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March to the Sea(poem)
About North Georgia

NOT Kenesaw high arching,
Nor Allatoona's glen-
Though there the graves lie parching-
Stayed Sherman's miles of men;

From charred Atlanta marching
They launched the sword again.
The columns streamed like rivers
Which in their course agree,
And they streamed until the flashing
Met the flashing of the sea:
It was glorious glad marching,
That marching to the sea.

They brushed the foe before them
(Shall gnats impede the hull?);
Their own good bridges bore them
Over swamps or torrents full,
And the grand pines waving o'er them
Bowed to axes keen and cool.
The columns grooved their channels,
Enforced their own decree,

And their power met nothing larger
Until it met the sea:
It was glorious glad marching,
A marching glad and free.

Kilpatrick's snare of riders
In zigzags mazed the land,
Perplexed the pale Southsiders
With feints on every hand;

Vague menace awed the hiders
In forts beyond command.
To Sherman's shifting problem
No foeman knew the key;
But onward went the marching
Unpausing to the sea:
It was glorious glad marching,
The swinging step was free.

The flankers ranged like pigeons
In clouds through field or wood;
The flocks of all those regions,
The herds and horses good,
Poured in and swelled the legions,
For they caught the marching mood.
A volley ahead! They hear it;
And they hear the repartee:

Fighting was hut frolic
In that marching to the sea:
It was glorious glad marching,
A marching bold and free.

Herman Melville

Herman Melville's book of poetry on the Civil War was largely ignored when it was published in 1866. This poem was written about events in Georgia in November and December, 1864. It mentions two men by name, General William Tecumseh Sherman, who conceived and implemented the plan, and General Judson Kirkpatrick, Sherman's Merchant of Terror, who was normally given the task of destroying a city as Sherman's infantry left.


Poetry Corner

The Civil War in Georgia
Beginning with the Great Locomotive Chase and the battle of Chickamauga, to the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea

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Herman Melville
William Tecumseh Sherman

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