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42. bombardment of Vicksburgh.

Dedicated with Respect and Admiration to Major-General Earl Van Dorn.
For sixty days and upwards
     A storm of shell and shot
Rained round as in a flaming shower,
     But still we faltered not!
“If the noble city perish,”
     Our grand young leader said,
“Let the only walls the foe shall scale
     Be ramparts of the dead!”

For sixty days and upwards
     The eye of heaven waxed dim,
And even throughout God's holy morn,
     O'er Christian's prayer and hymn,
Arose a hissing tumult,
     As if the fiends of air
Strove to engulf the voice of faith
     In the shrieks of their despair.

There was wailing in the houses,
     There was trembling on the marts,
While the tempest raged and thundered,
     'Mid the silent thrill of hearts;
But the Lord, our shield, was with us,
     And ere a month had sped,
Our very women walked the streets
     With scarce one throb of dread.

And the little children gamboled--
     Their faces purely raised,
Just for a wondering moment,
     As the huge bombs whirled and blazed I
Then turning with silvery laughter
     To the sports which children love,
Thrice mailed in the sweet, instinctive thought,
     That the good God watched above.1

Yet the hailing bolts fell faster
     From scores of flame-clad ships,
And above us denser, darker,
     Grew the conflict's wild eclipse,
Till a solid cloud closed o'er us,
     Like a type of doom and ire,
Whence shot a thousand quivering tongues
     Of forked and vengeful fire.

But the unseen hands of angels
     These death-shafts warned aside,
And the dove of heavenly mercy
     Ruled o'er the battle tide;
In the houses ceased the wailing,
     And through the war-scarred marts
The people strode with the step of hope
     To the music in their hearts.

Columbia, S. C., August 6, 1862.

1 It has been stated by one professing to have witnessed the fact, that some weeks after the beginning of this terrific bombardment, not only were ladies seen coolly walking the streets, but that in some parts of the town children were observed at play, only interrupting their sports to gaze and listen at the bursting shells.

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