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salient

At Spotsylvania in ’64,
I fought and somehow lived to fight some more.
I fought near very center of the front –
The Bloody Angle of the salient,
A fingernail that tore, and torrent bled –
From wounded Blue and Gray and from the dead.

The Angle was the likely weakest spot,
Which both sides knew, so armies formed a clot,
With wave and wave of Blue prepared to send,
And Gray entrenched at all costs to defend.
I fought there and its horrors know too well;
Yet you will think it bloody lies I tell.

So massive was the steady charge of Blue,
For twenty hours we could not subdue,
Or stop the penetration of our line
Till Blue and Gray did equally combine
With shots close range and fighting hand to hand –
A horror only Satan could command.

The terror that we had to stay alive
Fueled strength to make the weary strive
Against exhaustion of our flesh and soul
To try and keep our lives, keep body whole,
Not like the thickened oak* that, riddled, fell
By all the bullets flying in our hell.

Rain reigned and trenches softened into mud
Soaked by the falling water, flowing blood.
The mortal blows were given face to face
And wounded fell among them in that place.
Five deep the bodies were, dead or alive,
While we fought on above them to survive.

I sob to tell you of this ghastly day:
The Blue, still charging, and we standing Gray,
Had fought from dawn and still fought toward the night
And trampled dead and wounded out of sight!
Both armies killed men with their hands and feet,
The nightmare that my nightmares still repeat.

I fought there and its horrors know too well;
Yet you will think it bloody lies I tell.

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The battle at the salient was a 200 yard wide stretch.

*Federal fire was so heavy and some over the confederate troops in trenches that an oak tree two feet in diameter was felled by chipping bullets.

https://ironbrigader.com/2014/04/22/union-soldiers-recall-fighting-mule-shoe-salient-spotsylvania-courthouse/

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© Dennis Allen Lange, 2020.

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