A Stockport Power Loom Weaver at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Good leg, thou wast a faithful friend,
And truly hast thy duty done;
I thank thee most that to the end
Thou did’st not let the body run.
Strange paradox, that in the flight,
When I of thee was thus bereft,
I lost my left leg for the right,
And yet the right’s the one that’s left.
But while the sturdy stump remains,
I may be able yet to patch it;
For even now I have taken pains
To get another leg to match it.

Title:A Stockport Power Loom Weaver at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Author:William Dean Smith

Publication:Manchester Examiner

Published in:Manchester

Date:January 14th 1864

Keywords:humour, war


This darkly humorous poem written was by a Stockport millworker who emigrated to America then volunteered to fight for the Union. It concerns the loss of his leg in battle but the tone is cheerful and resigned. This poem was published eighteen months after the meeting at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall which declared the city’s support for the union cause and emancipation of the slaves, which was followed by Lincoln’s famous letter to the city in January 1863. The poem is preceded by this note: [Letter from a Stockport native emigrated to US and enlisted in the Northern Army, some details of the battle of Gettysburg followed by: “I have written these lines on the loss of my leg:-“] SR