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One By One

Updated on October 31, 2018

By: Wayne Brown

This shallow depression in the ground

Has been my only home now going on 43 days

We Johnny Rebs hold forth as Grant’s Armies besiege

Vicksburg had become a slaughtering ground

We sit here on this river bank entrapped

Starving while we kill the blue boys from Illinois

One by one

I reach and feel the scar’s rough edges

That has permanently marked the right side of my face

A musket ball pierced my cheek yet did not take my life

I live to see this day lying here on this shallow ground

My hunger screams to be salved with morsel

My heart longs to go home to those I love if they have not all died

One by one

I hear the volley of cannons coming from the Misissip’

The metal clad fighting boats struggle amid the strong current flow

Grant’s Army has forded the river now and shutting the world away

We lie here in this shallow depressed ground and watch as they approach

Waiting to kill the blue boys from Illinois

One by one

We barely resemble an army now our lines in disarray

The only thing that holds us here is the fight for the cause, a cause in vain

In those quiet moments when the fighting ceases

I lay here in all my filth trying to get a glimpse of the sky

Trying to see the Face of God, praying for his will to save us

One by one

For many days I thought forces would arrive to forestall the onslaught

That hope has long since faded, lost like a dream

We will stand and fight again, again, and again though we are outnumbered

We will stand and fight and surely kill those blue boys of Illinois

One by one

Tomorrow morning the sun will rise once again over that eastern ridge

I will still be here in this shallow hole in which I hide

Weakness and Hunger will blur our minds; sap our strength for the cause

Grant knows our stomachs cry and soon the white flag waves

He knows I will get up from this shallow ground which I held for 44 days

I will get up and march with my brother Johnny Rebs to surrender

One by one

(Copyright) WBrown2010


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