letter to Phoenixville, 1863

by Nat Lyon

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General Nathaniel Lyon and I come from the same place and share common ancestors. He was killed at the battle of Wilson's Creek on 10 August 1863. He fought for the Union and was the first General killed in the American Civil War. This song re-imagines his final days.


released August 8, 2017

Written and recorded by Nat Lyon.



all rights reserved
Track Name: letter to Phoenixville, 1863
Frank Blair said
let's go for a ride.
Let's take the horses
and spy upon
the other side.
I haven't heard from Blair in days.
The cable came from Washington-
it read our diplomat is drunk again.

At Wilson's Creek.

We can't lose.
And we can't go home.
With such conviction
etched in our bones.
I've got my black hat
and Union blue.

It's no longer reasonable
to wait for the first blow to be struck.
I don't believe in luck.
Before Secession is done
I'll see you
and you
and you
and you
beneath the sod.
So, where's your god?

So enamored by
those fossiled fools-
even Lincoln's diamonds
were just tools.
I've got my black hat
and Union Blue.

This is not the Natchaug River.
My god, this is bloody hell.
And the grapeshot came raining down
like spring rain-
only bodies on the ground.
My horse went down.

I'm not going back to Wilson's Creek.
I'm going home to Phoenixville.
When you lay me down
with the Knowltons and the Shermans
put a cenotaph on top.
Say, where's my god?