Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

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A Turner Bugler, 2004

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The Civilians at Bull’s Run.


July/August 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, August 2, 1861.


Have you heard of the story so lacking in glory,
About the civilians who went to the fight,
With everything handy, from sandwich to brandy,
To fill their broad stomachs and make them all tight.

There were bulls from our State street, and cattle from Wall street,
And members of Congress to see the great fun;
Newspaper reporters (some regular sporters,)
On a beautiful Sunday went to Bull’s Run.

Provided with passes as far as Manassas,
The portly civilians rode jolly along,
Till the sound of the battle, the roar and the rattle
Of cannon and musket drowned laughter and song.

Their hearts were all willing to witness the killing,
When the jolly civilians had chosen their ground.
They drank and they nibbled—reporters they scribbled,
While shot from the cannon were flying around.

But nearer the rattle and storm of the battle,
Approached the civilians who came to a show;
The terrible thunder filled them with wonder
And trembling, and quaking with fear of the foe.

The hell’s-egg-shells flying, the groans of the dying,
Soon banished their pleasure and ruined their fun;
There was terrible slaughter—blood ran like water
When civilians were picnicking down at Bull’s Run.

Their forms Aldermanic are shaken with panic,
When the “Black Horse” sweep down like a cloud on the plain;
They run helter-skelter, their fat bodies swelter—
They fly from the field thickly strewn with the slain.

Oh! save me from their rage; Oh! give me my carriage!
The civilians cry out at the sound of each gun;
No longer they’re frisky with brandy and whisky,
No longer they seek for a fight at Bull’s Run.

Did they come down there balmy, to stampede the army?
It would seem so, for how like a Jehu they drive!
O’er the dead and the wounded their vehicles bounded,
They caring for naught but to get home alive.

For the sharp desolation that struck through the nation,
We hold to account the civilians and—rum!
When our soldiers next go to battle the foe,
May our portly civilians be kept here at home.

Boston Herald