Running the Blockade Past Vicksburg
Running The Blockade Past Vicksburg,
For many days with anxious care
We did our vessels well prepare;
Until arrangements were complete
To pass the batteries with our fleet.
When all our vessels were secure
So they the shots could well endure;
We then steamed up and started down
To meet rebellion’s awful frown.
The Benton was the first one passed
She was saluted quick and fast,
But hurled defiance at her foes
So nicely by the Benton goes.
The next one was the Pittsburgh, too,
A noble boat—a gallant crew;
With Captain Hoel, who had command
Of that heroic little band,
The Louisville with her gallant boys
Her passing moments well employs.
And with her guns at elevation,
She hurls contempt upon secession.
The Carondolet came in the rear,
Her guns were heard both far and near,
While the Mound City loud did play
To drive the rebels far away.
The Lafayette came bolting by.
The batteries all she did defy.
While Capt Walke with all his boys
Felt glad to hear the rumbling noise.
The brave Tuscumbia came behind
She to her fate felt well resigned;
But I am glad to let you know
She passed them by without a blow,
There had not many shots been changed
When we our broadside guns arranged;
And got command to load and fire
And make the rebels all retire.
The lightning streamed the world around,
And rumbling thunders loud did sound;
Till all rebellion stood in awe
For fear we would enforce the law.
Yet still we steered amid the roar,
The cannon balls came whistling o’er.
While ever and anon by spells
We gave them fits with bursting shells.
They had prepared before we came
To light combustion’s glowing flame,
And make it brilliantly to shine
So they could well their guns align.
This object proved almost a snare
And led the boats toward a glare.
Until we almost reached the bank
We all at once perceived their prank.
In the meantime the rebels saw
That light on us had proved a draw;
So in a boasting, scornful way
They cheered as if they’d gained the day.
But all at once, all strange to tell
With grape and booming shell
The Benton opened on that host,
And silenced soon their empty boast.
How many at that moment fell
Remains not here for me to tell.
But well I know there must be some
By way the rebels broke and run.
And while the scene as going on
And we were bring brisk and strong,
Our Captain says your doing well
My gallant lads just give them h—l.;
To Captain Hoel great praise is due
For taking us in safety through;
Also for courage he displayed
In keeping cool and undismayed.
Though now the scene is past and gone
It from my mind can ne’er be drawn.
How lightning flashed from shore to shore
And angry cannon loud did roar.
While all the land for miles away
Was struck with horror and dismay,
Except the boats, their gallant; crews
They felt delighted with the news.
They all deserve to have their names
Enrolled upon the list of fame;
And handed down for years to come
For work that night most nobly done.
The Pittsburgh and her larboard guns
Commanded by her gallant sons,
Done more to stop rebellion’s boast,
Than any boat among the host.
And let me now conclude my song
Lost all my friends should think it long;
To every boat and every crew
I dedicate my song anew.