48. ball's Bluff.Big Bethel, Bull Run, and Ball's Bluff--
Oh, alliteration of blunders!
Of blunders more than enough,
In a time full of blunders and wonders.
History, shut up your book,
Or blot from your record the story,
Nor honor such scenes with a look,
Where the shame so eclipses the glory
No one to blame! Oh, no!
No one to blame for the slaughter;
None but the truculent foe
And the merciless rush of the water.
Where could be found braver men?
Braver men ne'er were in battle;
Who drove them into the pen,
There to be slaughtered like cattle?
Two thousand men against six,
Led as the blind lead the blind;
Two thousand men hemmed in by six,
And the rushing river behind.
The rushing river behind,
And the furious foe before--
Who could have ever divined
That these were the perils of war?
Six thousand rifles ahead,
And behind them a river like Styx,
Gulphing the wounded and dead--
God pity the two against six.
A river as fatal as Styx,
With a heart dying out on each wave,
Till the blood, where the streams intermix,
Is swollen with the blood of the brave.
The stain of the sorrow and shame
Is mixed with the stain of the slaughter,
And the dead hearts write vainly a name
On the face of the innocent water.
For no one's to blame, and yet,
Who issued the murderous order?
We men may forgive and forget,
But not the Eternal Recorder.