Chapter 14

by Christopher Rudolph © 2015

Chapter 14 – This poem, Longstreet Forbodes, focuses on Longstreet’s thoughts on the night of July 1st. He is very concerned about the uphill Confederate attack that will occur on July 2nd. He does not agree with Robert E. Lee’s battle strategy.

220px-James_Longstreet General James Longstreet

Chapter 14 – Longstreet Forebodes – Night of July 1st


Just after dark

From Gettysburg Longstreet rode

Back to his troops and headquarters

On the Cashtown Road (Chambersburg Pike)


He had ridden ahead

Of his troops that day

To view the field of battle

To scout and survey


He passed a wagon hospital

Saw bloody white limbs piled high

“Is this what victory looks like?”

He heard screams, groans, cries


He continued to ride on

Saw a strange dark mound

Many dead horses

Piled on the ground


He gazed back south of Gettysburg

Stared at that hill now black

In the morning for sure

Lee would order an attack


It was a curse to see so clearly

He could see it all play out

Thousands dying tomorrow

For him there was no doubt


He had tried to explain to Lee

There was another way

Turn the enemy position and deploy south

To fight another day


The Rebels were on enemy soil

The Yankees could not hold back

Put Rebels between them and Washington

They certainly would attack


Longstreet believed it wise

To fight a defensive war

From high ground of one’s choosing

Then victory will be yours


But Lee wouldn’t have it

“No, the enemy is there

I am going to attack him there”

For warfare here they must prepare


He rode now slumped forward

Head down filled with gloom

Hat hung over eyes

For he could sense the doom


Tomorrow morning they would attack

An uphill frontal assault

Couldn’t change Lee’s mind

Just something he couldn’t halt


Go to Chapter 15

What do you think of this poem?