Adelbert Older was a popular subscriber to Robert Merry’s Museum. Adelbert, a tall Wisconsin farm boy with gray eyes and brown hair, was one of the poets among the subscribers to the Museum: 16 of his poems appeared in the magazine between 1857 and 1865. He enlisted immediately in the Union army when the Civil War broke out, but was discharged within the year due to illness; Adelbert re-elisted with his younger brother, Wallace (born c1842), in February 1864. Both were wounded in a skirmish at Turner’s Farm, in Virginia, on May 31 or June 1, 1864. Wallace died almost immediately; but Adelbert lay all night on the battlefield, and was taken to Richmond as a prisoner of war on June 2. Though on June 5 he wrote a cheerful note to his parents, making light of his injuries (they received the note July 27), Adelbert died three days later.

The memorial page featured Belle’s poem in the left column and Adelbert’s poem in the right, with a stanza from “Mustered Out” at the bottom of the page. The patriotic image contains a “liberty cap” against a sword and a scroll, crowned with 13 stars probably emblematic of the 13 original states. The verse beginning “I’m mustered out!” is the last stanza of “Mustered Out,” a poem by the Rev. William E. Miller.
Memorial page for Adelbert Older (c1841-1864), by Belle P. R. and Adelbert Older (from Robert Merry’s Museum, February 1865, p. 87)
Our Soldier's Grave.
By Belle P. R.

Down where no weeping willow

O'er his low bed weeps,

Where the turf is piled up rudely,

There our brave boy sleeps.

There our darling soldier slumbers,

Day by day alone;

And the low-voiced mourning cuckoo

Wails its plaintive moan.

Down where no sculptured marble

Marks the humble spot,

Near it is the field of glory

Where our boy was shot.

Years ago, when he—a baby—

Slept on mother’s knee,

Little thinking of the rough voyage

On life's wayward sea,

How dear mother used to watch him,

Then her pride and joy;

And how oft she used to bless him,

Bless her darling boy.

But now, how still he slumbers!

Now, he's free from care;

God took our boy to heaven,

And he's resting there.

But I think I see him, joyous,

'Mid a happy throng,

Where Glory, glory to the Father,

Is the sweetest song;

On his head a crown of glory,

Brighter than the sun—

Far, far brighter than the other

That on earth he won.

By Adelbert Older.

The zephyrs, idle vagrants,

Come filled with sweetest fragrance;

They shake the blossoms down in showers,

And steal the fragrant breaths of flowers.

The bee, the bright-winged rover,

Is wandering all over

The fields of blooming clover;

He dives deep down in the lilies' bells,

And sips the sweets from their hidden cells.

The brook steals down the meadow,

Through sunshine and through shower,

By buttercups and daisies,

In deep and shady places;

Then, with a sound of mimic wrath,

It leaps along its pebbly path.

Beyond, the green-clothed hilltops lie,

And smile to see the smiling sky.

Deep in the leafy woods,

The shady solitudes,

The timid little rabbit peeps,

The squirrel on the branches leaps.

Each tree stands dim and solemn,

Like some old temple's column,

And through those arches vast and dim,

The wind is chanting a grand old hymn.

We half forget the primal curse,

And peace reigns through the universe.

May 21st, 1863.

liberty cap with sword, on a field containing 13 stars

I’m mustered out!

God of our fathers, our freedom prolong,

And tread down rebellion, oppression, and wrong!

Oh! land of earth's hopes, on thy blood-reddened sod

I die for the Nation, the Union, and God!

I’m mustered out!

Copyright 1999-2024, Pat Pflieger
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