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I'm a lover of God and His Son Jesus Christ. In addition I love to make yesterday's words come alive through the republishing of good and profitable books of old. The Civil War project is an ongoing labor of love. - Karan

NOT YET.

BY WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.

O COUNTRY, marvel of the earth!
O realm to sudden greatness grown!
The age that gloried in thy birth,
Shall it behold thee overthrown?
Shall traitors lay that greatness low?
No! Land of Hope and Blessing, No!

And we who wear the glorious name,
Shall we, like cravens, stand apart,
When those whom thou hast trusted aim
The death-blow at thy generous heart?
Forth goes the battle-cry, and lo!
Hosts rise in harness, shouting, No!

And they who founded in our land
The power that rules from sea to sea,
Bled they in vain, or vainly planned
To leave their country great and free?
Their sleeping ashes from below
Send up the thrilling murmur, No!

Knit they the gentle ties which long
These sister States were proud to wear
And forged the kindly links so strong,
For idle hands in sport to tear–
For scornful hands aside to throw?
No! by our fathers’ memory, No!

Our humming marts, our iron ways,
Our wind-tossed woods on mountain crest,
The hoarse Atlantic, with his bays,
The calm, broad Ocean of the West,
And Mississippi’s torrent-flow,
And loud Niagara, answer, No!

Not yet the hour is nigh when they
Who deep in Eld’s dim twilight sit,
Earth’s ancient kings, shall rise and say,
“Proud country, welcome to the pit!
So soon art thou, like us, brought low!”
No! sullen group of shadows, No!

For now, behold, the arm that gave
The victory in our fathers’ day,
Strong as of old to guard and save,–
That mighty arm which none can stay,–
On clouds above, and fields below,
Writes, in men’s sight, the answer, No!

Originally posted 2009-05-07 23:01:00.

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A CONTRABAND.–

A soldier gives the following sketch of the appearance and peculiarities of one of the slaves met with by his regiment while marching South:

“As I went into the yard I saw standing in the midst of the men an aged contraband, whose woolly pate was profusely mottled with gray, and a gray, woolly fringe around the base of his ebon face, gave him a most singular appearance. His enormous mouth, thick lips, and flattened nose of purely African stamp, and retreating forehead, very low in height, would convey an idea of almost idiotic intellect within. As I approached, his lower jaw slowly moved downwards, and then upwards, like the first movements of the arm of a ponderous steam engine, and then from the expansive reservoir of his throat came forth a sound, and he began to sing a hymn. There was not much melody in his music, but he seemed to enjoy it as well as an Ole Bull or Paganini would their own performance. He was dressed in the cast-off uniform, overcoat, and pants of some rebel soldier; and the coat half dropping from one shoulder, in a careless style, plainly indicated an innate ”cuffee.’ He finished his hymn, and some one asked him if he wouldn’t pray. The old man paused for a moment, and then said:

“‘De good book say dat when we worship God we mus do it wid de speret and de troof, and I doesn’t like for see sich tings treated lightly. Now, if ye’ll all be quiet, and not larf, and pay attention, I’ll do de bes I ken.’

“Having promised good behavior, the old man knelt down. As he was kneeling, some one asked him to pray for the war to close. He commenced his prayer with an eloquence of language and propriety of expression absolutely astonishing, and I could hardly believe that in that apparently demented cranium could be stored an intellect which displayed itself in a manner indicating that nature had given it a power and utterance far above many of those who were looking upon the possessor as they would on a monkey or parrot, or some other natural curiosity. There was an expression in his prayer which, in connection with the request to pray for the soldiers, was peculiarly noticeable. He prayed:

“‘O Massa Lord God A’mity! have mercy on all sogers, an eem’s gwine to war. O Lord! batter all dere big guns inter prowsheers, and dere swords inter prune hooks, and make peace come quick.’

“This expression seemed an isolated one in his prayer, as having less propriety of expression than any other one. At the close of his prayer, he was asked where his master was, and replied:

“‘O, he’s done gone dis four months; he wouldn’t jine Mr. Linkum’s company, so he had to leave, and go off way down souf.’

