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Poetic Reflections

Her Virtues and Achievements
Reviewed By Rhyme

On her 150th Birthday - 22 Aug., 1912
A Theme of the
Cavendish Soldiers in the Civil War
by Rev. Alfred J. Hough

(submitted by Linda M. F. Welch)

My place of honor I esteem
For the old soldier is my theme.
The nation's lov'd and honored guests,
And Cavendish sent forth the best.
He fought for Union, equal rights,
Then stole and played between the fights.
One would not care to lightly say
The war would still be on today
If Cavendish had stayed away,
But towns like these that freely gave
Their men the Union cause to save,
Brought victory to the Northern side
That Lincoln saw before he died.

Just take it in and note it down,
Out of this little Vermont town,
More men went to the Civil War
Than the town's years of living are,
One hundred fifty years today
Has Cavendish gone on her way.
But full one hundred seventy-six
Brave soldier boys, real red-hot bricks,
Exchanged the garments on their backs
For army blue and haversacks.
The fighting spirit filled the air,
You met it, breathed it, everywhere.
The river running through the place
Is one night grew Black in the face,
It got so fighting mad, that's how
It won its name, and keeps it now.
If one another reason states,
I say that many prevaricates!

This fighting spirit that won out
In spite of fear, red tape and doubt,
Was not born in an hour,--O no;
It struck its feet and learned to go
When the militia used to come
Down through the street with fife and drum.
And from the rude drill of that time
An army came, with deeds sublime.
We must not let that spirit die;
It saved our flag and sends it high.
Unchallenged now, in Freedom's air.
And we must live to keep it there.

There's Redfield Proctor, honored name,
Who forth from this old township came,
A soldier brave, a statesman wise,
He saw with clear, far-seeing eyes
The love of Country, spirit grand,
Must never die out from the land,
And gave the monument we see
To those who fought to make us free.
He knew the boys of every age,
Who might not read the printed page,
Before that monument would stand.
Their young eyes shaded with a hand,
And spell the names and read them o'er,
Then comes next day and read some more.
Look at the eagle, wings outspread,
About to soar, there, overhead,
Until their young hearts thrilled and stirr'd
Had caught the spirit of the bird
The men whose names are carved in stone--
And some day when the bugle tone
On startled ears once more should fall
The boys would answer to the call.
Follow the flag wher'er it goes;
That's how a splendid Nation grows,
In times of peace prepared for foes.

I'd like when men have been well praised,
A monument to mothers raised.
And have a flag for those unfurled
Who mould the men that mould the world.
One such lived near us, honored still
Valeria French of Proctorsville;
One-hundred one years her life-share,
Blest by a daughter's tender care.
Two boys she gave in sacrifice
To serve the flag that shields and flies.
J. Quincy French of Company "E".
Fell in the Wilderness, fighting Lee;
And Captain George B., Company "A",
Who lately from us passed away.
A mother's monument I'd raise
To tell through all the coming days
With chilsel strokes, as with our pen,
That noble mothers make brave men.

They say when Pickett's charge was made,
The General turned and asked an aide,
What men were posted on the hill?
The answer, "Some from Proctorsville,
Green Mountain state, a hardy lot.
And tougher than an old pine knot;
You have to fill 'em full of lead,
And kill 'em twice before they're dead."
The General turned as white as snow,
And said --"one thing I want to know
Before I lead my men to death--"
He said it in short pants - of breath -
"If with those mountain men renowned,
Don Pollard's anywhere around?"
And when the aide said "Don't you fret,
Don Pollard hasn't got there yet."
The General gave a knowing glance,
And cried, "Come on; make haste, Advance."
No fear of danger anywhere,
But 'twasn't fun if Don weren't there.

This is the first fib rendered you,
And now I pass out number two,
In one fierce battle, when the tide
Of victory ran the Rebel side,
I'm not quite sure where it occurred,
Bull Run, Antietam, Petersburg,
But some field where the Union cause
Looked deader than our liquor laws;
Along the Union lines each man
Was looking round before he ran,
When, lo, a certain thing took place,
That mastered fate, and changed the face
Of that day's fight. An automobile
Dashed on the field, so swift of wheel
It just shot through the wondering ranks
And cutting up all sorts of pranks,
The Rebels thought, to hear it hum,
A Roman chariot had come;
And more were coming on behind
And they just didn't like that kind.
Who gave it such wild leaps and turns?
Who drove the thing? --Twas Alec Stearns.
He gave one of his quick, sharp signs,
And backed right through the Rebel lines.
Oh, how they ran; forgot their yell,
Went on a wild retreat, pell mell!
Had never seen the like before,
And never want to any more.
If you'll believe me, and you will,
Some of those Rebs are running still.
And riders bore the news away
That Alec Stearns had saved the day.

Hail to the brave! A country's love
And God's sweet blessings from above
Shall lighten all their shadowed days,
They led us forth to glorious ways
They kept the old flag flying, free,
Unchallenged, now, from sea to sea.
They wrote in flame across the sky
'Republics are not born to die."
When Lincoln's call rang clear and far,
Vermonters answered, "Here we are!"
In every fight Vermont was there,
And Cavendish gave her full share;
One hundred seventy-six all told,
Write it in characters of gold.
Tell it to your children, tell them how
They left the forge, the store, the plow;
And with the fighting columns lined,
There were not many left behind.
Hail to the brave! Honor the town
On glory's scroll write her name down.
She did the best a town could do.
For state and nation, me and you.

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