To Chattanooga's vale, where flows the winding Tennessee,
And rugged Lookout sentinels heroic dust of sixty-three--
Where Chickamauga's gory field re-echoed to the cannon's roar,
And shot and shell through serried ranks a bloody pathway tore,
And mountain slope and wood and field were lumined with the blaze
Of musketry from Blue and Gray in those September days--
They come again, the gallant few, survivors of the fray,
Their breasts with hallowed memories filled, but passion passed away!
The fleeting years have silvered o'er the locks of those who live,
And turned to dust the sleeping ones who to their flag did give
The last drop of the crimson tide from ghastly wounds poured out
Amid the conflict's awful din and wild resounding shout;
And yet it seems but yesterday, or like a passing dream,
When marshaled on the mountain's side they saw the bayonets gleam,
As for a moment from the vale the battle's smoke was lifted,
And circling o'er the Blue and Gray in lurid clouds it drifted!
And now upon the blood-soaked ground once more they stand,
Where the unyielding "Rock of Chickamauga" held command,
And strewed the field with heaps of the assaulting Gray
Who dauntless rushed where lines of Blue refused to give the way;
And bloody scenes crowd thick and fast upon the memory here
To fill the heart with grief and dim the eye with misty tear;
And spanning Time's chasm with the imagination's bridge,
They hear the thunder of the guns from Missionary Ridge!
And there the pyramid of balls is reared to tell
And mark the hallowed spot where tuneful genius fell;
The vagrant winds around it now seem sighing
The requiem sad of "I am dying, Egypt, dying!"
Prophetic words by gallant LYTLE penned--
A laurel wreath with immortelles to blend!
A halo hovers round about this gifted son,
Whose deathless name with pen and sword was nobly won!
They come to mark with tokens of their love and pride
Each consecrated spot where bleeding heroes fell and died,
And gaze with reverence on some gently swelling mound
Which hides the dust of comrade in his sleep profound;
To picture to the mind--with melancholy pleasure trace
The unforgotten outlines of a dear, remembered face,
Which passed from loved ones and from life away,
A victim on the bloody field of fratricidal fray!