Battle of Davis’ Mills, Mississippi, December 21, 1862

My great-great-grandfather James Barton was much given to writing verse.  Here is the only piece I have, from a copy of a newspaper clipping my mother kept.

 (Composed by J. Barton, Co. I, 25th Indiana.)
Come, all ye true-born Union men
      That love your country dear;
Just listen for a little while –
      A story you shall hear.
‘Tis about a Hoosier regiment
      I shall compose my ditty,
Who fought so well at Davis’ Mills,
      In the state of Mississippi.
The Twenty-fifth Indiana boys –
      You’ve heard of us before –
Four times we’ve seen the Elephant
      And often heard it roar;
We are the boys that did the work
      And kept the Rebels back;
We wouldn’t let them cross the creek,
      Nor yet the railroad track.
It was in last December,
      Upon the twentieth day,
The Rebels they took Holly Springs
      And drove our men away;
As soon as we did get the news
      That Holly Springs was gone,
We set to work and built a fort,
      Knowing to us they’d come.
It was upon the twenty-first,
      About the hour of one,
The Rebels came five thousand strong,
      And tried to make us run.
They thought to find us napping,
      But it was a great mistake;
For when they came within our reach
      They found us wide awake.
Two hundred twenty strong were we,
      And that was few, you know,
Against five thousand mounted men,
      and they a daring foe.
Three times they tried to charge on us,
      Although it was not sweet,
Each time they tried they were repulsed,
      So then they did retreat.
For four long hours we fought them,
      We fought most manfully,
‘Gainst fifteen times our number
      in men we could not see.
Then they finally concluded
      For them there was no show,
So they turned their backs upon us
      And away from us did go.
Five slightly wounded was our loss
      But that was scarcely any
For four hours’ fighting with the Rebs,
      In which they had so many.
Three hundred men the Rebels lost,
      As near as I can tell,
For they left many killed and wounded
      On the field just where they fell.
We are not always sleeping
      Though we sometimes shut our eyes.
The Rebels they need never think
      To take us by surprise;
For we keep too good a look-out
      For them and all their train;
So if they are not satisfied
      Just let them come again!
So now, kind friends, I will conclude
      And end my little ditty
About our fight at Davis’ Mills
      In the state of Mississippi.
I think I’ve told you nearly all
      About our glorious fight,
So, kind friends, for the present
      I will bid you all good-night.
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1 Response to Battle of Davis’ Mills, Mississippi, December 21, 1862

  1. Amy Burgess says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! My great-great grandfather, William Dailey, was also in the 25th Indiana Infantry, Company A, and he was injured in this battle, a wound to his left leg below the knee which never fully healed (the result of which he died from in 1880). This is a wonderful poem, from a first-hand account. 🙂

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