Imagine the late 1800s, in Southwest Oklahoma, in the shadows of the Wichita Mountains, is a battery of towed cannon
camped for the night. Around the campfire the conversation turns to life in the hereafter. A old veteran section chief passes
on his account of the destiny of Redlegs, and the young cannoneers listen intently.
The Section Chief explains that the souls of the departed eventually end up in heaven or hell. Heaven lies about 8 miles
down the dusty road to eternity, and Redlegs get there by turning right at the first crossroads. From this same junction,
hell is about nine or ten miles straight ahead. A little way down the road to hell, there is a sign pointing to a trail that
reads "Fiddler's Green--Artillerymen Only."
He then teaches them the following poem:
Halfway down the trail to hell in a shady meadow green
Are the souls of all dead Redlegs camped near a good old-time canteen,
And this eternal resting place is known as Fiddler's Green
Marching past straight through to hell, the Infantry are seen, accompanied by
the Engineers, Cavalry and Marines,
For none but the shades of Artillerymen dismount at Fiddler's Green
Though some go curving down the trail to see a warmer scene, no Redleg ever gets
to hell ere he's emptied his canteen.
And so rides back to drink again with friends at Fiddler's Green
And so when man and horse go down beneath a saber keen, or on a roaring charge
of fierce melee you stop a bullet clean.
And the hostiles come to get your scalp just empty your canteen,
And put your pistol to your head and go to Fiddler's Green.
The campfires die out, and
the Redlegs doze off to sleep,
Knowing Fiddler's Green awaits them and all their cannon-cocking brethren in the life hereafter.