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The Charge of the Second Iowa Cavalry

 Comrades, many a year and day
 Have fled since that glorious 9th of May
 When we made the charge at Farmington.
But until our days on earth are done Our blood will burn and our hearts beat fast As we tell of the glorious moments we passed, When we rode on the guns with a mighty shout And saved Paine’s army from utter rout; And our children in years to come will tell How the 2nd rose through the shot and shell Rode with a cheer on that 9th of May And held the whole rebel army at bay.
Behind lay the swamp, a dank morass.
A marsh - no horse nor man could pass Save by one road, one narrow way.
But beyond that road our safety lay, In front rose the hills which the rebels held With his howling cannon that raked and shelled Our troops.
We lay in the centre.
Paine, Our general saw he must cross again The narrow road, or his men were lost The road was narrow.
It must be crossed, And crossed in haste, and the deadly rain of the rebel guns "Must be stopped!" said Paine.
Twenty-four cannon thundered and roared! Twenty-four cannon into us poured.
Twenty-four cannon! A devil’s den Backed by full fifteen thousand men.
Must be held at bay till our troops could pass In order over the dank morass.
Up to where the cavalry stand, Waiting in order the word of command, Gallops Paine.
And his mighty shout Rings the daring order out - "Take and hold that battery! Take it! Whatever the hazards be!" "Draw sabres!" They flash in the startled air.
"Forward! Gallop! March!" Away We ride.
We must show our steel today! "Gallop! Charge!" On the rebels ears Ring the thundering Yankee cheers! And on, like a wave of maddened sea, On - Dash the Iowa cavalry! Into the torrents of shot and shell That shrieks and screams like the fiends of hell! Into the torrent of shot that kills! Into the torrent of shell that stills The cheer on many a lip, we ride Like the onward rush of a whirling tide Up to the cannon’s mouth, Our cheers Curdle the blood of the cannoneers To right and left from his silenced guns In wild retreat the rebel runs.
And the charge of the Iowa cavalry Rushes on! Can you stop the sea When the storm waves break on the sandy shore Driving the driftwood awrack? No more Can the rebel resist the terrible charge As we ride right up to their army’s marge - They waver - the fifteen thousand men, Waver and rally, and waver, and then Our work is done.
Paine’s men had crossed The swamp while our little band was lost In the smoke and dust of the eager ride, And are safe at last on the other side.
Then we ride back! We had saved the day By holding the whole rebel army at bay, While Paine made a hasty and safe retreat Over the swamp.
We had conquered defeat! Comrades, many a year and day Have fled since that glorious 9th of May When we made the charge at Farmington.
And our time on earth is almost run, But when we are gone our children will tell How we rode through rebel shots and shell.
How we rode on the guns with a mighty shout, And saved Paine’s army from utter route.
And carved in the temple of glory will be The roll of the 2nd Iowa Cavalry.
The brave old 2nd, that never knew A deed too hard or rash to do.
The dear old 2nd, that would have spurred Into Hell itself, if Hatch said the word.

Poem by Ellis Parker Butler
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