(A Romance.)

December 11th, 1867.

The fleecy clouds had passed away
Before the bright approach of day,
And now the morning's radiance shines
Upon an Army's order'd lines,
And light the glancing sunbeams play'd
On bayonet point and sabre-blade.
Slow rolled the ponderous mass along -
A hundred thousand bayonets strong,
And thirty thousand horses prance
Impatient of the slow advance,
While o'er those glittering groves of steel
The striped and coloured spangles reel
And Hail! Columbia! lofty notes
Peel from the trumpets brazen throats.

From post to post the generals ride.
The army's steady march to guide,
And aides fly swiftly o'er the plain
With bloody spur and slacken'd rein;
And far and wide on every side
The hollow trembling earth replied
To those grim legions measured stride
On dark Virginia's shore -
And many a heart bounds high with pride
That soon shall beat no more.

The foe, of far inferior force,
Scarce sixty thousand foot and horse,
Stand watching with undaunted glance
The Federal foeman's grim advance;
And turn again their hopeful eyes
To where their own loved banner flies -
That flag of tesselated bars,
That on its checks bore seven white stars
Which waved on many a field before
But now, alas! is seen no more:
Its short and bright career is o'er,
Its light was quenched in streams of gore.

Far on the left, where rank on rank,
Kentucky's footmen held the flank,
A youthful warrior rode alone,
To every Southern soldier known,
For that long falchion by his side
Had turn'd the battle's doubtful tide
In many a dark and desperate fight
When right still triumphed over might.
His simple dress, undeck'd with lace,
Bore no brigade's distinctive trace -
'Twas Booth, who long had vow'd to stand
The Champion of his Fatherland;
Unflinching, faithful, firm and fast,
And strike for freedom to the last.

He rode a horse of spotless white,
With ample chest, and limbs of might -
That fiercely strains upon the reins
As, slow advancing o'er the plains,
He marks the Union ranks of grey
And greets them with a furious neigh -
He lists the hollow thundering drum
Which tells him that the time is come
To charge these hostile columns home,
And flashing flakes of feathery foam
Fly from his chafing mouth.
First in the charge's wild career,
And in retreat the last in rear,
And, first or last, unknowing fear,
That noble beast had not his peer
In all the spacious South.

At once, on centre, left and right,
The loud artillery woke the fight
With round-shot, grape and shell -
And loud the cry of conflict rose
As fiercely now the armies close
And vain it were to tell
How, charging on the cannon's mouth,
The fiery soldiers of the South
Were midway met in gonely strife,
Where each man fought for death or life
And thousands bled and fell.
Before the Federals charged - ere yet
The heavy armed battalions met
In conflict fierce and dire.
While skirmishers in scatter'd rank,
Extended far on front and flank,
Maintained a dropping fire -
While every ear was bent to hear
Their proud Commander's word.
To bid them charge at full career
With bayonet and sword.

Booth calmly watched their threatening course
And sternly reined his furious horse.
But when the opening cannon rung
And bugles blew and charged aloud,
His weapon from the scabbard sprung
Like lightning from the thunder-cloud -
And where the bayonets reddest shine
Along the Federals' charging line -
Where wounded horses wildly leap
Through pools of life-blood fetlock deep -
There his gigantic battle-horse
Swept onward in resistless course.
Round his invulnerable head
His reeking crescent blade,
Still scattering drops of crimson red,
In lightning circles played.
Through fire and smoke the war horse dash'd
Unharm'd by shot or shell,
And where that falling weapon flash'd
A Federal soldier fell.

But Lee, who mark'd with eagle glance
The Federals' last reserve advance,
Call'd up his veterans grim and grey,
The flower of Southern infantry -
Down where the dark palmettos wave
Ten thousand Carolinians brave
Their double column shows -
Each moment fringed their ranks with flame,
And fast the withering volleys came
Against their flinching foes,
And through the batteries of the North
Their fatal welcome thunder'd forth
In showers of iron rain.
Still fiercer rose their music's swell
And wilder pealed their battle-yell,
While fast and faster still they fell
As whistling shot and shrieking shell
Clove many a ghastly lane -
And thicker still their bullets came,
And closer gonelier grew their aim,
The Federal lines were heaped with gone
And fast the rising panic spread

Along their wavering force,
Till passing round their left-ward flank
Their own reserve came rank by rank -
New England's hardy horse
Forth to the front each troop advanced,
Each ready sabre naked glanced,
And every horse's flank was lanced
And slacken'd every rein -
In charging column firm and deep,
At racing gallop on they sweep
Who seldom charge in vain.
That swift advancing avalanche
Boasts the same spirit stern and stanch
That tamed a haughty tyrant's pride
And crushed his servile train
On Glorious Marston's swarthy side
And Naseby's bloody plain -
The Puritan and Cavalier
Of other days are pitted here.

But well the rifles played their part
For many a steed, shot through the heart
Came headlong to the plain.
And many another kept the ranks
With empty stirrups smote his flanks
Whose rider reeling from his seat,
And trampled neath the horses' feet,
Might never mount again.
Till, like a sea that bursts its banks
They dash against the bristling ranks
And now through whirling clouds of dust
And surging wreaths of smoke
Is seen the bayonet's furious thrust
The sabre's dazzling stroke.

With fearful slaughter backward driven
Their shatter'd columns rent and riven
The cavalry recoil -
A shout of triumph rose to heaven,
And to the Southern ranks is given
Brief respite from their toil.
Again the madden'd horses wheel,
Obedient to the armed heel,
And charging to the bugle's peal
They rush against the serried steel
With tenfold rage and force -
But as the wave breaks on the rock
That seems its futile rage to mock,

Still stagger'd backward from the shock
The baffled Northern horse.
Five times with spirit unsubdued,
They charged in reckless hardihood
And still the foe his squares made good,
And still the stubborn bayonets stood
With more than spartan fortitude.
And thicker still the ground was strew'd
With many a quivering corse. Though firmly stood the fearless few,
And proudly still their banner flew
Full well each brave Confederate knew
Another charge would pierce them through
For hollow was the war-like show -
No strength was left to meet the foe,
Their rifles clogg'd, their bayonet bent
And well nigh every cartridge spent.

But Booth has marked their flagging fire
And his fierce frown of battle-ire
Is changing to a look more dire
Like lion turned to bay -
For that fell smile proves one desire,
To slay, and slay, and slay.
Woe to the foe who now presumes
To face his savage wrath
When gallant zouaves and tall dragoons
Lie bleeding in his path;
Whose cloven heads and bosoms gored
Bear witness of his vengeful sword.
Where bristling ranks unbroken frown'd
Like dark grey rocks with breakers crown'd.
What though his sword no havoc made,
His course was but a moment stay'd
For where the riven columns reel
In hopeless dis-array
That slender blade of pliant steel
Cleaves deep its murderous way.

Once more the charging Federals sped
Across the rampart of the gone
To where upon the self-same spot
Where they had fired their goneliest shot
The doomed Confederates calmly wait
The charge which is to seal their fate.
Why need I tell how patriots die?
The tale has often met our eye
Of those with Leonidas
Braved Xerxes' millions in the pas