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Posts Tagged ‘Civil War’

Fort Fisher


Ben Butler called Fisher too solid.
Grant fired him, which Ben thought was squalid.
He showed a committee
His proof, wanting pity.
They listened, their faces all stolid.

But news came, and streets filled with cheering.
Fort Fisher had fallen; the hearing
Was filled with great laughter
Which Butler joined after,
Concluding that Ord was unfearing.

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After the Union’s General Benjamin Butler was removed by Grant and replaced by Ord, Butler went before a Congressional Committee to plead his case. In the midst of that hearing, while Butler was explaining with charts and graphs and maps that Fort Fisher was impregnable, newspaper boys began shouting the headline that Fort Fisher had fallen and cheering began in the street. “Impossible!” was Butler’s first response but a message was soon sent into the room confirming it. Laughter spread through the room and Butler finally joined in. He concluded with, “Thank God for victory.”

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Another poem of mine about Fort Fisher:
https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/fort-fisher-sounds-by-dennis-allen-lange/

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2018.

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sherman

(General William Tecumseh Sherman)


Some thought that Sherman was insane
In early days of war.
Though at the end most didn’t, while
Atlanta thought it more. 

He mused, when he in triumph stood
Before a nation, glad,
“I stayed by Grant when he was drunk,
And he while I was mad.” 

They thought he’d make a president,
A leader, great, of men.
He said, “I’d rather choose instead
Locked four years in the pen.” 

Most likely, he was crazy then,
Just crazy like a fox,
To not let people lock him in
A presidential box.

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2018.

 

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Confederate_Rebel_Flag

Furl that Banner, for ’tis weary;
Round its staff ’tis drooping dreary;
Furl it, fold it, it is best;
For there’s not a man to wave it,
And there’s not a sword to save it,
And there’s no one left to lave it
In the blood that heroes gave it;
And its foes now scorn and brave it;
Furl it, hide it–let it rest!

Take that banner down! ’tis tattered;
Broken is its shaft and shattered;
And the valiant hosts are scattered
Over whom it floated high.
Oh! ’tis hard for us to fold it;
Hard to think there’s none to hold it;
Hard that those who once unrolled it
Now must furl it with a sigh.

Furl that banner! furl it sadly!
Once ten thousands hailed it gladly.
And ten thousands wildly, madly,
Swore it should forever wave;
Swore that foeman’s sword should never
Hearts like theirs entwined dissever,
Till that flag should float forever
O’er their freedom or their grave!

Furl it! for the hands that grasped it,
And the hearts that fondly clasped it,
Cold and dead are lying low;
And that Banner–it is trailing!
While around it sounds the wailing
Of its people in their woe.

For, though conquered, they adore it!
Love the cold, dead hands that bore it!
Weep for those who fell before it!
Pardon those who trailed and tore it!
But, oh! wildly they deplored it!
Now who furl and fold it so.

Furl that Banner! True, ’tis gory,
Yet ’tis wreathed around with glory,
And ’twill live in song and story,
Though its folds are in the dust;
For its fame on brightest pages,
Penned by poets and by sages,
Shall go sounding down the ages–
Furl its folds though now we must.

Furl that banner, softly, slowly!
Treat it gently–it is holy–
For it droops above the dead.
Touch it not–unfold it never,
Let it droop there, furled forever,
For its people’s hopes are dead!

 

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(In the Civil War battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia, Burnside sent Union troops again and again across an open field toward the Southerners behind a wall on the Sunken Road and perched above on Marye’s Height. The Union was slaughtered before retreating, 13,300 casualties vs.4500 for the South.)

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The sunken road.  The Union attacked across open level ground from the right,
suffered many losses, and were repelled each time.  Marye’s Height (pictured below) is a steep hill to the left.  Confederate cannons fired down on the Union from there.

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Did you, with ease, your blue waves send
To beat the shore that would not bend,
To paint their blood upon the wall
They battered ‘gainst, that could not fall?

Did you e’er feel the bullet’s pain
So they would not roll forth again
To-ward the South perched on the height,
No chance to win within blue’s sight?

Did they give their brief lives in vain
So you’d not have to bear the pain
Of facing Lincoln’s pressure to
Press on and fight, or bid adieu?

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The pictures are mine, taken a couple of years ago to a trip to Virginia where I
saw 5 major Civil War battlefields including Fredericksburg.

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2017.

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john bell hood

Hood battered Sherman’s men to no avail,
Gave up Atlanta, fled, and forged a trail
To Tennessee, his thirty thousand worn
By war and miles, a cob with half its corn.
 

