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[363]

The Vicksburg Scow: a ballad.

Brave Porter deals in hard, dry pokes,
He's also good at a clever hoax;
Of all his deeds, in fight or fun,
That queer old scow is “Number One.”

Abandoned by the river's marge,
She had served her time as coaling barge;
Of refuse planks he shaped her roof
Like iron-clads, quite cannon-proof.

Pork barrels old, with ne'er a head,
As twin stacks rose, in chimnies' stead;
These vomited, to aid the joke,
From hearths of mud, a dreadful smoke.

In place of turret, on this raft,
(Oh, was not she the drollest craft!)
He rigged, from some plantation stript,
A small outbuilding, nondescript.

Two guns of log, of frightful size,
Frowned from her ports in grisly guise;
To fit this monster of the stream
To scare the rebels' guilty dream.

The moon was neither bright nor dim,
When Porter loosed this flat boat trim,
And let her drift, her course to steer,
With pilot none, nor engineer.

On Mississippi's eastern side,
The sentries soon her coming spied,
They raised alarm at dead of night-
All Vicksburg waked in deadly fright.

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John F. Porter (2)
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