Page images

With the song of the minstrel in mine ear,
And the tender legend that trembles here,
I'd give the best, on his bended knee,
The whitest soul of my chivalry,
For little Giffen of Tennessee !


GENERAL ALBERT SIDNEY JOHNSTON. [Fell in the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing, Tenn., March 2,


In thickest fight triumphantly he fell,

While into victory's arms he led us on ;
A death so glorious our grief should quell:

We mourn him, yet his battle-crown is won.

No slanderous tongue can vex his spirit now,
No bitter taunts can stain his blood-bought

Immortal honor rests upon his brow,

And noble memories cluster round his name.

For hearts shall thrill and eyes grow dim with

tears, To read the story of his touching fate; How in his death the gallant soldier wears

The crown that came for earthly life too late.

Ye people! guard his memory-sacred keep

The garlands green above his hero-grave; Yet weep, for praise can never wake his sleep, To tell him he is shrined among the brave !


THE CUMBERLAND. (The United States war-ship Cumberland, commanded by Captain Morris, was sunk, with her crew of a hundred men, by the Confederate ram Merrimac, in the famous naval battle at Hampton Roads, Va., March 9, 1862. After sinking, the flag at her mainmast still floated above the water.) At anchor in Hampton Roads we lay,

On board of the Cumberland, sloop-of-war ; And at times from the fortress across the bay

The alarum of drums swept past,

Or a bugle blast
From the camp on the shore.
Then far away to the south uprose

A little feather of snow-white smoke,
And we knew that the iron ship of our foes

Was steadily steering its course

To try the force
Of our ribs of oak.
Down upon us heavily runs,

Silent and sullen, the floating fort;
Then comes a puff of smoke from her guns,

And leaps the terrible death,

With fiery breath,
From each open port.
We are not idle, but send her straight

Defiance back in a full broadside!
As hail rebounds from a roof of slate,

Rebounds our heavier hail

From each iron scale Of the monster's hide. “Strike your flag !" the rebel cries,

In his arrogant old plantation strain. “ Never!” our gallant Morris replies;

“ It is better to sink than to yield !"

And the whole air pealed
With the cheers of our men.

Then, like a kraken huge and black,

She crushed our ribs in her iron grasp! Down went the Cumberland all a-wrack,

With a sudden shudder of death,

And the cannon's breath
For her dying gasp.
Next morn, as the sun rose over the bay,

Still floated our flag at the mainmast head.
Lord, how beautiful was Thy day!

Every waft of the air

Was a whisper of prayer, Or a dirge for the dead. Ho! brave hearts that went down in the seas !

Ye are at peace in the troubled stream; Ho! brave land with hearts like these,

Thy flag, that is rent in twain,

Shall be one again,
And without a seam!



[In April, 1862, Admiral Farragut ran his squadron past the Confederate batteries defending the Lower Mississippi, encountering and defeating a fleet of steamers, rams, and fire-rafts.]

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

WOULD you hear of the River Fight?
It was two, of a soft spring night,

God's stars looked down on all,
And all was clear and bright
But the low fog's chilling breath;
Up the river of Death

Sailed the Great Admiral.

On our high poop-deck he stood,

And round him ranged the men
Who have made their birthright good

Of manhood, once and agen-
Lords of helm and of sail,
Tried in tempest and gale,

Bronzed in battle and wreck-
Bell and Bailey grandly led
Each his line of the blue and red
Wainwright stood by our starboard rail,

Thornton fought the deck.

And I mind me of more than they,

Of the youthful, steadfast ones,

That have shown them worthy sons
Of the seamen passed away-
(Tyson conned our helm that day,
Watson stood by his guns).

What thought our Admiral then,
Looking down on his men ?
Since the terrible day

(Day of renown and tears!)
When at anchor the Essex lay,
Holding her foes at bay,
When, a boy, by Porter's side he stood
Till deck and plank-sheer were dyed with blood,

'Tis half a hundred yearsHalf a hundred years, to-day!

Who could fail, with him ?
Who reckon of life or limb ?

Not a pulse but beat the higher !
There had you seen, by the star-light dim,
Five hundred faces strong and grim,

The Flag is going under fire!
Right up by the fort, with her helm hard a-port,

The Hartford is going under fire!

The way to our work was plain :
Caldwell had broken the chain
(Two hulks swung down amain,

Soon as 'twas sundered)-
Under the night's dark blue,
Steering steady and true,
Ship after ship went through-
Till, as we hove in view,

Jackson out-thundered.
Back echoed Philip ! Ah, then-
Could you have seen our men,

How they sprung, in the dim night haze,
To their work of toil and of clamor!
How the loaders, with sponge and rammer,
And their captains, with cord and hammer,

Kept every muzzle ablaze!
How the guns, as with cheer and shout
Our tackle-men hurled them out,

Brought up on the water-ways!
First, as we fired at their flash,

'Twas lightning and black eclipse, With a bellowing roll and crash; But soon, upon either bow,

What with forts, and fire-rafts, and ships(The whole fleet was hard at it now, All pounding away !) and Porter Still thundering with shell and mortar'Twas the mighty sound and form Of an equatorial storm! (Such you see in the far south, After long heat and drouth,

As day draws nigh to evenArching from north to south,

Blinding the tropic sun,

The great black bow comes onTill the thunder-veil is riven, When all is crash and levin,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »