AT FORT PILLOW.

You shudder as you think upon th’ carnage of the grim report,
The desolation when we won the inner trenches of the fort;
But there are deeds ye may not know, that scourge the pulses into strife;
Dark memories of deathless woe pointing the bayonet and knife.

The house is ashes where I dwelt, beyond the mighty inland sea,
The tombstones shattered where I knelt by that old church at Pointe Coupee;
The Yankee fiends that came with fire, camped on the consecrated sod,
And trampled in the dust and mire the holy Eucharist of God!

The spot where darling mother sleeps, beneath the glimpse of yon sad moon,
Is crushed with splintered marble heaps, to stall the horse of some dragoon;
God! when I ponder that black day it makes my frantic spirit wince;
I marched—with Longstreet—far away, but have beheld the ravage since.

The tears are hot upon my face, when thinking what black fate befell
The only sister of our race—a thing too horrible to tell!
They say that ere her senses fled, she rescue of her brothers cried;
Then freely bowed her stricken head, too poor to live thus—so she died.

Two of those brothers heard no plea; with their proud hearts forever still—
John shrouded by the Tennessee, and Arthur there at Malvern Hill;
But I have heard it everywhere, vibrating like a passing knell;
’Tis as perpetual as the air, and solemn as a funeral bell.

By scorched lagoon and murky swamp, my wrath was never in the lurch;
I’ve killed the picket in his camp, and many a pilot on his perch;
With steady rifle, sharpen’d brand, a week ago upon my steed,
With Forrest and his warrior band, I made the hell-hounds writhe and bleed.

You should have seen our leader go upon the battle’s burning marge,
Sweeping like falcon on the foe, heading the Gray line’s iron charge!
All outcasts from our ruined marts, we heard th’ undying serpent hiss,
And in the desert of our hearts the fatal spell of Nemesis.

 

The Southern yell rang loud and high the moment that we thundered in,
Smiting the demons hip and thigh, cleaving them to the very chin;
My right arm bared for fiercer play, the left one held the rein in slack;
In all the fury of the fray I sought the white man, not the black.

The dabbled clots of brain and gore across the swirling sabres ran;
To me each brutal visage bore the front of one accurs’d man!
Throbbing along the frenzied vein, my blood seem’d kindled into song—
The death-dirge of the sacred slain, the slogan of immortal wrong.

It glared athwart the dripping glaves, it blazed in each avenging eye—
The thought of desecrated graves and some lone sister’s desperate cry.