A forty hours bombardment! Great guns throwing
Their iron hail; shells their mad mines exploding:
Furnaces lighted: shot at red heat glowing:
Shore-batt’ries an fort armament, firing, loading –
War’s visible hell let loose for forty hours,
And all her devils free to use their powers –
And yet not one man hit, her flag when Sumter lowers.
* * * * *******
And thus they sang – “I was not by chance,
Still less by fraud or fear,
That Sumter’s battle came and closed,
Nor cost the world a tear.
‘Twas not that Northern hearts were weak,
Or Southern courage cold,
That shell and shot fell harming not
A man on shore or hold.
It was that all the ghosts who lived
To love the realm they made,
Came fleeting so athwart the fire,
That shot and shell were staid.
Washington with his sad still face,
Franklin with silver hair,
And Gallant Wayne were there.
With those who rose at Boston,
At Philadelphia met;
Whose grave eyes saw the Union’s seal
To their first charter set.
Adams, and Jay, and Henry,
Routledge and Randolph too –
And many a name, their country’s fame
Hath sealed brave, wise, and true.
An awful host – above the coast,
About the fort, they hung;
Sad faces pale, too proud to wail,
But with sore anguish wrung.
And Faith and Truth, and Love and Ruth,
Hovered the battle o’er,
Hind’ring the shot, that freight of death
Between those brothers bore.
And thus it happened, by God’s good grace,
And those good spirits band,
That Death forebore the [leaguer’s] place,
That battery-guarded strand,
Thanks unto Heaven on bended knee,
Not scoff from mocking scorn,
Befits us, that to bloodless end
A strife like this is borne.”

Title:The Cream of Punch – 'Ink, Blood and Tears (The Taking of Fort Sumter)'


Publication:Bury Guardian

Published in:Bury


Keywords:america, war


This poem commemorates the first battle of the American Civil War, which was bloodless but highly symbolic in diplomatic terms. The taking of Fort Sumter with no fatalities by the South Carolina militia (the Confederate Army did not yet exist) was the first significant military event in what was to become the bloodiest war in history to date. – SR