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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Middle States: Oriskany, N. Y.

Battle of Oriskany

By Charles D. Helmer (1827–1879)


AS men who fight for home and child and wife,

As men oblivious of life

In holy martyrdom,

The yeomen of the Valley fought that day,

Throughout thy fierce and deadly fray,—

Blood-red Oriskany.

From rock and tree and clump of twisted brush

The hissing gusts of battle rush,—

Hot-breathed and horrible!

The roar, the smoke, like mist on stormy seas,

Sweep through thy splintered trees,—

Hard-fought Oriskany.

Heroes are born in such a chosen hour;

From common men they rise, and tower,

Like thee, brave Herkimer!

Who wounded, steedless, still beside the beech

Cheered on thy men, with sword and speech,

In grim Oriskany.

But ere the sun went toward the tardy night,

The Valley then beheld the light

Of freedom’s victory;

And wooded Tryon snatched from British arms

The empire of a million farms—

On bright Oriskany.

The guns of Stanwix thunder to the skies;

The rescued wilderness replies;

Forth dash the garrison!

And routed Tories, with their savage aids,

Sink reddening through the sullied shades—

From lost Oriskany.