The Forlorn Hope—Vicksburg, 1863
Back in Vicksburg, the town was surrounded
With a battle line twelve miles long.
U.S. Grant sought to conquer the city,
But the rebel defenses were strong.
An advance storming party was risky;
They could possibly lose every man.
But they must cross a ditch and climb over a wall
Just to capture the Stockade Redan.
With extreme disregard for the danger,
While exposed to a torrent of lead,
The men carried their logs and their ladders
And soon painted the path with their dead.
The one hundred and fifty brave soldiers,
All unmarried and all volunteers,
Had advanced at a run while opposing cannon
Brought fresh screams to their still-ringing ears.
So, from ten in the morning 'til darkness,
They would fight the good fight 'til they fell.
A majority there didn't make it;
The remainder survived living Hell.
The survivors were honoured as heroes,
Received medals almost to a man
For extreme gallantry of the storming party
At the fight for the Stockade Redan.
Randal A. Burd, Jr.
This poem was first published by The Society of Classical Poets.
Randal A. Burd, Jr. is a married father of two and an educator who works with the disadvantaged in rural Missouri. He holds a master's degree in English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri. Randal is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sparks of Calliope poetry magazine. His latest collection of poems, Memoirs of a Witness Tree, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books late this summer.
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