fell
quiet again, I looked at them and their faces were wet and shiny just like mine.... I
passed the bottle to Charlie and nobody said anything for a long while.........

BarbSong Publishing 2005

 "Trilogy" help needed by JeffS at 10/25/2008 6:26:52 PM
 Re:  by Hank  at 10/25/2008 6:50:24 PM
 Re:  by JeffS at 10/25/2008 11:54:21 PM
 Re:  by Bill Smith  at 10/26/2008 1:50:54 AM