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

Southern States: Rodman’s Point, N. C.


By Phœbe Carey (1824–1871)

LOADED with gallant soldiers,

A boat shot in to the land,

And lay at the right of Rodman’s Point,

With her keel upon the sand.

Lightly, gayly, they came to shore,

And never a man afraid;

When sudden the enemy opened fire,

From his deadly ambuscade.

Each man fell flat on the bottom

Of the boat; and the captain said:

“If we lie here, we all are captured,

And the first who moves is dead!”

Then out spoke a negro sailor,

No slavish soul had he:

“Somebody ’s got to die, boys,

And it might as well be me!”

Firmly he rose, and fearlessly

Stepped out into the tide;

He pushed the vessel safely off,

Then fell across her side:

Fell, pierced by a dozen bullets,

As the boat swung clear and free;—

But there was n’t a man of them that day

Who was fitter to die than he!