Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
July 1
The Charge at Santiago
By William Hamilton Hayne (1856–1929)
 
          San Juan Hill in Santiago was taken by the American forces July 1, 1898. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt’s regiment of Rough Riders distinguished themselves in this assault, which was one of the most notable engagements of the Spanish-American War.

WITH shot and shell, like a loosened hell,
  Smiting them left and right,
They rise or fall on the sloping wall
  Of beetling bush and height!
They do not shrink at the awful brink        5
  Of the rifle’s hurtling breath,
But onward press, as their ranks grow less,
  To the open arms of death!
 
Through a storm of lead, o’er maimed and dead,
  Onward and up they go,        10
Till hand to hand the unflinching band
  Grapple the stubborn foe.
O’er men that reel, ’mid glint of steel,
  Bellow or boom of gun,
They leap and shout over each redoubt        15
  Till the final trench is won!
 
O charge sublime! Over dust and grime
  Each hero hurls his name
In shot or shell, like a molten hell,
  To the topmost heights of fame!        20
And prone or stiff, under bush and cliff,
  Wounded or dead men lie,
While the tropic sun on a grand deed done
  Looks with his piercing eye!
 
 
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