The mist hung low o'er Ocean Pond
That frosty winter's morn;
Many hopeful hearts at dawnings light,
By night would be forlorn.
The Northern tide, was rolling
Across Florida's sandy shore,
But General Finegan had ordered
That tide should roll no more.
From Georgia and Carolina,
From the Apalachee bend;
They joined the sons of Florida,
The Yankee host to rend.
The Southern ranks were drawn up
In palmetto, scrub, and pine;
They vowed the blue invaders
Would ne'er cross this gray-clad line.
Seymour marched from Jacksonville,
To Barber's, and then west . . .
In the pine woods out from Sanderson,
There he failed the gory test.
The cannon roared and thundered
O'er the muskets' crashing din;
Their franks were decimated
And their center driven in.
The Massachusetts ebon fifty-fourth,
Brave as any in the land;
They had their glory once before,
But not on Florida sand.
A wreath of steel and fire
Fringed the tattered Rebel fine;
The Yankee onslaught wavered. . .
And then withered on the vine.
Sundown brought the battle's end,
The Northern tide was stemmed;
No more was Florida trampled--
The invaders' hopes were dimmed.
Olustee's woods are silent now,
The battle smoke has fled.
A century and a quarter past --
Only memories . . . and the dead.
© February 13th, 1989
Written for the 125th Anniversary of the Battle of Olustee by Benjamin R. Gormley. Taken from the book: "Haunted Fields: A Collection of Poems from Battlefields and Broken Hearts".
In 2005, Sgt. Gromley passed on to join those men in Grey and Blue whom he loved so much.
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