Jeff Davis' Last Proclamation
The marylander at manassas. A fact.
‘‘Dusty and weary I laid me down
To take my rest on the blood-wet ground.
“I lay on that field with invaders strewn,
On the spot where we lately a path had hewn.
“My reeking Bowie in its bloody sheath
I hid the fold of my coat beneath.
“My head on my Minie with bayonet fixed;
In my thoughts were joy and sorrow mixed.
“Joy for our glorious victory won,
“Sorrow for we’d lost full many a one,
“Who for the South had bravely died,
And gallantly stemmed the battle’s tide.
“What recked I, though the dead lay there,
The gray-haired sire and son so fair.
“A wearied soldier, at set of sun
I took my rest my duty done.
“I cared not whether ‘mid the dead
Or living the exile found his bed.
“I could not sleep, for thick and fast
Came o’er my thoughts of the battle past.
“In thoughts I saw brave Elzey stand,
As when he called on Maryland!
“I thought how many a weary league
We’d hurried on nor felt fatigue.
“To save our cause of all bereft
If the vile Yankees broke “Our Left!”
“I saw his falchion shine as bright
As erst it did amid the fight.
“Again I heard his voice sing out,
Our battle cry above the rout.
“Now for old Maryland, CHARGE!
And then we made an opening large.
“Again I stood among the first,
Who through the Northern ranks had burst,
“Again I felt the battle’s glow,
Which warring veterans only know.
“But soon I found upon me creep,
The thing of all most wished for sleep.
“I rested well, and woke refreshed,
Like the “Old Dominion” just seceshed.
“With half-shut eyes around did peer,
And saw two Hessians plundering near,
“The fiends were robbing their brethren slain,
Who lay thick strewn on Manassas plain.
“I kept my place on that field of fear,
Until the recreants came more near;
‘‘When sudden uprising with rifle ready,
My nerves well strung, my hand full steady;
“ ‘Stand!’ I cried, in a gruff hoarse voice,
‘Stand, or die, come take your choice!”
“ ‘Oh valiant victor let us live,
To you’ll we’ll all of our booty give,
“ ‘If you’ll let us go to our Yankee home,
We’ll swear no more in Secessia to roam;
“ ‘We fought for bread, we but wished to give,
Means to our families still to live,
“ ‘For famine dark sat on each face,
And misery did our hearts debase;
“ ‘Then gallant Southran let us go,
We’ll be no more to you a foe.”
“ ‘So cowards that’s the game you play,
First try to kill, but foiled then sneak away;
“ ‘You fear to brave the battle’s brunt,
Yet ‘mong the dead for dollars hunt,
“ ‘Come now, fall in together;—tramp,
For you must go with me to camp!”