The Charge Of The Nine Hundred
From The First Maine Heavy Artillery
By Rev. E.F. Davis
"I heard last night a soldier tell
Of what in '64 befell
On duty sent
Down to the front our host to swell
That fought Rebellion's power to quell.
"Nine hundred men from Maine were we,
As brave and true,
As hot to do,
As any ever wore the blue.
Nine hundred men from Maine!
Where shall their like be found again ?
"Two hours past noon
One day in June
The 'Forward' came, and on we went -
Alone ! alone !
For of that mighty armament,
Though still on victory intent,
There was not one
But deemed in vain,
Nay certain death,
to charge again
And catch the fiery breath
That pent up slumbered in that battlement.
"The field we gain,
And straight we hear
The Rebel jeer:
'Ho, come on, Yanks !'
They wildly cheer
As we draw near,
And all along the extended line,
Across the crest
From east to west,
Twice five thousand rifles in the sunlight shine.
"A short sharp word
The sudden stillness stirred,
A blinding flash,
A thunderous crash,
A deaf'ning and incessant roar,
While on us pour
In front, in flank,
From rank to rank,
Such blasts as never fell before, -
One minute more
And all is o'er;
Six hundred daring men and four
Lie dead or weltering in their gore.
"'Where are my boys' our Colonel cried,
As chief in command he sternly eyed;
'Where are my boys who would face the foe
When even your veterans dared not go ?
See, there is my Regiment stark and low.'
And I saw down his cheeks the big tears flow,
As sadly he directed the General's view,
To a strip of field covered over with blue.
"Nine hundred men from Maine !
Shall battle plain
E'er behold daring like yours again ?
Saw Balaklava or Waterloo
Heros more dauntless and brave than you ? "