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

Southern States: Sumter, the Fort, S. C.

Twilight on Sumter

By Richard Henry Stoddard (1825–1903)

August 24, 1863

STILL and dark along the sea

Sumter lay:

A light was overhead,

As from burning cities shed,

And the clouds were battle-red,

Far away.

Not a solitary gun

Left to tell the fort had won,

Or lost the day!

Nothing but the tattered rag

Of the drooping Rebel flag,

And the sea-birds screaming round it in their play.

How it woke one April morn,

Fame shall tell;

As from Moultrie, close at hand,

And the batteries on the land,

Round its faint but fearless band

Shot and shell

Raining hid the doubtful light;

But they fought the hopeless fight

Long and well,

(Theirs the glory, ours the shame!)

Till the walls were wrapt in flame,

Then their flag was proudly struck, and Sumter fell!

Now—oh, look at Sumter now,

In the gloom!

Mark its scarred and shattered walls,

(Hark! the ruined rampart falls!)

There ’s a justice that appalls

In its doom;

For this blasted spot of earth

Where Rebellion had its birth

Is its tomb!

And when Sumter sinks at last

From the heavens, that shrink aghast,

Hell shall rise in grim derision and make room!