“‘ ‘Twould be a snug chance for him if he was at home here now–wouldn’t it?’ some one asked.

“‘Golly, massa, ‘deed ‘twould, I reckon,’ laughed the sable chattel. ‘He’d ben dead an buried up in de grave long time go, if he hadn’t run off.’

“He was asked if many soldiers came there, and replied that they come every day, in the morning, and that they had been there that morning on horseback. He was asked what they were, and replied,–

“‘Can’t tell, massa, ‘deed I can’t; some say’t dey’s sesessongers, but ‘pon my soul and body, massa, I can’t tell one from t’other–‘deed I can’t. But I’se on Mr. Linkum’s side–‘deed I is.’

“He was then asked to preach, and finally consented, and commenced, making for his subject the characters of Nicodemus and Hezekiah, and commenced in a manner displaying an astonishing depth of knowledge of Scripture history, and drawing logical deductions with a style of language and beauty of expression that need not be ashamed of as worthy the efforts of many an extemporaneous preacher in the most enlightened portions of civilized community in the free States.

“As I listened, I thought what, but for the accursed, soul-destroying influence of slavery, which binds its victims in shackles of ignorance, might not this man have been. Possessed of an intellect of uncommon wealth and vigor, though clothed in rags, and bound by the rankling shackles of an unjust oppression, which forbids it to wish even to rise to seek its own level among humanity, it breaks the bonds with the force which nature alone imparts, and rises, unaided by the acquirements of art, above the common herd around. To what eminence might it not have attained if cultivated and trained by the aids which the times now afford the free man?”

Originally posted 2009-05-05 14:52:32.

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CHARGE OF THE MULE BRIGADE.–

On the night of October 28, 1863, when Gen. Geary’s division of the Twelfth corps repulsed the attacking forces of Longstreet at Wauhatchie, Tenn., a number of mules, affrighted by the noise of battle, dashed into the ranks of Hampton’s Legion, causing much dismay among the rebels, and compelling many of them to fall back, under a supposed charge of cavalry.

Capt. Thomas H. Elliott, of Gen. Geary’s staff, gives the following rendition of the incident, which he gleaned from an interior contemporary. Its authorship is not known:

I.

Half a mile, half a mile,
Half a mile onward,
Right towards the Georgia troops,
Broke the two hundred.
“Forward, the Mule Brigade,”
“Charge for the Rebs!” they neighed;
Straight for the Georgia troops
Broke the two hundred.

II.
“Forward, the Mule Brigade!”
Was there a mule dismayed?
Not when the long ears felt
All their ropes sundered;
Theirs not to make reply;
Theirs not to reason why;
Theirs but to make them fly.
On! to the Georgia troops,
Broke the two hundred.

III.
Mules to the right of them,
Mules to the left of them,
Mules behind them,
Pawed, brayed, and thundered.
Breaking their own confines,
Breaking through Longstreet’s lines,
Into the Georgia troops
Stormed the two hundred.

IV.
Wild all their eyes did glare,
Whisked all their tails in air,
Scattering the chivalry there,
While all the world wondered.
Not a mule back bestraddled,
Yet how they all skedaddled!
Fled every Georgian.
Unsabred, unsaddled,
Scattered and sundered.
How they were routed there
By the two hundred!

V.
Mules to the right of them,
Mules to the left of them,
Mules behind them
Pawed, brayed, and thundered;
Followed by hoof and head,
Full many a hero fled,
Fain in the last ditch dead,
Back from an “ass’s jaw,”
All that was left of them,
Left by the two hundred.

VI.
When can their glory fade?
O! the wild charge they made;
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Mule Brigade,
Long-eared two hundred.

Originally posted 2009-05-05 01:21:40.

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A JUVENILE WARRIOR OF EXPERIENCE.–

The town of Swanzey, in New Hampshire, is the home of George B. Mattoon, a young man only eighteen years old, who served three years in the Union army, had been in forty-three battles and twenty-seven skirmishes, had two horses shot under him, and during the whole time did not receive a single injury, nor was he absent from duty a single day.

Originally posted 2009-05-02 04:16:06.

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