previous next
[41] V.1

The autumn bleak and the winter cold
Passed slowly by, while afar off rolled
War's tide and train of desolation.
On the Rappahannock's blood-stained shore,
Where the Yazoo's darksome waters pour,
Or Stone River's waves are mingled with gore,
Stood the bulwarks of the nation.

Our fathers, brothers, sons were there,
While a sister's sigh or a mother's prayer,
Went up to heaven, “O Father, spare!”
The rifle-flash and bayonet-thrust,
The ranks of men, the columns of dust,
The musketry crash, the cannon's roar,
And all the ominous sound of war,
Was the only answer the lightning brought,
From where contending thousands fought.

The only answer — Ah! no, the rod
Upraised to punish a nation for sin,
Is felt in the cry, “My son, O God!”
At the one little name in the bulletin;
And this is answer enough for her,
Whose hopes and all that she loved on earth,
Are borne to a soldier's sepulchre,
And buried afar from the place of his birth;
Or brought in sorrow and laid to sleep,
Where its vigils affection may silently keep.

The dreadful sounds of war, war, war,
Still smote on the ear, yet while we bore
Our loved ones home and mournfully laid
Their bodies at rest in the earth at our feet,
Mourned over their graves and solemnly played
Funereal dirges for heroes meet;
Men black as Erebus sprung forth,
And I saw them spring at their country's call,
Raised up the banner of the North,
And placed it high on Wagner's wall.

From the dens where burrow a subject race,
Methought I saw them face to face
With the monster Death on Wagner's towers,
Exclaiming: “the Fort it must be ours.”
And I turned and pointed where heroes lay,
And pronounced a benediction of sorrow:
“Sleep sweetly, brave men, for ye this day
Have gained for your children a glorious to-morrow.”


But again the rumor is borne on the breeze,
(We often before had rumors like these,)
That Lee is moving, intent on invasion.
But we heeded it not until it was clear
That Jenkins had come unpleasantly near,
And Lee himself would surely be here
Before his head had many more days on.
Then away the “prominent citizens” hurried,
Excited, frightened, flustered, flurried,
In wagons, carriages, sulkies, carts,
On horseback, “on foot,” by all manner of arts
And devices;
And all kinds of people — Smith, Jones,
Roberts, Robinson, Brown, and Bones,
And the Rices.
While away in advance of the headlong race,
Was a carriage that looked like R----n's,
Which seemed “like he gwine to leab de place,”
Through fear of the mighty Jenkins.

‘Mid shriek, and yell, and cry, and shout,
And peals of wicked laughter,
On, hurried on, the rabble rout,
With Milroy's wagons after.
Toss and tumble,
Roll and rumble,
And dust to make us blind, most;
Thus Milroy's trains
Came over plains,
And rills and ridges,
Brooks and bridges,
Let worst be worst,
The best man first,
And devil take the hindmost.
And sure enough, when all had gone,
And night put her sable garments on,
Came Jenkins, the guerrilla chief,
And arrant traitor, and braggart, and thief,
To pay us that long-threatened visit.
His rebs were dirty as dirt could make 'em,
And Jenkins himself may have been a sachem,
A man or gorilla, a monkey or fairy,
Or p'rhaps the famous “What is it?”
Which usually goes with “travelling shows.”
But whatever he was, no one I suppose,
Will deny he was wretchedly dirty and hairy.

Now Jenkins put up at the best hotel,
And as every thing looked uncommonly well,
He grew quite communicative;
No foe on his front, no foe on his rear,
Though he found on his flanks two glasses of beer,
He soon threw them off like a “native.”

'Tis wondrous to tell how he soon sought his way,
From the house with the sign of the Eagle,
A bird which he found he could ne'er lead astray,
However he tried to inveigle,
To that spot on the Spring whose waters are clear,
Transparent and lucid as lager or beer,
Where our good friends the Dutch delight overmuch,
To hear their mugs jingle and “smile” at the touch,
While they fight o'er their battles “mit Sigel.”

“Dear Harmon,” says Jenkins, “I'm glad to be here,
And to know you's a great delight, sir,
I confess I'm remarkably fond of your beer,
And relish your ‘ kase ’ and your ‘ Sweitzer.’
Your people shall all be treated as well
As I this day have been ‘ treated ;’
I'll see they are paid for all that they sell,
And will suffer no one to be cheated;
But then they must all be content to receive
Such money as we are able to give.”

Impressed, no doubt, with this honest feeling,
(For Jenkins was morally hostile to stealing,)
He ordered all business men open their doors,
And he would send officers round to their stores,
And these, he assured them, “would carefully make
A correct catalogue of their stock;
Such things as they wanted were all they would take,
And the balance erase from the book;

1 This Part refers to the young men of Chambersburgb, Pa., who were killed in the battles of Stone River and Frede<*>ks-burgh, and to the colored men of the same place who belonged to the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth regiment, which displayed so great bravery at the attack on Fort Wagner.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Morris Island (South Carolina, United States) (3)
Stone River (Tennessee, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jenkins (6)
Milroy (2)
Fitz-Hugh Lee (2)
Sweitzer (1)
Kirby Smith (1)
Sigel (1)
Robinson (1)
Roberts (1)
Davy Jones (1)
Harmon (1)
John Brown (1)
Brooks (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: