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.
 
August 24
Twilight on Sumter
By Richard Henry Stoddard (1825–1903)
 
          In the spring and summer of 1863, Fort Sumter, in possession of the Confederates since the surrender of Major Anderson, two years before, was bombarded by the Federal fleet, and by the artillery on Morris Island, until reduced almost to ruins.

    STILL and dark along the sea
            Sumter lay;
    A light was overhead,
    As from burning cities shed,
    And the clouds were battle-red,        5
            Far away.
    Not a solitary gun
    Left to tell the fort had won
            Or lost the day!
    Nothing but the tattered rag        10
    Of the drooping rebel flag,
And the sea-birds screaming round it in their play.
 
    How it woke one April morn,
            Fame shall tell;
    As from Moultrie, close at hand,        15
    And the batteries on the land,
    Round its faint but fearless band
            Shot and shell
    Raining hid the doubtful light;
    But they fought the hopeless fight        20
            Long and well,
    (Theirs the glory, ours the shame!)
    Till the walls were wrapt in flame,
Then their flag was proudly struck, and Sumter fell!
 
    Now—oh, look at Sumter now,        25
            In the gloom!
    Mark its scarred and shattered walls,
    (Hark! the ruined rampart falls!)
    There’s a justice that appalls
            In its doom;        30
    For this blasted spot of earth
    Where rebellion had its birth
            Is its tomb!
    And when Sumter sinks at last
    From the heavens, that shrink aghast,        35
Hell shall rise in grim derision and make room!
 
 
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