In A Town Called Gettysburg

An army gathering since morn
To the west and north they form
Unrelentingly advance
Their goal of victory to enhance
In a town called Gettysburg

By mid day the tide has turned
The gray line will not be spurned
Union soldiers in retreat
To regroup, deny defeat
In a town called Gettysburg

The 16th Maine left to delay
Keep the surging force at bay
Hold position at all cost
Sacrificed, they would be lost
In a town called Gettysburg

Near three hundred men stood fast
Knowing well they could not last
Brave men amidst  shot and shell
Fighting on while comrades fell
In a town called Gettysburg

To overwhelming odds they yield
Dead and dying on the field
Bugles sadly sound retreat
Calling those left from the defeat
In a town called Gettysburg

Until the very last defender
The colors they will not surrender
Rip the silken flags apart
Each man a piece next to his heart
In a town called Gettysburg

When their mission is complete
Only thirty eight retreat
Although the day had not been won
What they set out to do, they’d done
In a town called Gettysburg

On July 1st  1863, the Union Army engaged the Confederate Army at Gettysburg. By mid afternoon it was evident that the position held by the Union forces could not be held.  The 16th Maine was ordered to “hold their position at any cost”, effectively sacrificing the 275 men and officers while the main force of 16000 men retreated and regrouped.  They were ultimately forced to surrender.  However, before doing so, with the consent of their Colonel, they tore their regimental flag and the American flag into remnants rather then surrender them.  Each remaining soldier was given a shred that they concealed in their uniforms.  Their delaying action was a success.  The Union Army was able to establish a much stronger position near the center of town along Cemetery Ridge.


About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Bravery, Civil War, Couplets, Death, Freedom, History, Inspirational, Loss, Peace, Poetry, Rhyme, War and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to In A Town Called Gettysburg

  1. splitspeak says:

    I enjoyed it especially in view of the historical background you gave

    Love, Mehak

    • oldmainer says:

      Thank you. History mostly speaks of the 20th Maine and Joshua Chamberlain and their heroics which were impressive. But the 16th to me are kind of the unsung heroes.

  2. have been to the grounds numerous times – remember seeing the 16th Maine obelisk but don’t recall precisely where it is

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