Sunday, November 2, 2003

Ohio Moments


Gen. William H. Lytle mourned even by Rebs

On Nov. 2, 1826, William Haines Lytle - a Civil War general and beloved poet - was born in Cincinnati.

Lytle graduated from Cincinnati College and became a lawyer. After serving as a captain of the 2nd Ohio Regiment in the Mexican War, he was elected to the Ohio General Assembly. In 1858, Lytle wrote the poem "Antony and Cleopatra." Published by the Cincinnati Commercial, it became a national sensation.

Three years later, when the Civil War began, Lytle was commissioned a colonel of the 10th Ohio Regiment. Promoted to brigadier general, Lytle died while leading a Union charge at the Battle of Chickamauga, Ga., on Sept. 20, 1863. He was 36. As word of his death spread on the battlefield, Confederate soldiers made their way to Lytle's body - at what is now called Lytle Hill - to pay respects.

That night, soldiers of both armies sat around campfires and recited favorite lines from "Antony and Cleopatra." Lytle's poem begins: "I am dying, Egypt, dying! Ebbs the crimson life-tide fast."

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8361.




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