The drummer boy’s drum beat a rhythm, as the soldiers marched.
The rat-tat-tat is steady, as his sticks danced upon the drumhead.
He went as the soldiers went and he kept a steady beat
As they go their way, in step, on tired and swollen feet.
Into battle the soldiers marched led by the boy’s drum,
Knowing well, as some fell, that there was worse to come.
The battle raged and all around, upon the ground, the soldiers fell.
The drum beat faltered, then stopped, the drummer died as well.
A careless shot fired has found a victim not intended.
The war itself, no dreary end, was uselessly extended.
But not before the pistol or rifle shot or canon’s roar
Consumed the men and boy; the drum beat heard no more.
There they lay, amid the fray, the soldiers in a heap.
Now they mingle, friend and foe, as if in silent sleep.
Their blood together flow, the drummer boys’ too,
The missiles struck and found a mark, caring not who.
On a dark and stormy night, wafting on the wind, some folks say
You can hear the steady rat-tat-tat of a drum in play, on Veteran’s Day.
* A young boy traveling with the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War.