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Posts Tagged ‘Ulysses S. Grant’

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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appomattox

Along the banks of Bull Run lived –
At what became the scene
Of two Manassas battlefields –
A farmer named McLean. 

The fighting was so near, a shell
Crashed through a window pane.
It did not kill a man that day,
But Wilmer’s hopes were slain. 

Then, Wilmer had enough of War
And he moved far away
Where battle’s sounds would never reach,
Untouched by Blue and Gray. 

‘Twas Appomattox Court House where
He chanced to choose a farm.
No bullets flew to chase men there,
In its calm rural charm. 

But Lee, outnumbered by Grant’s men
Like fox by many hounds,
Fled to the new place Wilmer chose –
Onto its very grounds. 

At Appomattox Station was
The nearest shot and shell.
And Lee, surrounded, his men starved
Gave up the Civil Hell. 

Into the parlor first was Lee,
And Grant soon took a chair.
War-weary Wilmer hosted them,
And Gray surrendered there. 

McLean fled War, but following
It acted with caprice.
Though War came to his farm’s door, it
Became a house of peace.

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2019.

 

 

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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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Somme

Another war and time, another place
About the foe he had begun to face,
Grant said, “I’ll fight it out upon this line
If it all summer takes till it is mine.”

And following the stubbornness of mules,
The Great War foes fought on like fools
Upon a line along the River Somme
Without the flair of war, without aplomb.
As if a duel with twenty paces stepped,
They stayed while many new-made widows wept
For five long months while each side’s pain
Grew even larger without any gain.
They slogged it out upon that bloody sod
Without a thought to man or even God,
With Germany and all its Axis band
Fixed on the solitary goal of land.
A solemn summer turned to somber fall
And Somme became a soggy grave, a gall
A million drank. And sobbing? – even more,
As Somme showed the futility of war.

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

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gall-civil-war

The Southerners had Jackson
And Jeb-led cavalry,
And none who was as crafty
As gray fox Robert Lee.

The North looked for a hammer,
And Lincoln fired the soft,
Until Grant, made of metal,
Would lose, but battled oft.

The rebels had the leaders;
The Union had the men.
The war was thus attrition:
It was not which, but when.

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.

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The Civil War etched two men into history,
Head, shoulders o’er the rest, two of our nation’s best –
A president and gen’ral: Lincoln, Lee.

Men came to recognize their pedigree;
They were a different breed; both in their roles could lead.
The Civil War etched two men into history.

One led the North and let the slaves go free;
One led the armed in gray, a fox in ev’ry way –
A president and gen’ral: Lincoln, Lee.

Less Lincoln, North might cave and bend the knee;
Lee knew what Grant would do, as though the future knew.
The Civil War etched two men into history.

One set a course midst scorn like scalding tea;
The other sat astride the route the Blue would ride –
A president and gen’ral: Lincoln, Lee.

Men fell; some soared, and blood became a sea
As two great men arose midst all a nation’s woes.
The Civil War etched two men into history,
A president and gen’ral: Lincoln, Lee.


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© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.

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By Johnston led, Confederates
Were cats along the way
And crept up on the Union, Grant,
The unsuspecting prey

At Pittsburg Landing where they camped –
That’s not the name we know.
There, near a church called place of peace,
Was war – Oh, Shiloh! ohhh!

The unprepared were driven back;
Two miles of ground were lost –
And men! The South had gained that day
But Johnston was the cost.

The general, his many men,
And even more the foe
Had bled away the last of life
Near peace – Oh, Shiloh! ohhh!

Night fell and Grant, saved by the bell
(That is, by troops of Buell),
Though beaten badly would attack
The morrow with new fuel.

The first day was the Union’s ebb;
On Monday was its flow.
With greater force, they took the same
Two miles. Oh, Shiloh! ohhh!

The greater loss in men and land
Upon the second day
That balanced what the Union gave
Was suffered by the Gray.

Two thousand nearly, for each side,
Received a fatal blow.
And thousands more were casualties
For naught! – Oh, Shiloh! ohhh!

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© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2016.

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Cavalry,
Grant’s Memorial,
But not Grant.

Another
Nearby, pictures Grant
Sitting calmly.

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photo by Nicolas Raymond at http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/nBfrAYS/Grant+Cavalry+Memorial

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* The haiku I write are lines of 3-5-3 syllables instead of 5-7-5.

See Haiku article here for explanation, if needed:
https://thebardonthehill.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/haiku/

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© Dennis Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2015.

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