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oh impetuous procession

22 Jul

Oh impetuous procession!sickles advance
Oh splendid advance!
Placed, you were, on that gentle slope
good ground
linked, connected like
interlocking shield.

But rising before you,
from that orchard stared down
in imagination fired by roiling memories
unlimbered guns
and unleashed furies
revealing a devil to pay.

No time to consult,
No time for orders.

Now.
Forward!
They marched
bugles blaring,
banners waving,
forward to higher ground
in their thousands they marched
shield unhitched
line undone

in the air.

Do we march out too?
Do we join them there?

No, the magnificent voice intones.
Wait.
Tumble back, yes, they will,
and soon.
Wait.

And then, on cue,
rebel yell shrieks
blue line braces
and amidst shot and shell
the stubborn tumbling starts.

We do this.
Disregarding good ground
forward we fly!
to imagined higher ground;
caution flies too, other voices be damned!
forward we fly!

‘til we find our own devil to pay
Oh impetuous advance!
More than a leg
will we perhaps this time
lose
as our own stubborn tumbling starts. . .

9PeachOrch

On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, Daniel Sickles, in command of some 12,000 men in the III Corps of the Union Army of the Potomac, without orders advanced his men a mile forward of the Union position just prior to an all-out Confederate assault. His exposed corps suffered close to 50% casualties and Sickles lost his leg.

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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Poetry

 

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