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Ballad of Vicksburgh.

Two years the tide of war had rolled
In restless fury on--
Hearts growing prematurely old
In grief for loved ones gone!

Two years the burdened land had groaned
Beneath the martial train;
With bitter, scalding tears bemoaned
Its argosy of pain!

Two years had brothers met as foes
On many a field and flood--
Had fathers drained the cup of woes
Their sons had steeped in blood!

The haughty rebel striving hard
To fill a land with slaves;
The gallant freeman still to guard
The home of patriot graves!

Both had at times successes won
And both reverses met;
Both captured city, fort, and gun,
And lost them with regret!

Yet closer draws the circling coil
Around the stubborn foe;
The freemen fight on sacred soil,
And on, still on they go!

A stronghold by the river side,
The key to needed stores,
Stands like a kingdom in its pride,
To guard opposing shores.

On this is fixed their eagle eye,
And this, they say, must fall;
They dare the rebel hosts defy,
And thrust them to the wall!

What though the fronting water-bluff
Is mounted, steep and high
What though the circling rear is rough,
And frowning forts defy?

What though so many times before
In vain the mortars bayed;
While gunboats rained their hail on shore,
And land assaults were made

Many the plans that failed to raise
The dear old banner there;
Many the long and weary days
That mocked at toil and care!

But dauntless still that armored host
The rebel hordes defy.
They bide their time at duty's post,
Hope kindling every eye.

The brave commander speaks the word
And on it goes once more;
Again the hostile guns are heard
Along the river shore.

The gauntlet of the plunging fire
Is run with little harm;
Ne'er fails such resolute desire
To brave the wild alarm!

A fleet above, a fleet below,
Is ready for the strife,
Ready to strike a telling blow
For freedom and for life!

The fleet below pours forth its host
Of brave and gallant men,
Like waves upon the white sea-coast
To storm the land again!

Like the wild rushing avalanche
Armed with resistless might,
To crush rebellion root and branch,
They hurry to the fight.

The circling path is rough and long
To gain the stronghold's rear;
The foe they meet is fierce and strong,
But wakes no coward fear.

They boldly meet him on the way
In many a bloody fight;
In all they nobly win the day,
As triumph for the right!

They reap a large and worthy spoil
Of cannon and of men,
The fruit of Hope's heroic toil
Inspiring hope again!

On, on they press their winding way,
A strong and valiant host;
And still they keep the foe at bay,
Despite his wonted boast!

They reach at last the waiting goal,
The frowning forts invest;
The thunders of their cannon roll
To mar the city's rest.

All avenues of flight they guard
With strong and jealous care,
Cut off supplies and press them hard
With burdens hard to bear.

[66] They boldly make the fierce assault,
The moated walls to scale,
Nor is it yet the heroes' fault
Once and again they fail.

Too steep, too high, too strong, the walls,
Too hot the cannon's breath,
Too thickly fly the deadly balls,
Too many fall in death!

The spade and shovel here must win
If triumph ever come;
Their song must mingle with the din
Of cannon and of drum!

So through the sutlry summer days
They onward dig their way;
Vain all attempts the siege to raise,
Or long their work delay!

The heroes labor long and well,
Slowly the stronghold near,
While day and night fly shot and shell
To keep the foe in fear!

The city proudly bears its scars,
The people hide in caves,
And cursing still the Stripes and Stars,
There many find their graves!

But closer draws the giant coil,
Want stares them in the face,
In vain is all their arduous toil,
They cannot hold the place.

And Vicksburgh by the river side
So long the rebel boast,
Falls from its dizzy height of pride
Before the loyal host.

And on that joyful summer morn,
The great day of the year
That symbols still a nation born,
There waves the flag so dear!

And many a shout goes up that day
In paeans loud and grand,
Long peals of joy to find their way
In echoes through the land;

As for a nation born again
On this its natal day,
Born for a gift of nobler men
Through Freedom's larger sway!

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