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Battle of Shiloh told in rhyme - 1881


Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 3/26/2006 at 21:08:13

"Fairfield Tribune", Apr. 7, 1881

Told in Rhyme by One who Took Part in It.

[Note: This poem is presented in paragraph form, not set in stanzas.]

The terrible battle of Shiloh was fought, on Sunday and Monday, if I've not forgot; April 6th and 7th, '62, as you know, we conquered the rebs at Shiloh. The rebels they came on faster and nigher,--all who were there thought the world was on fire,--they came with a shout and with such a yell, you'ld have thought (sic) they were demons just out of hell. They came on us just at our breakfast hour, when they thought they could easily us overpower; and the cannon's deep roar and the musket's sharp rattle, told us it was a most terrible battle. We desperately fought, but down the hillside they backed us almost to the Tennessee's tide. The stragglers were there without guns every one, for they'd thrown them away as they cowardly run, and their officers vainly endeavored to make them take up their guns for their comrade's sake. Sidney JOHNSON was killed about ten o'clock--his death gave the rebels a terrible shock--and if he'd not been killed so early, I say, 'twould have gone worse with us in battle that day. Sidney JOHNSON, he was a rebel you know, and also the Union's most terrible foe; he fought like a tiger, and his men could inspire, and they fought us that day till the world seemed on fire! It was only our bull-dog courage, you know, that held us together and made us fight so. But when BUELL came up on that Sunday night, with his men all in order and good fighting plight, and there came such a cheer from the opposite side of the Tennessee's bloody and terrible tide, we knew reinforcements were now close at hand, and again we pitched in at GRANT's word of command. The cannon did roar and the muskets did rattle; O, my! but it was a most terrible battle! For the rebels were bound to win in the war, and had proclaimed it both near and far, that with Jefferson D. at the head of their band, the North they could whip, for the North had no "sand." But Jeff. DAVIS was like a good many here, he was brave as a lion when no danger was near, but when the Wisconsin boys got after him, he quickly got into the petticoat trim!

But back to my subject now I must go and tell of the battle fought at Shiloh. We fought the rebels all that day, and BUELL was eighteen miles away. And GRANT thought BUELL would never get there, and toward night he lost hope and began to despair. But when cheers went up from the other side of the Tennessee's bloody and terrible tide, new courage GRANT took and so did his band, for well did they know that relief was at hand. We answered them back with the crack of the gun and we fetched down the rebs--every man fetched his one. Then the gunboats came up and anchored close in to the shore and we knew that the rebels must "skin." For 'tween shells from the river and BUELL on land, we knew that the rebels their ground could not stand. Then the gunboats they threw a shell or two into their ranks which cut them through; and BUELL came up on the opposite side of the Tennessee's dark and terrible tide--they double quicked it for eight miles or more, for they wished to come up ere the battle was o'er. They ferried them over as quick as they could; they ferried them over in the night so they would be ready with us to battle the next morn with old BEAUREGARD, PRICE and VAN DORN. We lay on our arms through the night, as you know, lest again we should be surprised by the foe; and the shells went screaming all night overhead, as we lay on the ground with the dying and dead. Early next morning the cannon's deep roar opened the battle more fierce than before, for the yells of the men and the musket's sharp rattle, told us it was a most terrible battle. The gunboats came up and joined in the fray, and with their big shells on the rebels did play. Old PRICE and VAN DORN came up about noon--they came on the field not a moment too soon--for the rebs were defeated, completely "cleaned out." but they saved the defeat from becoming a rout. Then to rid the woods of the rebel crew, over the hills the gunboats threw their shells as much as five miles or more. O my! how the shells did into them pour! Whirling and twisting, they flew overhead, screaming enough to awaken the dead! The boats played their shells for a night and a day, and then, when the rebels were too far away to be reached with their shells, they then took themselves to their long rifle guns--their good number twelves. So with shot and shell and the cannon's deep roar we chased the rebels to Corinth's door, where fortifications they had, as you know. Thus ended the terrible fight at Shiloh.

*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s).


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