Never flinched and never faltered
Till our shout of victory rose,
Till he saw defeat, disaster,
Overwhelmed our flying foes;
Then he trembled, then he tottered,
Gasped for breath and dropped his gun,
Staggered from the ranks and prostrate
Fell to the earth. His work was done.
Silent comrades gathered round him,
And his Captain sadly came,
Bathed his quivering lips with water,
Took his hand and spoke his name;
And his fellow soldiers softly
On his knapsack laid his head;
Then his eyes were lit with luster,
And he raised his hand and said:
“Good-bye, comrades; farewell, Captain!
I am glad the day is won;
I am mustered out, I reckon—
Never mind-my part is done.
We have marched and fought together
Till you seem like brothers all,
But I hope again to meet you
At the final bugle-call.
“Captain, write and tell my mother
That she must not mourn and cry,
For I never flinched in battle,
And I do not fear to die.
You may add a word for Mary;
Tell her I was ever true.
Mary took a miff one Sunday,
And so I put on the “blue.”
“And I know she has repented,
But I never let her see
How it cut—her crusty answer—
When she turned away from me.
I was never good at coaxing,
So I didn’t even try;
But you tell her I forgive her,
And she must not mourn and cry,”
Then he closed his eyes in slumber,
And his spirit passed away,
And his comrades spread a blanket
O’er his cold and silent clay.
At dawn of morn they buried him,
Wrapped in his army-blue.
On the bloody field of Fair Oaks
Sleeps the soldier tried and true.
Mount to horse—mount to horse;
Gallop the gallant force;
Down with Rebellion!
Over hill, creek and plain
Clatter the fearless—
Dash away—splash away—
Led by the Peerless.
Carbines crack—foemen fly
Hither and thither;
Under the death-fire
They falter and wither.
Burn the bridge—tear the track—
Down with Rebellion!
Cut the wires—cut the wires!
Day and night—night and day,
Gallop the fearless—
Swimming the rivers’ floods—
Led by the Peerless;
Depots and powder-trains
Blazing and thundering
Masters and dusky slaves
Gazing and wondering.
Eight hundred miles they ride—
Down through the Southern Land
Mad with Rebellion.
Into our lines they dash—
Greeting our flag with
A thunder of cheers.
[Written July 4, 1863.]
Have ye heard of Fort Donelson’s desperate fight,
Where the giant Northwest bared his arm for the right,
Where thousands so bravely went down in the slaughter,
And the blood of the West ran as freely as water;
Where the Rebel Flag fell and our banner arose
O’er an army of captured and suppliant foes?
Lo—torn by the shot and begrimed by the powder,
The Old Flag is waving there prouder and prouder.