Charge Of Fremont's Body-Guard

A poem by Hanford Lennox Gordon

On they ride on they ride
Only three hundred,
Ride the brave Body-Guard,
From the "Prairie Scouts" sundered:
Two thousand riflemen,
Ambushed on either side,
The signal of slaughter bide:
Ho! has the farmer-guide
Led them astray and lied?
How can they pass the wood?
On they ride on they ride
Fearlessly, readily,
Silently, steadily
Ride the brave Body-Guard
Led by Zagonyi.

Up leap the Southrons there;
Loud breaks the battle-blare;
Now swings his hat in air;
Flashes his saber bare:
"Draw sabers; follow me!"
Shouts the brave Captain:
"Union and Liberty!"
Thunders the Captain.
Three hundred sabers flash;
Three hundred Guardsmen dash
On to the fierce attack;
Into the cul-de-sac
Plunge the Three Hundred.
Yell the mad ambushed pack
Two thousand rifles crack
At the Three Hundred.

Dire is the death they deal,
Gleams the steel volleys peal
Horses plunge riders reel;
Sabers and bayonets clash;
Guns in their faces flash;
Blue coats are spattered red
Fifty brave Guards are dead
Zagonyi is still ahead,
Swinging his hat in air,
Flashing his saber:
"Steady men; steady there;
Forward Battalion!"

On they plunge on they dash
Thro' the dread gantlet;
Death gurgles in the gash
Of furious-dealt saber-slash;
Over them the volleys crash
Thro' the trees like a whirlwind.
They pass through the fire of death;
Pant riders and steeds for breath;
"Halt!" cried the Captain
Then he looked up the hill;
There on the summit still
The "Third Company" paltered.
Right through the fire of hell,
Where fifty brave Guardsmen fell,
Zagonyi had ridden well;
Foley had faltered.

Flashed like a flame of fire
Flashed with a menace dire
Flashed with a yell of ire
The sword of the Captain.
Kennedy saw the flash,
And ordered the "Third" to dash
Gallantly forward:
"Come on, Boys, for Liberty!
Forward, and follow me!
Remember Kentucky!"
Into the hell they broke
Into the fire and smoke
Dealing swift saber-stroke
The gallant Kentuckians.
Horses plunge,
Riders lunge
Heavily forward;
Over the fallen they ride
Down to Zagonyi's side,
Mowing a swath of death
Either side, right and left
Piling the slaughtered!

Under the storm of lead,
Still hissing overhead,
They re-formed the battle-line;
Then the brave Captain said:
"Guardsmen: avenge our dead!
Charge!" Up the hill they go,
Right into the swarming foe!
Woe to the foemen woe!
See mad Zagonyi there;
Streams on the wind his hair,
Flashes his saber bare;
On they go on they go;
Volleys flash,
Sabers clash,
On they plunge, on they dash,
Following Zagonyi
Into the hell again.

Hand to hand fight and die
Infantry, cavalry;
Grappled and mixed they lie
Infantry, cavalry:
Hurra! the Rebels fly!
Bravo! Three Hundred!
"Forward and follow me!"
Shouted the Captain;
"Union and Liberty!"
All the Guards thundered.
With mad hearts and sabers stout
Into the Rebel-rout
Gallop the Guardsmen,
Thundering their cry again,
Cleaving their foes in twain,
Piling the heaps of slain
Sabered and sundered.
Three hundred foes they slayed,
Glorious the charge they made,
Victorious the charge they made
The gallant Three Hundred!
Let the Crown-Poet paid
Sing of the "Light Brigade"
And "The wild charge they made"
When "Some one had blundered;"
Following the British Bard,
I sing of the Body-Guard
The Heroes that fought so hard
Where nobody blundered.
Hail, brave Zagonyi hail!
All hail, the Body-Guard!
The glorious
The victorious
The invincible Three Hundred.

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