“1863” 9. Un-Vexed!

 

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

an epic poem on the ‘Turn of Events’ at that time,  from two major events

of that year: Vicksburg and Gettysburg.

Several sources have been used and are acknowledged.]

 

 

~

“When the Lord of Creation

had finished his Acts,

He had on His hands

a heap of large scraps.

These He then dumped

at Vicksburg, in heaps,”

So heard by someone,

of a soldier once speak.

 

And this was the place

now under attack:

Twenty-Thousand Rebels,

on a seven mile tract.

 

Two failed attempts,

thrown by default,

after Gant’s blitzkrieg,

now two failed assaults.

 

One bloodied nose

and Grant would repose

to settle down now,

entrench and besiege.

 

The fortress of Vicksburg,

before them arose.

The white whale of Ahab,

the Troy of the West.

Six months at war-work

comes down now to this.

 

The first two assaults,

was all there would be –

The first cost a thousand;

the second cost three.

 

Bad! Bad! Damn Bloody Bad!

for the Army of the Tennessee.

 

The dead and the dying

were left afield lying,

foremost to the city,

affronting the citadel.

 

For two days – Two Days! –

Two days and counting,

the decadence of death

rising and mounting.

 

Two days would pass

before the great city,

when the commander

of Rebels rising on Pity,

set forth a request:

 

“In the name of our God!

and all of Humanity!

A Truce for two hours

should surely be had,

to honor the Fallen

around the vicinity.

 

In God’s name, the same,

for all of the Dead:

A makeshift grave

and prayers for them said!”

 

The scuttlebutt grew

where Grant would accrue

the moniker himself

as “The Butcher.”

 

Of little known facts

that were known about Grant,

there are but only a few.

But, of that the ensanguined

and cadaverous view

repulsed the man greatly –

this very few knew.

 

In “The Business,” he called it,

War was not neat.

Not pompous, nor gallant;

not glory, but bale.

And Sherman, his friend,

would often repeat:

“No glory to War,

for War is all Hell.”

 

Time now the watchword,

how long would it take

this Troy of the West

to last before break.

 

General Joe Johnston

had gathered his men,

but Grant said, “There’s no one

who wants to go in.

Those in there now,

they want to come out.

Should Johnston arrive,

allow him go in.

Then we shall have,

a doubled prison.”

 

The whole month of June

the Union force loomed

around and about

the redoubt marooned.

 

How long could they last?

How strong was their nerve?

It was anyone’s guess,

but more than deserved,

as Grant barraged,

besieged and preserved

his siege of surround

all around the interred.

 

No one would show

to save the poor fortress;

no one would come

to brave Grant’s taut forces,

which by now had doubled,

doubled in size.

All for the fall

of the city in trouble.

 

Vicksburg was now

the grand prize.

 

By now, the foodstuff

within was dried,

down to the mule meat,

some canine surprise.

 

Poor sanitation,

disease on the rise.

No death done in battle,

but disease, how they died.

 

Two more weeks

weakly went by,

’til surrender thus came

on the Fourth of July.

 

The Father of Waters

was finally un-vexed,

with the begin to the end

of the Confederate West.

~

 

 

©2013, Marvin Loyd Welborn

19 August 2013

 

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