Page 10:  Wartime Poem by John McKee, Company C to his father T.J. McKee


The following lines were addressed to T. J. McKee, by his son, John McKee of Co. F, Round Head Regt. P. V.


We left our homes,

Mid stumps and stones,

To fight for Liberty,

And then to camp,

We took a tramp,

All soldiers for to be.


On railway cars,

O’er Iron bars,

From Wilkin camp we ran;

‘Round nooks and crooks;

O’er little brooks;

To meet the en’mies van;


We ran on fast,

Until at last,

The soldiers rest we found.

Retreat came next,

We were not vexed.

But passed the coffee round


Our meal was good.

Composed of food

Substantial fat and strong;

Twas coffee clear,

That did us us cheer-

Good bread and fine beef’s tongue.


That very day;

We on our way

To Kalorama went.

When we got there.

I do declare,

We had to pitch our tent.


We drilled awhile,

In rank and file,

To fit us for our task;

And, then one day,

We marched away

Our en’mies to unmask.


We passed before

A man of yore-

I trust you’ve heard his name.

He did us view,

As if he knew,

That we deserved our fame.


Old Abe it was,

Who knows the law,

And rules an they direct.

His name is green,

As may be seen

By all who read correct.


The soldiers rest,

We came to next,

And had the usual round.


You see by this,

Was next the place we found.


Fresh oysters cheap,

We here did eat,

And slept upon the floor.

Until one day,

We steamed away,

On board the Baltimore.


Adown the hay,

We took our way,

Some seven miles or more.

The Ocean Queen,

You may have seen,

Did lie in sight of shore.


On board this ship,

To have a trip,

We did our passage take,

Adown the coast,

I do not boast,

We soon our way did make.


One night there came,

I dread the name,

A storm that frights me still;

The thunder peal,

And the lightning reel,

I think I mind them well.


The sea ran high,

The waves dashed by,

And howled across the main.

The night was dark,

And in our bark,

Our fears we did retain.


One morning clear,

Our hearts to cheer,

The land did come in view,

In a short time,

In this hot clime,

We heard a sound ‘twas new.


The cannon roar,

Upon the shore,

Did tell a wonderous tale.

The shot and shell,

In numbers fell,

Upon the water pale.


Our boats did try,

The rebels by,

Some shots thus thrown away,

And they shot,

Right to the spot,

And drove the foe away.


Our flag at last,

We planted fast

On South Carolina’s shore,

Were landed now,

I can’t tell how-

The land we will explore.


On Hilton Head,

We make our bed,

All in the tented field;

And God above,

The God we love

Shall be our help and shield,


In southern climes,

We dress our lines,

Our en’mies to oppose,

We here will stay,

Till they obey,

And cause the war to close,


Mid noise and din,

Through thick and thin,

We still remain the same,

The Roundheads strong.

Will march along;

Until they reach their fame.


Hilton Head, S. C., Nov 23d 1861

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