29 October 1864: “To leave this God cursed soil behind”

Item Description: Poem written by Maj. McKnight. Oroon Alston Hanner copied this poem into his autograph album while in prison on Johnson Island. He was given this autograph album by a local women’s society. While in prison, he collected autographs of his fellow prisoners as well as copied down poems and other prose such as this poem.


Item Citation: Folder 1, Oroon Alston Hanner album, #04853-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Maj McKnight’s Farewell Address To Johnston Island Ohio

Oct 29th 1864

I leave thy shores of hated isle,

Where misery mocked my days,

And seek the Land where Lovely ones Smiles,

And Summer seasons the heart beguiles,

In jovial blooming rays.


I quit thy Loathsome prison walls,

With joyous sounding heart,

To think again dear Southern halls

To go where e’er my duty calls,

And hear my ? part.


No more! thy sorrows God grant no more

Will save my prison cell,

For ill winds beat against my door,

For storm blasts sound my prison roar,

Within this Northern Hell


No more! Mine ear will hear the cry

Of Suffering braves for bread

For Scenes of Sorrow meet mine eye

Where those fair noise who cannot lie

Than those already dead


But soft All drops a parting tear

In memory of those

Who lost to Loving hearts for e’er

After rest on dreamless slumbers here

Secure from heartless foes


Then haste the storm & friendly winds

To bear me from the storm

To leave this God cursed soil behind

To bear me when my heart shall find

Freedom forever more.



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