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Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Sunday, November 02, 2008

"The March of Death"

The study of history is one of my favorite pastimes. I love to bury my nose in a well-written biography of influential men and women of the past or read accounts of famous battles, events and ideas that have shaped society. In short, I love history.

One of the greatest delights, privileges and challenges I have experienced these past few years is the opportunity to instruct John in the subject of history. It has been a growing experience for both of us as I seek to impart my love for the study of the past and its effect on our future, while he bears with my faltering attempts at teaching. Poor guy, he's had to be my guinea pig in many areas, but I think he'll manage to survive. At least I hope he will . . .

Recently, after studying the French and Indian War, John wrote a poem about the defeat of the British under General Braddock during the first major battle of the war. I thought I would share it with you as it gives a poetic picture of the challenges and crushing defeat of the conflict, while remembering George Washington's heroic leadership amidst the death and destruction.


The March of Death

By: John Horn

Well I was there in '55,
When Braddock took his little march,
Across the wooded mountain tops,
Into the land of forest pines.

I said good-bye to friend and foe,
When our long column wound away,
from human life, the last dark fort,
That barred the French from colonies.

And after that, I didn't think,
About the step our general took,
Or all the risks that 'bout us were,
Because all day I felled those trees.

All day, all day, we labored there,
In coats and jackets brilliant red,
As scarlet as good Rahab's thread,
With sweat a-pouring down our backs.

For us 'twas chop and chop and crash,
Another tree down o'er the road,
Another giant felled at last,
That barred us from the Frenchman foe.

And so we struggled through the wild,
And cut through it a merry path,
Of rotting trees, and rotten leaves,
And graves they too were there.

And then one day it all happened,
The day that I will ne'er forget,
The day that all of Satan's realm
Broke loose on earth in one foul storm.

The bullets cut the twigs in two,
They cut our hats from off our heads,
And cut so many a soldier too,
Like he had cut a giant tree.

The war-whoop broke from every bush,
The Frenchman's gun sent bullets close,
Our officers as well as men,
Fell to the shower of burning lead.

How did I get away from there?
From fiends holding guns?
I followed good old Washington,
Not then as old as he is now.

Who led those who still were alive,
Away from Duquesne’s cruel demons,
And back to life, to human life,
A thing which fled from many a man.

But let us think of those dear men,
Who fought for king, for human life,
And lost their own, my fellow friends,
The men who died in Braddock's march.


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