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Posts tagged as “W. W. Bays”

Gettysburg

From The Times Dispatch, November 9, 1913. By W. W. Bays.

The Southern soldiers sallied forth,
    With Lee—proud Paladin;
They’d fight the “North” within the North,
    They would, they could but win.
The “flower of the South” were they,
    From chivalries of old;
Nor soldiery of any day
    Was cast in better mold.

On old Potomac’s shore they stood,
    Undaunted at the tide;
And, dreadless, plunged into the flood,
    And climbed the other side.
Each eye was lit with Southern fire,
    Each Southern spirit burned;
Their hot blood hurried in its ire,
    Their faces northward turned.

The peaceful land of William Penn
    They sought, and soon they found;
Then shook the wood, the hill, the glen,
    With thunders all around.
The flaunting flags, the martial tones,
    Hark! Gettysburg, and see!
The cannon and the smoke—the groans!
    A Southern victory!

The dawn! and ready for the fray,
    The Northern Lion stands;
The southern Tiger holds at bay,
    Whose bloody throat expands.
The Fed’rals move, a thunderous roar,
    And Culp’s contested height,
The Southrons’ wrest; their volleys pour—
    The vict’ry theirs at night!

Another dawn! O, what a day!
    How fateful the event!
The desperate gamesters in the “play”
    Have “staked” a continent!
The Southron dares—his all he risks,
    On “Seminary’s” crest,
His miles of bristling basilisks
    Are massed for final test.

A thousand fiery-throated guns,
    Their deadly volleys pour;
But dauntlessly the Southern sons
    Descend amid the roar!
Adown the dell between the heights,
    And up—to never stop—
The charging corps now climbs and fights
    For “Cemetery’s” top!

Each line is raked with bomb and balls,
    But still the dauntless South,
With courage that not hell appalls,
    Hath reached the cannon’s mouth!
With sabre and with bayonet,
    The fearless foemen fight;
They’ll perish, but they’ll ne’er forget
    The cause they deemed as right.

Again, again the Southrons dash;
    Each line’s a severed thread;
For in the horrid hail and crash,
    The gallant corps is dead!
The day is lost, the brave advance
    Hath died amid the shock,
And shivered is the Southern Lance,
    Against the Northern Rock!

Fell many a Northern brave today,
    Fell many a Southern son,
With wife and mother far away,
    And far the little one.
The Great Revolt, whose bloody sea
    Here rose to highest tide,
Began to ebb, and finally—
    At Appomattox—died.

The bloody day hath told the tale;
    The star-eyes up on high
Weep o’er the thousands cold and pale,
    And mournful night-winds cry,
“O why is this fraternal fray?”
    And spirits of the dead,
In silent accents seem to say,
    “The ‘why’ no more be said.”

Now, from this fateful aspect turn,
    And eye and mind release;
And enmity and hatred spurn
    For Brotherhood and Peace.
All hail our country—’tis but one;
    All hail, for her we live,
And to her host of heroes gone,
    All honor do we give.

All hail today the men of Meade;
    All hail the men of Lee;
All hail—whichever spelt the deed—
    Defeat or Victory!
All hail, they meet! Brave veterans!
    Each other to embrace,
And with them—all “Americans”—
    Love, Loyalty and Peace.