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Sberidan's Ride

73

The roar of that red sea uncontroll’d,
Making the blood of the listener cold,
As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,

With Sheridan twenty miles away.

But there is a road from Winchester town,
A good broad highway leading down :
And there, through the flush of the morning light,
A steed as black as the steeds of night
Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight,
As if he knew the terrible need
He stretch'd away with his utmost speed;
Hills rose and fell ; but his heart was gay,

With Sheridan fifteen miles away.

Still sprang from those swift hoofs, thundering south,
The dust like smoke from the cannon's mouth,
Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster,
Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster.
The heart of the steed and the heart of the master
Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
Impatient to be where the battle-field calls ;
Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,

With Sheridan only ten miles away.

Under his spurning feet, the road,
Like an arrowy Alpine river flow'd
And the landscape sped away behind
Like an ocean flying before the wind;

And the steed, like a bark fed with furnace ire,
Swept on, with his wild eye full of fire.
But, lo! he is nearing his heart's desire ;
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,

With Sheridan only five miles away.

The first that the general saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
What was done? what to do? a glance told himn both.
Then striking his spurs with a terrible oath,
He dash'd down the line, 'mid a storm of huzzas,
And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because
The sight of the master compell’d it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray ;
By the flash of his eye, and the red nostril's play,
He seem'd to the whole great army to say:
“I have brought you Sheridan all the way

From Winchester down to save the day.”

!

Hurrah ! hurrah for Sheridan !
Hurrah ! hurrah for horse and man !
And when their statues are placed on high,
Under the dome of the Union sky,
The American soldier's Temple of Fame,
There with the glorious general's name
Be it said, in letters both bold and bright:

“Here is the steed that saved the day By carrying Sheridan into the fight,

From Winchester,-twenty miles away !”

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yield!

'T was the day when with Jameson, fierce Berry, and

Birney, Against twenty thousand he rallied the field. Where the red volleys poured, where the clamor rose

highest, Where the dead lay in clumps through the dwarf oak

and pine, Where the aim from the thicket was surest and nighest, No charge like Phil Kearney's along the whole line.

When the battle went ill, and the bravest were solemn, Near the dark Seven Pines, where we still held our

ground, He rode down the length of the withering columu,

And his heart at our war-cry leapt up with a bound. He snuffed, like his charger, the wind of the powder,– His sword waved us on, and we answered the sign;

Loud our cheer as we rushed, but his laugh rang the

louder : “There's the devil's own fun, boys, along the whole

line!”

How he strode his brown steed! How we saw his blade

brighten In the one hand still left-and the reins in his teeth! He laughed like a boy when the holidays heighten,

But a soldier's glance shot from his visor beneath. Up came the reserves to the mellay infernal,

Asking where to go in—through the clearing or pine? “Oh, anywhere! Forward ! 'T is all the same, Colonel :

You 'll find lovely fighting along the whole line !

Oh, evil the black shroud of night at Chantilly,

That hid him from sight of his brave men and tried ! Foul, foul sped the bullet that clipped the white lily,

The flower of our knighthood, the whole army's pride! Yet we dream that he still—in that shadowy region Where the dead form their ranks at the wan drum

mer's signRides on, as of old, down the length of his legion,

And the word still is Forward ! along the whole line.

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[Mr. William Gilmore Simms tells us that this poem, stained with blood, was found on the person of a dead soldier of the Stonewall brigade after one of Jackson's battles in the Shenandoah Valley. Its authorship, long unknown, has been discovered by Mr. Francis F. Browne. -EDITOR.]

C

OME, stack arms, men ! Pile on the rails,

Stir up the camp-fire bright;
No growling if the canteen fails,

We'll make a roaring night,
Here Shenandoah brawls along,
There burly Blue Ridge echoes strong,
To swell the brigade's rousing song

Of “Stonewall Jackson's way.”

We see him now—the queer slouched hat

Cocked o'er his eye askew;
The shrewd, dry smile; the speech so pat,
So calm, so blunt, so true.

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