The Colonel

As one the men kneel down to pray

To commit their souls unto the Lord,

Then they stand and dress the line

The Colonel draws his shining sword.

Then he speaks with booming voice,

“Shoulder arms my bully boys,”

Now forth they step with drum and fife

A crisp and clear, martial noise.

The boys in blue with teeth clenched shut

Come on and on toward the fight

Now the shot tears through the line,

O’er the roar the Colonel shouts, “Right boys, dress right!”

As men rush to plug the holes, more gaps appear,

Finally emerging from those trees of death,

The Rebel line, vast to their eyes

Were ordered now to take their breath.

The Rebel men with muskets raised

Squeeze trigger, drop hammer, release the ball

That with its sudden, near sweet embrace,

Escorts many brothers to Heaven’s Hall.

“Halt my boys and ready arms,”

The Colonel shouts, his sword upraised,

As men fall to the left, to right

Bullets like bees buzzing o’erhead, he stands unfazed.

On order’s shout with crack and flame

Johnny falls and others moan,

For invitation sent: blue to grey

To stand before the Great White Throne.

The Rebs burst forth like Satan’s horde,

With bayonets fixed, the blue boys stand

Ready to meet them like cliff meets wave,

Many young boys fall to the Butcher’s Hand.

While Colonel’s sword is flashing

Blue wall beats back grey wave,

Flashing sword did from nerveless fingers fall,

The brave Colonel must now journey to the grave.

The men gathering ‘round their fallen hero

Knew into His house the Almighty he must allow,

One bullet passed through his thigh,

One pierced his valiant heart, one his noble brow.

The fury of battle now hours passed,

The men bear on weary shoulders his body torn,

And bury him under tree of elm,

For they must move away ere the morn.

The years have passed, cold and weary,

These boys in blue, though fewer still

Gather ‘round the statue gleaming,

At day’s last light, upon the hill.

As one the men kneel down to pray

To commit this soul unto the Lord,

And then they stand and dress the line

In memory of his shining sword.


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