18. the way we went to Beaufort.Full fifty sail we were that day,
When out to sea we sped away,
With a feeling of brooding mystery;
Bound — there was no telling where,
But well we knew there was strife to share,
And we felt our mission was bound to bear
A place in heroic history.
The man at the helm, nothing knew he,
As he steered his ship out into the sea,
On that morn of radiant beauty;
And the ships outspread their wings, and flew
Like sea-birds over the water blue,
One thought alone each man of us knew--
How best to do our duty.
Not a breath of wherefore or why was heard,
Not a doubting thought or a doubting word,
Or idle speculation;
But a spirit of inspiring trust
Filled each man's breast, as it always must,
When leaders are brave, and a cause is just
And ours the cause of the nation.
And thus we went — the hurricane's breath
Was felt in our track, like the blast of death,
But we had no thought of turning;
Onward and onward the good fleet sped,
Locked in its breast the secret dread,
To break in gloom over treason's head,
Where — we should soon be learning.
But brave Dupont and Sherman knew
Where the bolt should light, and each gallant crew
Was ready to heed their orders.
Port Royal, Ho!--and a bright warm day,
We made the land many miles away,
And sullenly there before us lay
Fierce Carolina's borders.
The mystery was all compassed then,
And the hearts of sea-sick, weary men,
Cheered up, the prospect viewing;
There is that grit in the human mind,
However gentle, or good, or kind,
That is always to double its fist inclined,
When near where a fight is brewing.
The rebel guns waked a fearful note
From our rifled cannon's open throat,
And our shells flew fast and steady.
The battle is over — the strife is done--
The Stars and Bars from the forts have run--
The blow is struck, and victory won--
Beaufort is ours already!
And then we sailed to the beautiful town,
Where we tore the emblem of treason down,
And planted the starry banner;
And the breezes of heaven seemed to play
With its folds in a tender and loving way,
As though they were proud to welcome the day,
And the old familiar manner.
A thrill pervaded the loyal land,
When the gladdening tidings came to hand;
Each heart felt joy's emotion!
The clouds of gloom and doubt dispersed,
The sun of hope through the darkness burst,
And the zeal the patriot's heart had nursed,
Burned with a warmer devotion.