The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

II. Poets of the Civil War I

§ 7. The Earliest Fighting in Virginia

Thereafter the passion of events is recorded in the poems of the war, North and South. Bayard Taylor’s Through Baltimore cried out against the opposition offered by Southern sympathizers to the passage through Baltimore streets of the Sixth Massachusetts. A. J. H. Duganne, in his impetuous Bethel, sang of the heroism but not the blunders of that battle, the chief victim of which, Theodore Winthrop, was the subject of Thomas William Parsons’s lofty Dirge for One Who Fell in Battle. Bull Run, theme of many exultant Southern ballads and satires, brought from Boker the impassioned Upon the Hill before Centreville. In the controversy with England which followed the seizure of Mason and Slidell, Lowell wrote his spirited and determined Jonathan to John, second in the new series of Biglow Papers. During September, 1861, Mrs. Ethelinda (Ethel Lynn) Beers wrote The Picket-Guard (attributed in the South to Lamar Fontaine or Thaddeus Oliver), a widely popular piece expressing sympathy with the minor and unnoted victims of the conflict. Also popular was the anonymous Tardy George, that is, General McClellan, of whom the North demanded more activity than he ever attained. In the same cause, though without the mention of names, was Wanted—A Man, by Stedman, who shortly after had to write another elegy, Kearny at Seven Pines, upon the gallant officer commemorated by Boker in the Dirge for a Soldier. Thomas Dunn English’s The Charge by the Ford and Melville’s Malvern Hill deal with the later events of McClellan’s first campaign. Lincoln’s call for new troops gave rise to the sentimental but immensely effective Three Hundred Thousand More by James Sloan Gibbons and to Bret Harte’s The Reveille (sometimes called The Drum), which is said to have played a large part in holding California loyal. The advance of Lee to Antietam, his repulse there, and his retreat found a record in Whittier’s Barbara Frietchie, Melville’s The Victor of Antietam, Boker’s The Crossing at Fredericksburg, John Boyle O’Reilly’s At Fredericksburg, and Aldrich’s exquisite sonnets Fredericksburg and By the Potomac.