1863 – A Private War


[Note:  The following is one chapter of a larger work, entitled “1863”

an epic poem of the ‘Turn of Events’ at that time from the two major events that year: Vicksburg and Gettysburg.  Several sources have been used and acknowledged.]



Grant was now fighting

two wars at once:

a private along with the public.


The former, a man

called McClernand;

the latter, under

Henry Halleck.


McClernand sought fame,

celebrity status;

ambition, to garnish his name


to imminent stature,

and one day to capture

the office now held by Lincoln.


Behind the line scenes

with Edwin M. Stanton,

Ulysses S. Grant was demeaned.


McClernand would levy

a volunteer army,

and clean up the West


in felicitous zest

from Memphis

down to New Orleans.


The Union was desperate.

They needed a Favorite,

and McClernand was tired

“Of being Grant’s brains.”


So Stanton did grant him

the status of General,

and said:

“Be my guest, by all means.”


Grant telegrammed

Henry Halleck,

seeking his public



The actions of McClernand

and Edwin M. Stanton,

what binding enforcement

does his generalship bring?


And Halleck confirmed,

“Under no uncertain terms,

You are in charge,”


the chief there at large.

And the West

was to be his domain.


Such, then, was the fuss,

the political flux,

of everyone’s politics, back then.


But then, as today,

still, one can say:

It’s a game,

the same dirty bag

of shifty tricks.




©2013, Marvin Loyd Welborn



Poem’s Score: 2.7

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