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Poetic Reflections

The Battle of Gettysburgh

Mrs. H. M. Crapo

Strange sight for peaceful stars in heaven
Through the hours of that summer night--
One hundred thousand sleeping men
Who were to meet in deadly fight!
And e'er tomorrow's sun shall set,
How many in death's embrace
Shall sleep that long and dreamless sleep
From which none ever wake.

The morning dawns, the vale resounds
With tramp of the warrior's steed;
Kindled to rage by the bugle's sound,
He hastes to the battlefield;
Glorious 'mong the Spartan corps
Flashed Wadsworth's iron brigade,
And foremost in the battle's fray
Rode undaunted Reynolds, brave,

Relentless death had marked his life,
For that day's first sacrifice.
He fell from his steed in front of his men
While urging them on to fight;
The brave defender of Sumpter's walls,
Courageous Doubleday,
Sprang into the breach! The fight went on,
Noon came , but no help had they.

At last came Barlow, eager to save
The hard pressed First, and the name
That at Chancellorsville, I've heard it said
Deserved not the wreath of the brave;
The noble Christian, Howard, was there,
Divinely inspired methinks,
When he fought, with the brave, against fearful odds,
On dangerous retreat

In Vain Wadsworth's iron brigade,
Cutler's and Doubleday's,
Stood to resist Hill's entire corps,
Scarred veterans all were they;
Carnage and death, not war, were there--
At what a fearful cost
The retreat commenced. the cry went forth,
Gettysburgh is surely lost!

The glorious Iron Brigade that stood
Full eighteen hundred strong,
But seven hundred numbered when
The bloody fight was done;
From the hill of refuge to the south
Our cannon fiercely roared.
All was lost! The fight began
With cannon , musket, sword;
The boastful rebels vaunted loud
Of tomorrow's sure success
They little knew that it would bring
To them defeat and death.

The hills of Seminary Ridge
Bristle with men and arms,
Potomac's army heard their cry,
Their wild and fierce alarm;
Slocum and Sickles hurried on,
Hancock and Ayers too,
The bloody fought hill of Round Top then
Was ghastly in view.

The fight goes on, the deadly strife,
The street are strewn with slain
Through the dusty wood of the valley trailed
The crimson life blood stain__
Fresh blood of living men who writhe
In agonies untold;
Too keen, alas! to long endure
Soon will break the golden bowl

But victory is ours once more,
They fled in dire dismay,
The rebel force that vaunted loud
That came in fierce array;
And Gettysburgh is calm once more,
As on that peaceful night
When that one hundred thousand slept
Before their first day's fight.

Source: Williams, J.C. "History and Map Of Danby Vermont" Rutland: McLean and Robbins, 1869; Contributed by Thomas Risdon Baine

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