Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 91 pages of information about Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War.

Ball’s Bluff. 
A Reverie. 
(October, 1861.)

One noonday, at my window in the town,
  I saw a sight—­saddest that eyes can see—­
  Young soldiers marching lustily
      Unto the wars,
With fifes, and flags in mottoed pageantry;
    While all the porches, walks, and doors
Were rich with ladies cheering royally.

They moved like Juny morning on the wave,
  Their hearts were fresh as clover in its prime
  (It was the breezy summer time),
      Life throbbed so strong,
How should they dream that Death in a rosy clime
    Would come to thin their shining throng? 
Youth feels immortal, like the gods sublime.

Weeks passed; and at my window, leaving bed,
  By night I mused, of easeful sleep bereft,
  On those brave boys (Ah War! thy theft);
      Some marching feet
Found pause at last by cliffs Potomac cleft;
    Wakeful I mused, while in the street
Far footfalls died away till none were left.

Dupont’s Round Fight.  (November, 1861.)

In time and measure perfect moves
  All Art whose aim is sure;
Evolving ryhme and stars divine
  Have rules, and they endure.

Nor less the Fleet that warred for Right,
  And, warring so, prevailed,
In geometric beauty curved,
  And in an orbit sailed.

The rebel at Port Royal felt
  The Unity overawe,
And rued the spell.  A type was here,
  And victory of Law.

The Stone Fleet.[2]
An Old Sailor’s Lament. 
(December, 1861.)

I have a feeling for those ships,
  Each worn and ancient one,
With great bluff bows, and broad in the beam;
  Ay, it was unkindly done. 
      But so they serve the Obsolete—­
      Even so, Stone Fleet!

You’ll say I’m doting; do but think
  I scudded round the Horn in one—­
The Tenedos, a glorious
  Good old craft as ever run—­
      Sunk (how all unmeet!)
      With the Old Stone Fleet.

An India ship of fame was she,
  Spices and shawls and fans she bore;
A whaler when her wrinkles came—­
  Turned off! till, spent and poor,
      Her bones were sold (escheat)! 
      Ah!  Stone Fleet.

Four were erst patrician keels
  (Names attest what families be),
The Kensington, and Richmond too,
  Leonidas, and Lee: 
      But now they have their seat
      With the Old Stone Fleet.

To scuttle them—­a pirate deed—­
  Sack them, and dismast;
They sunk so slow, they died so hard,
  But gurgling dropped at last. 
      Their ghosts in gales repeat
      Woe’s us, Stone Fleet!

And all for naught.  The waters pass—­
  Currents will have their way;
Nature is nobody’s ally; ’tis well;
  The harbor is bettered—­will stay. 
      A failure, and complete,
      Was your Old Stone Fleet.

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Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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