CUSTER'S LAST CHARGE
(THE LAST FIERCE CHARGE)
Sung by: J. Don Stark
Recorded in Miller, AR, 6/23/53
Click here to listen to the original recording
Two soldiers drew their rein
With a parting look and a touch of their hands;
They might never meet again.
One had blue eyes and curly hair;
He was nineteen but a month ago--
Had red on his cheeks and down on his chin--
He was only a boy, you know.
The other was taller, stern, and proud;
His faith in this world were dim.
He only trusted the more in her
Who was all this world to him.
They'd rode together for many a day,
Had marched for many a mile.
They'd always met their foe 'til now
With a calm and a hopeful smile.
But now they looked in each other's face
With a gaze of ghostly gloom.
The tall dark man was the first to speak;
Says, "Charles, my hour has come,
But we will ride up the hill together,
And you will ride back alone.
Oh, promise me, Charles, some trouble to take
For me when I am gone.
"Upon my breast you'll find her face--
I'll wear it to the fight--
With dark blue eyes and curly hair.
Like thine, it is morning light.
This morning light is gladness to me
In this hour of lonely gloom,
But little cared I for the frown of fate
When she promised to be my own.
"Oh, write to her, Charles, when I am gone;
Send back this fair, fond face,
And tell her gently how I died
And where is my resting place.
Tell her that I will wait for her
In the borderland between
Her heaven and earth until she comes.
It won't be long, I ween."
The blue eyes of the boy were filled with tears;
His voice grew low with pain.
"I'll do your bidding, comrade dear,
If I ride back again.
But if you ride back and I'm left there,
You'll do as much for me.
I've a mother at home must hear the news.
Oh, write to her tenderly.
"She's praying at home like a weeping saint,
Her fond face wet with tears.
Her heart will be broken when she hears I am dead.
I'll see her no more, I fear.
Among the ones she's loved so well,
She's buried a husband and son,
And I was the last to my country's call,
So she cheered and sent me on."
Just then the order came to charge;
An instant hand touched hand.
They answered it, and on they went,
This brave, devoted band.
And on they went to the top of the hill,
Where rebels with shot and shell
And rifle fire poured into their ranks
And jarred them as they fell.
But yet they reached that night the height;
The height was so hard to win.
And those that death had kindly spared,
Rode slowly back again.
But among the ones that were left behind
Was the boy with the curly hair,
And the dark tall man that rode by his side
In death lay sleeping there.
No one to tell the blue-eyed girl
The words that her lover'd said,
Or the mother at home like a weeping saint
When she heard that her boy was dead.
May no more sorrow come to her,
But soothe and soften her pain,
Until she crosses the river of death,
And stands by his side again.
Also found in Randolph, Vol. II, #235, "That Last Fierce Fight"; Brown, Vol. II, #231, "The Last Fierce Charge"; Belden, p. 383, "The Last Fierce Charge."