THE SINKING OF THE REBEL CORSAIR
Harper’s Weekly, July 23, 1864, p. 466.
It was the morn of a Sabbath day, Closer together the two ships came;
The air was calm and the sky was clear; And ominous silence the Yankee kept,
Blue were the waters in Cherbourg bay, When on a sudden a sheet of flame,
Where, in the shadow of the frowning fort Lurid and hot as the fires of hell,
Which guards the port, With hissing shell,
Lay the rebel privateer. From each open port-hole swept.
Outside, clearing her desks for the fight, So for a little more than an hour
Floated the Yankee ship on the seas, Over the calm, still waters flew,
When the pirate vessel hovered in sight, Howling and screeching, the iron shower;
Saucily flaunting her bastard rag, While ever resonant, loud and clear,
The rebel flag, Sounded each cheer,
Defiantly in the breeze. Of the valiant Yankee crew.
Then the drums on the Kearsarge beat, Then the rebel captain beaten at last,
Calling to quarters her gallant crew; Headed his vessel for Cherbourg town,
Every man of them sprang to their feet, But the gallant Kearsarge, following fast,
Eager and anxious for the fray, Lodged her shells in the pirate’s hull
On that Sabbath day, Without a lull
As the corsair nearer drew. Till he hauled his colors down.
Soon a column of dense white smoke Up went a white flag to the breeze,
Was seen to curl from the pirate’s side, But scare had it floated a moment there
And the booming sound of her cannon broke When down went the ship into the seas,
The Sabbath stillness on the deep, Leaving her crew to find watery graves,
And out of sleep Or fight the waves—
Awoke the echoes near and wide. So sank the bold corsair!
Created and maintained by Lisle Brown, Curator
© 2007, Special Collections, Marshall University