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The Artilleryman's Vision.

Part of the cluster DRUM-TAPS.


WHILE my wife at my side lies slumbering, and the wars are over  
And my head on the pillow rests at home, and the vacant mid- 
 night passes,
And through the stillness, through the dark, I hear, just hear, the  
 breath of my infant,
There in the room as I wake from sleep this vision presses upon me; The engagement opens there and then in fantasy unreal, The skirmishers begin, they crawl cautiously ahead, I hear the  
 irregular snap! snap!
I hear the sounds of the different missiles, the short t-h-t! t-h-t!  
 of the rifle-balls,
I see the shells exploding leaving small white clouds, I hear the  
 great shells shrieking as they pass,
The grape like the hum and whirr of wind through the trees,  
 (tumultuous now the contest rages,)
All the scenes at the batteries rise in detail before me again, The crashing and smoking, the pride of the men in their pieces, The chief-gunner ranges and sights his piece and selects a fuse of  
 the right time,
After firing I see him lean aside and look eagerly off to note the  
Elsewhere I hear the cry of a regiment charging, (the young  
 colonel leads himself this time with brandish'd sword,)
I see the gaps cut by the enemy's volleys, (quickly fill'd up, no  
I breathe the suffocating smoke, then the flat clouds hover low  
 concealing all;
Now a strange lull for a few seconds, not a shot fired on either side, Then resumed the chaos louder than ever, with eager calls and  
 orders of officers,
While from some distant part of the field the wind wafts to my  
 ears a shout of applause, (some special success,)
And ever the sound of the cannon far or near, (rousing even in  
 dreams a devilish exultation and all the old mad joy in the  
 depths of my soul,)
And ever the hastening of infantry shifting positions, batteries,  
 cavalry, moving hither and thither,
  [ begin page 249 ]ppp.01663.255.jpg (The falling, dying, I heed not, the wounded dripping and red I  
 heed not, some to the rear are hobbling,)
Grime, heat, rush, aide-de-camps galloping by or on a full run, With the patter of small arms, the warning s-s-t of the rifles, (these  
 in my vision I hear or see,)
And bombs bursting in air, and at night the vari-color'd rockets.

Part of the cluster DRUM-TAPS.

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