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Gettysburg

143

For look ! from yonder wood that skirts the valley's

further marge,

The flower of all the Southern host move to the final

charge. By heaven ! it is a fearful sight to see their double rank Come with a hundred battle-flags—a mile from flank to

flank! Tramping the grain to earth, they come, ten thousand

men abreast; Their standards wave—their hearts are brave—they hasten

not, nor rest, But close the gaps our cannon make, and onward press,

and nigher, And, yelling at our very front, again pour in their fire.

Now burst our sheeted lightnings forth, now all our wrath

has vent! They die, they wither; through and through their waver

ing lines are rent. But these are gallant, desperate men, of our own race and

land, Who charge anew, and welcome death, and fight us hand

to hand : Vain, vain ! give way, as well ye may—the crimson die is

cast ! Their bravest leaders bite the dust, their strength is fail

ing fast; They yield, they turn, they fly the field : we smite them

as they run;

Their arms, their colors, are our spoil; the furious fight

is done! Across the plain we follow far and backward push the

fray : Cheer! cheer! the grand old Army at last has won the

day !

Hurrah ! the day has won the cause! No gray-clad host

henceforth Shall come with fire and sword to tread the highways of

the North ! 'T was such a flood as when ye see, along the Atlantic

shore, The great spring-tide roll grandly in with swelling surge

and roar: It seems no wall can stay its leap or balk its wild desire Beyond the bound that Heaven hath fixed to higher

mount, and higher ; But now, when whitest lifts its crest, most loud its billows

call,

Touched by the Power that led them on, they fall, and

fall, and fall. Even thus, uustayed upon his course, to Gettysburg the

foe His legions led, and fought, and fled, and might no

further go.

Full many a dark-eyed Southern girl shall weep her

lover dead;

Gettysburg

145

But with a price the fight was ours—we too have tears to

shed ! The bells that peal our triumph forth anon shall toll the

brave, Above whose heads the cross must stand, the hill-side

grasses wave! Alas! alas ! the trampled grass shall thrive another year, The blossoms on the apple-boughs with each new spring

appear, But when our patriot-soldiers fall, Earth gives them up

to God; Though their souls rise in clearer skies, their forms are

as the sod; Only their names and deeds are ours—but, for a century

yet, The dead who fell at Gettysburg the land shall not

forget.

God send us peace! and where for aye the loved and lost

recline Let fall, O South, your leaves of palm-O North, your

sprigs of pine ! But when, with every ripened year, we keep the harvest

home, And to the dear Thanksgiving-feast our sons and daugh

ters comeWhen children's children throng the board in the old

homestead spread,

Vol. II.

And the bent soldier of these wars is seated at the head, Long, long the lads shall listen to hear the gray-beard

tell Of those who fought at Gettysburg and stood their

ground so well : "'T was for the Union and the Flag," the veteran shall

say, Our grand old Army held the ridge, and won that

glorious day!”

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L

IKE a furnace of fire blazed the midsummer sun,

When to saddle we leaped at the order,
Spurred on by the boom of the deep-throated gun

That told of the foe on our border.
A mist in our rear lay Antietam's dark plain,

And thoughts of its carnage came o'er us ;
But smiling beyond surged the fields of ripe grain,

And we swore none should reap it before us.

That night, with the ensign who rode by my side,

On the camp's dreary edge I stood picket, Our ears intent lest every wind-rustle hide

A foe's stealthy tread in the thicket; And there, while we watched the first arrows of dawn

Through the veil of the rising mists quiver, He told how the foeman had closed in upon

His home by the Tennessee River.

He spoke of a sire in his weakness cut down,

With his last breath the traitor-flag scorning ;

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