Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/109

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99
THE READING-CLUB.

'Twas the last fight at Fredericksburg,—
Perhaps the day you reck,—
Our boys, the Twenty-second Maine,
Kept Early's men in check.
Just where Wade Hampton boomed away,
The fight went neck and neck.

All day we held the weaker wing,
And held it with a will;
Five several stubborn times we charged
The battery on the hill,
And five times beaten back, re-formed,
And kept our columns still.

At last from out the centre fight
Spurred up a general's aide;
"That battery must silenced be!"
He cried as past he sped.
Our colonel simply touched his cap,
And then, with measured tread,—

To lead the crouching line once more
The grand old fellow came;
No wounded man but raised his head,
And strove to gasp his name,
And those who could not speak or stir
"God blessed him" just the same.

For he was all the world to us,—
That hero gray and grim;
Right well he knew that fearful slope
We'd climb with none but him,
Though while his white head led the way
We'd charge hell's portals in.

This time we were not half way up,
When, midst the storm of shell,
Our leader, with his sword upraised,
Beneath our bayonets fell;
And as we bore him back, the foe
Set up a joyous yell.