The Colored Soldier

Image from The USCT Chronicle

“For the Union.”

The Colored Soldier.
—–
BY REV. S.E.M.
—–
Loud o’er the haughty South, pillaged and torn,
Rang out the battle cry to Afric’s born;
Up from the slaver’s lash, bloody and keen
Up from the bed of woe, life to redeem,
Sprang the dark ranks at Columbia’s call,
Daring to save Liberty — or fall.

Up from their gory paths, beaten and scarred,
Out from their cheerless homes; scorning regard,
Craving but freedom to bare their dark breasts,
To triumph or die, e’er their saber should rest,
On rushed the slave-bands from tyranny’s van,
On from the homes where man is not man.

Off to the field of strife, hopeful and brave,
Off to the rest of a patriot’s grave,
Steadily, fearlessly, stearnly they trod,
Trusting for courage to Liberty’s God,
Swearing to purchase the boon of the free,
Shouting, “on to death or victory!”

Up to fire cannon’s mouth, gladly they went,
Over the slain “in red burial blent,”
Into the fangs of death, manfully strode,
Blood of the white and black, fearfully flowed,
Mingled and gurgled in one crimson stream,
And swords of bond and free mingled their gleam.

Hearts of one purpose, and men of one mind,
Thoughts of one prospect and strokes of one kind,
Visions of light neath the same banner’s blue,
Clad in the same garb of a Nation true,
Evermore true to the “Union” and Right,
True to the black man and true to the white.

Bleeding and fighting and dying they fell
How many and true, the red records tell,
Fell in the hope that the nation was true,
True to her free ones and her shackled too,
Breathed out their lives that their children might live,
For the rights that a grateful land can give.

Sweet o’er Columbia hills, lonly and bare,
Mounted the sun of Peace, cloudless and fair,
Back from the cannon’s mouth, victory crowned,
Came on the white and black o’er many a mound,
Came on, with their armless and legless frames,
White men and black men had suffered the same.

Image from “Freedom Fighters”

Loud from the lip, of men, pealed the glad strain,
“Long live Columbia,” triumphant again,
On the broad brow of the white chieftan placed,
The laurel of fame from a thankful race,
While back to his hut the black hero goes,
Unnoticed, unhonored, to his repose.

Far to the field of blood, gladly he went,
To where the ballot-box was torn and rent,
Like the sons of Eli, about the Ark,
He fought beside it when the night was dark;
He stood between it and the traitor’s steel,
He struck and bruised the bold oppressor’s heel.

Down by its sacred place, humbly bending,
Down with a tearful heart, of rings blending,
Glad that to Freedom there lives a strong shield,
Glad that the ballot a black man may wield,
When lo! proud Columbia spurns her black son
From altars and rights which his valor had won.

Wide were the gates she had opened to him,
Broad were the fields that lay peaceful within,
Bright was the change from the scourge to the crown,
And gladsome the life-strains that echoed down,
But, when from his hands the chains she had flung
It changed; and o’er all dead barrenness hung.

Shame, shame on Columbia, great thought she be,
To fetter minds and hearts, while hands are free,
To grant to her traitor offspring a voice,
While her dark-browed heroes cannot rejoice,
Look well to thy bulwarks, for God is true,
The blackman’s his child and brother to you.

The Union (Georgetown, Delaware) Jul 21, 1865

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