While with battle's cloud of sulphur mingled densely mist and rain,
Till the ascending squadrons vanished from the gazers on the plain.
From the boats upon the river, from the tents upon the shore,
From the roofs of yonder city anxious eyes the clouds explore:
But no rift amid the darkness shows them father, brother, sons,
While they trace the viewless struggle by the echo of the guns.
Upward! charge for God and country! up! Aha! they rush, they rise,
Till the faithful meet the faithless in the never-cloud-ed skies,
And the battle field is bloody where a dew-drop never falls,
For a voice of tearless justice to a tearless vengeance calls.
And the heaven is wild with shouting; fiery shot and bayonet keen
Gleam and glance where freedom's angels battle in the blue serene.
Charge and volley fiercely follow, and the tumult in the air
Tells of right in mortal grapple with rebellion's strong despair.
They have conquered! God's own legions! Well their foes might be dismayed,
Standing in his mountain temple 'gainst the terrors of his aid;
And the clouds might fitly echo paean loud and parting gun
When from upper light and glory sank the traitor host, undone.
They have conquered! Througn the region where our brothers plucked the palm,
Rings the noise in which they won it with the sweetness of a psalm;
And our wounded, sick, and dying, hear it in their crowded wards,
Till they know our cause is Heaven's and our battle is the Lord's.
And our famished captive heroes locked in Richmond's prison-hells
List those guns of cloudland booming glad as freedom's morning bells,
Lift their haggard eyes, and panting, with their cheeks against the bars,
Feel God's breath of hope, and see it playing with the Stripes and Stars,
Tories, safe in serpent-treason, startle as those airy cheers,
And that wild, ethereal war-drum, fall like doom upon their ears;
And that rush of cloud-borne armies, rolling back the nation's shame,
Frights them with its sound of judgment and its flash of angry flame.
Widows weeping by their firesides, loyal hearts despondent grown,
Smile to hear their country's triumph from the gate of heaven blown,
And the patriot poor shall wonder, in their simple hearts to know
In the land above the thunder their embattled champions go.