By John P. Webster, U.S.N.
March 22, 1865. Vol. 1. No. 25. Page 4
The Union fleet at anchor lay,
The night before the fight;*
And many a sailor’s heart was sad—
It was a stormy night—
For one had left a wife and child,
Another a sister near,
And I, though neither wife nor child,
Had left a Mother dear.
For e’re the morrow’s sun should set,
And this we knew full well,
That many a hero there must fall,
How many none could tell.
Shall I be of the number spared?
Or of the number slain?
And shall I see my friends once more,
Or lie beneath the main?
Such thoughts as these passed thro’ my mind,
The night before the fight.
And as I lie thus musingly,
I had a vision bright.
A loved one’s form before me stood,
With voice both clear and free;
And whispered, Fear not! For at home
The Mother prays for thee.
The vision fled, the night passed on,
And I was soon asleep;
Whilst our vessel lay a rolling there,
Upon the stormy deep.
My dreams were pleasant, sleep serene,
No sadness there for me:
For SHE had told me with a smile,
That Mother prayed for me.
The moon was fair, the sea was calm,
When we got under weigh
To attack the rebel batteries,
That pleasant Christmas day.
For four long days, and longer nights,
Our guns at them did pour
Both shot and shell, and iron hail,
Which wounded them full sore.
Few were their shots, yet well their aim,
As many a one can tell;
For e’er that rebel flag came down,
There’s many a hero fell.
After that gallant charge was made, **
(A day of toil and care.)
The wounded said, “I heed not pain,
Our Flag Is Planted There.”
Oh, Joyous night! Our own true flag
Waves o’er the rebel mound;
Whilst that once defiant rebel rag
Is humbled to the ground.
Our joy is great, our hearts made glad
To gain this victory;
But most of all, I’m grateful that
My Mother prays for me.
* The 24th of December 1864, the night previous to the attack on Fort Fisher.
** The 15th of January, 1865.