Penn State

The Pennsylvania Civil War Project/Pennsylvanians in the Civil War

by Steve Maczuga, College of Medicine

On the Third Day


The cannon's roar now has stopped
The smoke lifts slowly as shouts are heard
There is movement amidst the trees
A line appears, of men in gray and brown
Glistening bayonets in the afternoon sun
One more line and yet another
Regiments forming in the now quiet field
Thousands approaching from the west
How Grand They Looked


We watch in awe as they move east
As if on parade or review for us
They slowly march with shouts and commands
Towards what fate we all can only guess
They move past their cannon, still in good form
When soon another roar begins
Puffs of smoke and crackles of shot
Men of valor are then knocked down
How Grand They Looked


Still they move with unyielding force
Filling each gap from the cannon shell
Muffled cries and commands we hear
As more cannon begin to spew their wares
They turn in groups toward the group of trees
Knowing there are those to meet them there
More smoke, more shouts as they turn again
More gaps, more cries, more shouts we hear
How Grand They Looked


They are closer now, in musket range
Some climb the fence along the Pike
When a mighty wave of shot arrives
Men yell and cry and go down in masse
Others take their place and yet still they come
A wave of minne balls now comes
Too many go down, but still they come
Can they reach the wall and trees?
How Grand They Looked


We see a man with hat on sword
Rallying those in gray and brown that remain
They surge and climb that stone wall
With shouts and rebel yells they fall
They fall in groups of 2 and 3
Still they come but the roar from the blue is high
Another wave of lead arrives
The man who leads now goes down
Others nearby now know the result
And their slow retreat begins
Wounded are led back to the west
The men in blue have held their ground
How Grand They Looked


Men in blue and grey and brown are down
A carpet of men moving in pain and fear
What have they done, these brave souls?
Have they fought with valor and in vain?
Does their sacrifice still teach?
Can we learn from their charge?
Today, the monuments still remain
Perhaps the lesson can remain there as well
What happens when brothers fight?
How Grand They Looked






Badly composed by Steve Maczuga, March 2020.