ON TO RICHMOND After Southey's "March to Moscow" by John Reuben Thompson (1823-1873)

Major General Scott An order had got To push on the column to Richmond; For loudly went forth, From all parts of the North, The cry that an end of the war must be made In time for the regular yearly Fall Trade: Mr. Greeley spoke freely about the delay, The Yankees "to hum" were all hot for the fray: The chivalrous Grow Declared they were slow,-- And therefore the order To march from the border And make an excursion to Richmond. Major General Scott Most likely was not Very loth to obey this instruction, I wot; In his private opinion The Ancient Dominion Deserved to be pillaged, her sons to be shot, And the reason is easily noted; Thought this part of the earth Had given him birth, And medals and swords, Inscribed in fine words, It never for Winfield had voted. Besides, you must know, that our First Commanders Had sworn quite as hard as the Army in Flanders, With his finest of armies and proudest of navies, To wreak his old grudge against Jefferson Davis. Then, "Forward the column," he said to McDowell; And the Zouaves with a shout, Most fiercely cried out, "To Richmond or h--ll!" (I omit here the vowel), And Winfield he ordered his carriage and four, A dashing turnout, to be brought to the door, For a pleasant excursion to Richmond. Major General Scott Had there on the spot A splendid array To plunder and slay; In the camp he might boast Such a numerous host, As he never had yet In the battle-field set; Every class and condition of Northern society, Were in for the trip, a most varied variety: In the camp he might hear every lingo in vogue, "The sweet German accent, the rich Irish brogue." The buthiful boy From the banks of the Shannon Was there to employ his excellent cannon; And besides the long files of dragoons and artillery, The Zouaves and Hussars, All the children of Mars-- There were barbers and cooks, And writers of books,-- The chef de cuisine with his French bill of fare, And the artists to dress the young officers' hair. And the scribblers were ready at once to prepare An eloquent story Of conquest and glory; And servants with numberless baskets of Sillery, Though Wilson, the Senator, followed the train, At a distance quite safe, to "conduct the champagne:" While the fields were so green, and the sky was so blue, There was certainly nothing more pleasant to do, On this pleasant excursion to Richmond. In Congress the talk, as I said, was of action, To crush out instanter the traitorous faction. In the press, and the mess, They would hear nothing less Than to make the advance, spite of rhyme or of reason, And at once put an end to this insolent treason. There was Greeley, And Ely, The bloodthirsty Grow, And Hickman (the rowdy, not Hickman the beau,) And that terrible Baker Who would seize on the South every acre, And Webb, who would drive us all into the Gulf, or Some nameless locality smelling of sulphur; And with all this bold crew, Nothing would do, While the fields were so green, and the sky was so blue, But to march on directly to Richmond. Then the gallant McDowell, Drove madly the rowel Of spur that had never been "won" by him, In the flank of his steed, To accomplish a deed, Such as never before had been done by him; And the battery called Sherman's Was wheeled into line While the beer-drinking germans From Neckar and Rhine With minie and yager, Came on with a swagger, Full of fury and lager, (The day and the pageant were equally fine.) Oh! the fields were so green, and the sky was so blue, Indeed 'twas a spectacle pleasant to view, As the column pushed onward to Richmond. Ere the march was begun. In a spirit of fun, General Scott in a speech Said the army should teach The Southrons the lesson of laws to obey, And just before dusk of the third or fourth day, Should joyfully march into Richmond. He spoke of their drill, And their courage and skill, And declared that the ladies of Richmond would rave O'er such matchless perfection, and gracefully wave In rapture their delicate kerchiefs in air At their morning parades on the Capitol Square. But alack! and alas! Mark what soon came to pass, When this army, in spite of his flatteries, Amid war's loudest thunder, Must stupidly blunder Upon those accursed "masked batteries." Then Beauregard came, Like a tempest of flame. To consume them in wrath, In their perilous path; And Johnston bore down, in a whirlwind, to sweep Their ranks from the field, Where their doom had been sealed, As the storm rushes over the face of the deep; While swift on the centre our President pressed, And the foe might descry, In the glance of his eye, The light that once blazed on Diomed's crest. McDowell! McDowell! weep, weep for the day, When the Southrons you met in their battle array; To your confident hosts with its bullets and steel, 'Twas worse than Culloden to luckless Lochiel. Oh! the generals were green, and old Scott is now blue, And a terrible business McDowell to you, Was that pleasant excursion to Richmond.


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Last modified 16-April-2001