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GETTYSBURG

(July 1, 2, 3, 1863.)

BY EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN.

WA

AVE, wave your glorious battle

flags, brave soldiers of the North, And from the fields your arms have

won to-day go proudly forth ! For now, O comrades dear and leal—from

whom no ills could part, Through the long years of hopes and fears, the nation's

constant heartMen who have driven so oft the foe, so oft have striven

in vain, Yet ever in the perilous hour have crossed his path again,

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139

At last we have our heart's desire, from them we met

have wrung

A victory that round the world shall long be told and

sung! It was the memory of the past that bore us through the

fray, That gave the grand old army strength to conquer on

this day!

Oh, now forget how dark and red Virginia's rivers flow, The Rappahannock's tangled wilds, the glory and the

woe ; The fever-hung encampments, where our dying knew

full sore How sweet the north-wind to the cheek it soon shall cool

no more; The fields we fought, and gained, and lost; the lowland

sun and rain That wasted us, that bleached the bones of our unburied

slain ! There was no lack of foes to meet, of deaths to die no

lack, And all the hawks of heaven learned to follow on our

track; But henceforth, hovering southward, their flight shall

mark afar The paths of yon retreating host that shun the northern At night before the closing fray, when all the front was

star

still, We lay in bivouac along the cannon-crested hill. Ours was the dauntless Second Corps; and many a sol

dier knew How sped the fight, and sternly thought of what was yet

to do. Guarding the centre there, we lay, and talked with bated

breath Of Buford's stand beyond the town, of gallant Reynolds'

death, Of cruel retreats through pent-up streets by murderous

volleys swept, How well the Stone, the Iron, brigades their bloody out

posts kept : 'T was for the Union, for the Flag, they perished, heroes

all,

And we swore to conquer in the end, or even like them

to fall.

And passed from mouth to mouth the tale of what grim

day just done, The fight by Round Top's craggy spur—of all the deadli

est one; It saved the left : but on the right they pressed us back

too well, And like a field in spring the ground was ploughed with

shot and shell.

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141

There was the ancient graveyard, its hummocks crushed

and red. And there, betweeen them, side by side, the wounded

and the dead : The mangled corpses fallen above—the peaceful dead

below, Laid in their graves, to slumber here, a score of years

ago; It seemed their waking, wandering shades were asking

of our slain, What brought such hideous tumult now where they so

still had lain !

Bright rose the sun of Gettysburg that morrow morning

tide, And call of trump and roll of drum from height to height,

replied. Hark ! from the east already goes up the rattling din ; The Twelfth Corps, winning back their ground, right

well the day begin ! They whirl fierce Ewell from their front ! Now we of the

Second pray,

As right and left the brunt have borne, the centre might

to-day. But all was still from hill to hill for many a breathless

hour, While for the coming battle-shock Lee gathered in his And back and forth our leaders rode, who knew not res':

power;

or fear, And along the lines, where'er they came, went up the

ringing cheer.

'T was past the hour of nooning; the summer skies were

blue;

Behind the covering timber the foe was hid from view; So fair and sweet with waving wheat the pleasant valley

lay, It brought to mind our Northern homes and meadows far

away; When the whole western ridge at once was fringed with

fire and smoke, Against our lines from seven-score guns the dreadful

tempest broke! Then loud our batteries answer, and far along the crest, And to and fro the roaring bolts are driven east and

west; Heavy and dark around us glooms the stifling sulphur

cloud, And the cries of mangled men and horse go up beneath

its shroud.

The guns are still : the end is nigh: we grasp our arms

anew; Oh, now let every heart be stanch and every aim be

true!

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