Yankee Gettysburg poetry

It was the languid hour of noon,

When all the birds were out of tune,

And nature in a sultry swoon,

            In pleasant Pennsylvania!


When—sudden o’er the slumbering plain,

Red flashed the battle’s fiery rain—

The volleying cannon shook again

            The hills of Pennsylvania!


Beneath that curse of iron hail,

That threshed the plain with flashing flail,

Well might the stoutest soldier quail,

            In echoing Pennsylvania!


Then, like a sudden summer rain,

Storm driven o’er the darkened plain,—

They burst upon our ranks and main,

            In startled Pennsylvania!


We felt the old ancestral thrill,

From sire to son, transmitted still

And fought for freedom with a will,

            In pleasant Pennsylvania!


The breathless shock—the maddened toil,

The sudden clinch—the sharp recoil—

And we were masters of the soil,

            In bloody Pennsylvania!


To Westward fell the beaten foe,—

The growl of battle, hoarse and low

Was heard anon—but dying slow,

            In ransomed Pennsylvania!


Sou’westward, with the sinking sun,

The flash of battle, dense and dun,

Flashed into fire—and all was won

            In joyful Pennsylvania!


But ah!—the heaps of loyal slain!

The bloody toil!—the bitter pain!

For those who shall not stand again,

            In pleasant Pennsylvania!


Back through the verdant valley lands,

Fast fled the foe, in frightened bands,

With broken swords and empty hands,

            Out of Pennsylvania!


Gilbert Adams Hays, Under the Red Patch, The Sixty-third Regiment
Pennsylvania Volunteers
1861—1864 (Pittsburgh: Regimental Association, 1908).

Categories: Civil War poetry, Gettysburg | Leave a comment

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