Robert Hanna Poem

Cpl. Robert Hanna

“Crawfordsville Journal, Feb. 25, 1864”

      (From the Lafayette Journal)

      “In Memory of Robert Hanna”

” While swell the praises of the great,

  Who come in war, or guide the state,

  Forget not him of lowly birth,

  Possessed, perhaps of equal worth,

  ‘Tis he awakes my simple strain,

  A brave, an humble warrior slain,

  A boy he was – A manly boy –

  Gentle of heart, and full of joy,

  Scarce eighteen summers on his head,

  Mid scenes of rural beauty bread,

  So loved by all, so loving all,

  One thought of man before the fall,

  And marked him as a noble soul,

  True as the needle to it’s pole,

  Of graceful make, and fragile form,

  That seemed unsuited to the storm,

  Of modest step, yet gracious mien,

  So much admired so seldom seen;

  Of Rosy cheek, and deep blue eye,

  That struck each hasty passer-by;

  He was a youth, whose beauty told,

  Him sprang from natures choicest mould,

  Mid scenes of peace and rural mirth,

  That nightly graced the homestead hearth,

  This lovely boy, his golden prime,

  Was passing sweetly as a rhyme,

  When hark! A horrid thundering sound,

  That shook Columbia’s utmost bound,

  And jarred the nations near and far,

  Proclaimed the deed of Civil War,

  Enough! The starry flag was torn,

  Insulted, scoff’d by Traitors sworn;

  One Hundred times ten thousand youth,

  Sprang forth to strike for God’s own truth,

  And foremost mid the patriot band,

  Hard by the flag was seen to stand,

  That tender boy, more proud to view,

  Deck’d in his country’s suit of blue,

  And now his weeping friends draw near,

  His father, mother, sisters dear,

  “God save my boy”! His mother cried,

  “God save the flag”! The boy replied,

  Farewell my son, his father cried,

  And blest the stripling warriors head;

  Farewell sobb’d all in tones suppressed,

  And gushing tears supplied the rest,

  Two years rolled by – Two bloody years,

  And yet at home no boy appears,

  For lo! Where o’er the conflict raged,

  He with the foe had been engaged,

  On Shiloh’s dark and bloody ground,

  He saw his comrades fall around,

  And at the siege, when Corinth fell,

  He did a soldiers duty well’

  Where storming lead swept down whole ranks,

  He with a soul afire, aglow,

  That gave the banners of the free,

  That great and glorious victory,

  Yet southward swept the Union host,

  Our matchless chief, victorious Grant,

  Whose praise the world shall ceaseless chant,

  Now guides the war, bids build the bridge,

  And storm the heights on Mission Ridge,

  Instant, in long proud array,

  Stood marshaled for the deadly day,

  A host of veteran souls,

  O’er, whom the old flag’s silken folds,

  From countless standards waving high,

  Against the Rosy morning sky,

  Hovor’d like guardian-angles bright

  To cheer them in the coming fight,

  While winged steeds bear swift command.

  Forward! Boom! Boom! The signal gun

  In thunder told the fight begun,

  Now, like swift lightning’s livid flash,

  Against the frowning mount they dash;

  Which instant to its center shook,

  As forth from every cliff and nook

  Belch’d flaming fire on those below,

  And laid in death to scale the steep;

  Up, Up, The rugged mount they swept;

  When springs the ensign, quick as light;

  To plant the flag on yonder height;

  But as the standard-bearer spod,

  The foe mans bullet stretched him dead,

  The boy, the gallant boy I sing;

  Now forward first was seen to spring

  ‘Mid showers of living, fiery lead,

  That shrieked and stormed about his head,

  He raised the flag, He waved it round,

  And to the top-most summit bound,

  Like lightning’s flash, or mortar’s glare,

  The starry flag one moment there,

  Borne by that dauntless warriors might,

  Gleamed through the gloom of that dread fight,

  When lo! Amid a shower of balls,

  Pierced through the head, the hero falls;

  And downward, like a rushing star,

  That shines resplendent from afar,

  The glittering flag, we loved so well,

  Descended where the hero fell,

  But, thanks to God! The heights were won;

  And now, like gorgeous setting sun,

  As shouts on shouts of victory rise,

  He, in a blaze of glory, dies,

  And oh! me thinks an angle band

  I see, from that celestial land,

  Conduct his soul in Heavenly state

  In triumph through the pearly gate,

  Illustrious youth! thy work is done;

  Thy honor safe; thy fame begun,

  A grateful state thy birth shall claim;

  Thy kindred glory in thy name;

  And while the stars their courses run,

  And mortals greet the morning sun, –

  The prattling child shall breathless hear,

  The maidens cheek betray a tear,

  The pulse of youth throb fast and high,

  And lighting kindle in the eye,

  When o’er in prose, or verse of gold,

  The story of thy deeds is told.”



* A corporal of the 40th Indiana from Montgomery County, who fell while bearing the colors of his regiment in the storming of Missionary Ridge, near Chattanooga, Tennessee.





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