At Franklin, Union lines were fortified,
Which checked not John Bell Hood’s aggressive side.
As futile as the clapper ‘gainst the bell,
Hood hammered and six thousand Rebels fell. 

A dozen generals were dead or gone,
And fifty leaders more lay on the lawn.
But Hood was like a moth drawn to a flame,
And hemmed in Nashville with his army lame. 

Blue’s Thomas, turtle-like, took his sweet time,
Then poured forth from the city at his prime.
Gray’s west was flanked; the Rebel line was rolled,
And Hood was done, a story finished, told. 

Hood’s army’s head at Franklin was bereft.
Now, half of half was all that he had left.
Post-Nashville, fewer feet by far remained,
And Hood resigned, his honor ever stained.

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2017.

 

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Atlanta

One year, a present Sherman gave
To Lincoln for the Yule
To cheer the dour president
In his long arduous rule.

It was the perfect offering,
And not from ease or thrift,
For William gave to Abraham
Atlanta as a gift.

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2017.

 

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civil war deaths

When brother North fought brother South
Oft in the other’s home,
The bodies fell on battlefields
In woods and fields and loam.

The red plague on the battlegrounds,
Spread by the buzzing bees,
Was still but half the total brought
At rest, by dread disease.

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https://www.phil.muni.cz/~vndrzl/amstudies/civilwar_stats.htm

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2017.

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Confederate_Rebel_Flag

The Union soldiers heard and knew,
E’en if they could not see,
A tidal wave was rolling forth
To pound them dreadfully.

The Gray began their fearsome charge
With a blood-curdling yell.
Like Furies, they came screaming forth,
Like demons out of hell.

‘Neath Union blue, it tingled spines;
‘Neath caps, their hair would stand.
Relentlessly, the tide surged ‘cross
The narrow strip of land.

Today, the Rebel yell seems lost;
We have no certain sound.
For though they screamed into the past,
No echo does rebound.

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2017.

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Fort Fisher

Boom, boom!  Boom, boom! The Union navy fires!
Boom, boom!  Boom, boom! – the Civil War’s bass choirs.
Boom, boom! Fort Fisher’s what the cannon’s see
As North tests its invincibility.

Boom, boom!  Boom, boom! Shells whistle, fall, and crash!
Boom, boom!  Boom, boom! They fall like fists and smash!
Boom, boom! Boom, boom!  And one by one the guns
Within the fort become exploding suns.

Boom, boom!  Boom, boom! The navy’s cannons roar!
Boom, boom!  Boom, boom! Can ears take any more?!
Boom, boom!  Midst shells, the fort can see (boom, boom!)
The blue ranks forming in the smoke and gloom.

Then silence yawns –
…………………………………..a bird, if live, could sing,
Be clearly heard if ears did not still ring.
A caterpillar, in his softest crawl
Would sound like chalk that screeches on the wall.

Did some slip to the ugly booming brutes
And quickly push on all the buttons – Mute?
Or did the noisy nightmare swiftly end
And all awake at once, calm comprehend?

And then –
…………………shrieks, moans, and whistles – boats begin!
Shriek, shriek! Whistle, whistle! A hellish din!
And all the demons in the devil’s hell
Were screaming, shrieking, moaning – whistles tell

Two armies of the blue to charge the fort
That guarded well the Carolina port.
A rata, a rata, a rat tat tat!
Crescendo swells! A rata tat tat!

Shriek, shriek! Whistle, whistle! They blow and moan!
Guns roar! Men yell! They fall dead with a groan.
The cannons more selective now – boom, boom!
And midst the sounds, Fort Fisher meets its doom.

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Another poem of mine about Fort Fisher:
https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/impregnable-fort-fisher-by-dennis-allen-lange/

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http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/fortfisher/history-articles/fort-fisher.html

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2017.

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quantrill

When William Quantrill, in the Civil War,
Led his gray troops, like swarming ants, in raid
On Lawrence, citizens died by the score –
Unarmed.  A battle, or just vengeance paid?

John Morgan, likewise, was a Southern pride;
But to the North, his acts were piracy.
His men would conquer, taking all they spied –
An army’s pillaging?  Or robbery?

The line between an army waging war
And scoundrels, murderers, and common thieves;
Between a wicked gang and army corps
Is thinner than a person oft believes.

To see this truth is but to know the names:
With Quantrill rode both Frank and Jesse James.

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The picture is of William Quantrill.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantrill%27s_Raiders

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2017.

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