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39. Gen. Rousseau crossing rolling Fork.

by Miss Sophia H. Oliver.
“We cross this ford,” he exclaimed, “never to retreat again to this side. We are to march forward. There is to be no backward movement. It is victory or death.”

The command was about to be given and repeated through the lines, when Gen. Rouesseau, in the van, rising in the saddle, exclaimed: “Men, follow me! I expect none of you to do what I am not willing to do myself,” and, springing from his horse, he stepped briskly into the stream, and crossed the breast-high ford on foot. His men, cheering wildly, followed their General, crying they would “follow wherever he dared to lead.” --Correspondence Louisville Journal.

Upon a river's verdant banks
     Our troops advanced at dawn of day;
Their pathway to the invading ranks
     Across the bridgeless river lay.
But ere their watery track they take,
     Lo! thus their gallant leader spake:

[29] “Brave soldiers: once that river passed,
     Onward must be our battle cry,
Our all is on the venture cast,
     To march to death or victory.
No backward glance, no base retreat,
     When we our country's foemen meet!”

Then crying, “Follow where I lead,
     I ask you naught I may not do;”
Brave Rousseau, springing from his steed,
     Marched proudly through the waters blue;
Her clasping arms the river pressed
     Around the hero's fearless breast.

The morning sunbeams slightly glanced
     Along the shining path he sped,
And swift the gallant hosts advanced,
     All following where their chieftain led:
While streamed aloft their banner brave,
     Borne proud above the dashing wave.

High over head the glittering arms
     Each warrior held with martial pride;
While loud as battle's wild alarms
     Rung shout on shout along the tide;
Each hill flung back the rallying cry
     “On, on to death or victory.”

Oh! lofty words not idly said,
     For fierce the fight and red the field,
And fallen many a noble head
     E'er Rousseau and his heroes yield.
Then, soldiers, in the gallant fight
     May God defend and save the right.

Oh country! for whose sacred cause
     Such patriot spirits are to bleed;
Oh country! for whose blessed laws
     All that is pure and holy plead--
Before thee well may traitors quail,
     Thy cause is just, and must prevail!

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