SHERIDAN by Samuel Newton Berryhill (1832-1887)

From Shenandoah's valley fair, Borne on the chilly midnight air, There comes a wail of wild despair-- Sheridan. Women and babes--the old, the lame, Are shivering round the smouldering flame, And quivering lips pronounce thy name, Sheridan. In mountain gorge, and fertile plain, Charred ruins now alone remain, And carcasses of dumb brutes slain-- Sheridan. Destruction o'er that land has past, And left the fields of blackened waste; No food is there for man or beast-- Sheridan. No black-winged tempest in its ire Has caused this wide-spread ruin dire; 'Twas thou that sweptst this land with fire, Sheridan. Thine was the deed, O fiendish man! But the Moloch of the Northern clan Conceived the diabolic plan, Sheridan. He sought a man, on land and sea, To execute his black decree, And turned his blood-shot eyes on thee, Sheridan. A proper man! Aye, e'en if hell Should spew up all the fiends that fell, None could be found to serve so well-- Sheridan. For unto thee, pale woman's moan-- The infant's scream--old age's groan-- Are sweeter than the harp-string's tone, Sheridan. And burning homes, whose lurid gleam Lights up blue Shenandoah's stream, Are fairer than a poet's dream-- Sheridan. But tremble now, thine hour is near; The widow's wail, the orphan's tear, For vengeance cry--and it is here! Sheridan. The "valley men" are on thy track; They've stood beside their homesteads black, And sworn to drive the blood-hounds back, Sheridan. "Old Jubal's" face is bright once more, As he reviews his gallant corps; He's bloody work for them in store-- Sheridan. And Old Virginia's Roderic Dhu-- Brave Mosby, and his gallant crew, Are perched among yon mountain blue, Sheridan. There they a constant vigil keep, And the neighboring plains and valleys sweep With piercing eyes that never sleep-- Sheridan. Beware the vengeance of that troop, When from their airy height they stoop, Swift as gray eagles in their swoop, Sheridan. The "crow" that flies on pinions fleet, Need take no "rations" there to eat; For Yankee flesh shall be his meat, Sheridan.

Philip Sheridan