The Cavalry Charge, by Benjamin F. Taylor

Hark! the rattling roll of the musketeers,
And the ruffled drums, and the rallying cheers,
And the rifles burn with a keen desire
Like the crackling whips of a hemlock fire,
And the singing shot and the shrieking shell
And the splintered fire on the shattered hell,

And the great white breaths of the cannon smoke
As the growling guns by batteries spoke;
And the ragged gaps in the walls of blue
Where the iron surge rolled heavily through,
That the Colonel builds with a breath again
As he cleaves the din with his “Close up, men!”
And the groan torn out from the blackened lips,
And the prayer doled slow with the crimson drips,
And the beaming look in the dying eye
As under the cloud the stars go by,
“But his soul marched on!” the Captain said,
For the Boy in Blue can never be dead!
And the troopers sit in their saddles all
Like statues carved in an ancient hall,
And they watch the whirl from their breatless ranks,
And their spurs are close to the horses flanks,
And the fingers work of the sabers hand–
Oh, to bid them live, and to make them grand!
And the bugle sounds to the charge at last,
As away they plunge, and the front is passed!
And the jackets blue grow red as they ride,
And the scabbards too, that clank by their side,
And the dead soldiers deaden the strokes iron shod
As they gallop right on o’ er the plashy red sod–
Right into the cloud all spectral and dim,
Right up to the guns black-throated and grim,
Right down on the hedges bordered with steel,
Right through the dense columns–then “Right about wheel!”
Hurrah! a new swath through the harvest again!
Hurrah for the Flag! To the battle, Amen!

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