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30. Fredericksburgh.

by W. F. W.
Eighteen hundred and sixty-two--
     That is the number of wounded men
Who, if the telegraph's tale be true,
     Reached Washington City but yester e'en

And it is but a handful, the telegrams add,
     To those who are coming by boats and by cars;
Weary and wounded, dying and sad;
     Covered — but only in front — with scars.

Some are wounded by Minia acute;shot,
     Others are torn by the hissing shell,
As it burst upon them as fierce and as hot
     As a demon spawned in a traitor's hell.

Some are pierced by the sharp bayonet,
     Others are crushed by the horses' hoof;
Or fell 'neath the shower of iron which met
     Them as hail beats down on an open roof.

Shall I tell what they did to meet this fate?
     Why was this living death their dawn--
Why did they fall to this piteous state
     ‘Neath the rifle's crack and the cannon's boom?

Orders arrived, and the river they crossed--
     Built the bridge in the enemy's face--
No matter how many were shot and lost,
     And floated — sad corpses — away from the place.

Orders they heard, and they scaled the height,
     Climbing right “into the jaws of death;”
Each man grasping his rifle-piece tight--
     Scarcely pausing to draw his breath.

[28] Sudden flashed on them a sheet of flame
     From hidden fence and from ambuscade;
A moment more--(they say this is fame)--
     A thousand dead men on the grass were laid.

Fifteen thousand in wounded and killed,
     At least, is “our loss,” the newspapers say.
This loss to our army must surely be filled
     Against another great battle-day.

“Our loss!” Whose loss? Let demagogues say
     That the Cabinet, President, all are in wrong.
What do the orphans and widows pray?
     What is the burden of their sad song?

'Tis their loss! But the tears in their weeping eyes
     Hide Cabinet, President, Generals--all;
And they only can see a cold form that lies
     On the hillside slope, by that fatal wall.

They cannot discriminate men or means--
     They only demand that this blundering cease.
In their frenzied grief they would end such scenes,
     Though that end be — even with traitors — peace.

Is thy face from thy people turned, O God?
     Is thy arm for the Nation no longer strong?
We cry from our homes — the dead cry from the sod--
     How long, O our righteous God! how long?

New-York, December 17, 1862.

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