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.