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When we marched back to camp, and like soldiers we stept,
Only stopping to drink to our chief,
The provost, who'd shut up the bars, though by stealth
We still had enough to drink to his health.
The provost (I dreamed) I could never forget,
And his aids I would always remember,
How from morning till night they were sorely beset
In that terrible month of September;
When the foe in Middletown Valley was seen,
As the sun went down in the west,
And at dark had advanced already between
Greencastle and Marion at least.
But the provost (I dreamed) was a man who would have
His will and his way in his station,
And to show that the town he would certainly save,
He issued a strict proclamation:
“No citizen armed for the common defence,”
His bitters could get of a morning;
But the citizen-soldiers scorned abstinence,
As their mode of attack was by horning.
“In case the foe approaches the town,”
The command was, “Destroy all the brandy,”
But it did not say how, so my friend Mr. Brown,
Thought to drink it were far the most handy;
“And guards will be placed,” it was thus ran the text,
“At every approach to the Borough.”
So away trooped a crowd, exceeding perplexed
Lest they should bear arms on the morrow.
I can never forget what the Guards have achieved,
And how closely they looked at the “passes”
Of honest old farmers who “spies” were believed,
While they kissed and passed out all the lasses.
Then the “Anderson Troop” came riding along,
On horses impressed from the farmers;
Their clothes were new and their sabres were strong,
So they thought themselves “perfect charmers.”
And I looked at their steeds when I saw the mark,
Uncle Sam puts on all of his forces;
And I “laughed in my sleeve,” as cried out some gay lark,
“They've> been branding borrowed horses.”
These “Anderson fellows” had drilled for a while,
And moreover were splendid blowers;
So with sabres like scythes they came in style,
To show rebels some excellent mowers.
And I saw in my dream, I can't vouch for its truth,
That with dauntless and terrible blows
They mowed forty thousand rebs down, forsooth,
When at least thirty miles from their foes.
Thus ended this part of my dream, when behold,
As the danger was past and as bloodshed was over,
The “State Militia,” in numbers untold,
The “War on the Border” began to discover.
So away they marched with but little persuasion,
To protect “the line” from threatened invasion.
Unluckily for the “Militia,” their fate,
'Twas to be right in time to be too late;
Unless they meant not to fight where my rhyme
Will bring them just in the nick of time.
Thus peace again reigned, not so much, I suppose,
That the rebels were fearful we'd beat 'em,
As from a deep-seated conviction that rose
In their minds <*> the banks of Antietam.
IV. The quiet town in its still repose,
Not a whisper heard from the whispering trees,
Not a rumor borne on the passing breeze,
But little recked of the coming foes.
The clouds were lowering, and pattering rain
Began to plash on the window-pane,
And darkness to veil all scenes from the light,
O'ercasting the earth with the mantle of night.
An anxious horseman with panting steed,
Rode into the town at his utmost speed,
With the word that “the rebels were coming!”
Bells rang and drums beat in that hour of need,
But all smiled at the ringing and drumming.
'Twere absurd, men argued, that here, so far
From the army that lay on the river away,
The rebels should come in a single day,
With all the paraphernalia of war.
Yet while they argued, the guns of the foe
Oped their mouths with a grin on the town below.
“They're here, they're here!” was borne on the air;
Through street and alley, “The rebels are here;
Don't you see them down in the Diamond there?
I heard their trumpet-tones calling clear.”
And I walked the streets, and I felt the pain
Of “surrender” thrill me through every vein
When I heard a heroic woman declare,
“The dirty rebels, they won't fight fair,
But come when they know we can't beat them,
Instead of giving us time to prepare,
As we do with them ere we meet them.”
Then into the town incessant poured
The hateful stream of the rebel horde;
“They had now just come,” they deigned to say,
“A hasty visit the place to pay ;”
And kindly promised for hurry this once,
To come again and stay for months.
We told them no doubt 'twas well designed,
But still we were sure they were quite too kind;
And assured them one thing was very clear,
We were not at all fond of “butternuts” here.
And General Stuart, the rebel chief,
Whom the farmers call “the great horse-thief,”
Who captured “the city without delay,”
(Or “quiet village,” as Harpers say,)
Inquired next morning with pride: “If his men
Were bad as was represented.”
“But the devil ne'er,” he was answered then,
“Was black as he was painted.”
But up and away with the early morn
Were these defiant rebels borne,
As fast as our horses could carry them.
As the flame and smoke to heaven arose,
We declared our purpose to follow our foes,
To strike them hard, and as to their blows,
We swore long and loud we would parry them.
So we shouldered our guns and went out to see
Where the infernal rebels might be,
But the devil himself couldn't find them.
For “over the river and far away,”
They had gone, as they hadn't “the time to stay,”
Leaving “flaming regrets” behind them.
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