Category Archives: Stars & Stripes



George Washington
John Adams
Samuel Adams
Benjamin Franklin
Martha Washinton
Betty Judge
Ona Judge
Dolly Madison
John McGraw
John Souissat
Paul Jennings
Charles Carrol
Bridget Turner
Nat Turner
Ceasar Jones
Zack Edgefield
Francis Key
Bridget Turner
Nat Turner
Ceasar Jones
Zack Edgefield
Andrew Jackson
Chief Junaluska
John Ross
Bart Boone
Logan Morgan
Wesley Wyatt
Busty Adams
Preacher Virgil
Presiding Officer of the Senate
William Lloyd Garrison
Abraham Lincoln
William H Seward
V.P. Hannibal Hamlin
Salmon P Chaise
General Robert E Lee
Stonewall Jackson
Walter H Taylor
James Longstreet
Joseph Rodman Drake


Stars & Stripes Forever
Amazing Grace
Yankee Doodle
Star Spangl’d Banner
Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen
The Arkansas Traveller
A Native American Pow-wow
Banks of Sacramento
Wagon Wheel
Dear Evelina
The Southern Wagon
The Battle Hymn Of The Republic
The Star-Spang’d Banner

Instrumental: The Stars & Stripes Forever

SCENE 1: The Founding Fathers

The Stars & Stripes are flying high / Enter George Washington holding the Declaration of Independence

George Washington
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved

Enter John Adams

John Adams
Yesterday the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America; and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, ‘that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

Enter Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams
General Washington, my cousin, John Adams, & all the Americans gathered here under the eyes of God. Who among you, my countrymen, that is a parent, would claim authority to make your child a slave because you had nourished him in his infancy? No man had once a greater veneration for Englishmen than I entertained. They were dear to me as branches of the same parental trunk, and partakers of the same religion and laws; but when I am roused by the din of arms: when I behold legions of foreign assassins, paid by Englishmen to imbrue their hands in our blood: when I tread over the uncoffined bones of my countrymen, neighbors and friends: when I see the locks of a venerable father torn by savage hands, and a feeble mother, clasping her infants to her bosom, and on her knees imploring their lives; when I behold my country, once the seat of industry, peace, and plenty, changed by Englishmen to a theatre of blood and misery.

We have now no other alternative than independence, or the most ignominious and galling servitude. To unite the supremacy of Great Britain and the liberty of America, is utterly impossible. So vast a continent and of such a distance from the seat of empire will every day grow more unmanageable. The people of this country have formally and deliberately chosen a Government for themselves.

Enter Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
George, John, Sam, Countrymen & Brethren. Does thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. Our revolution against a great power is well underway. The struggle is great but it is with little strokes that we fell great oaks. The axeman, General George Washington, leads our brave troops & I enjoy today what posterity will say of him. For a thousand leagues have nearly the same effect with a thousand years.

George Washington
Excuse me, gentlemen, I must take leave & rejoin the army

Exit Washington

Benjamin Franklin
We have now in the field armies sufficient to repel the whole force of our enemies. The hearts of our soldiers beat high with the spirit of freedom – they are animated with the justice of their cause, and while they grasp their swords, can look up to heaven for assistance.

Samuel Adams
Our Union is now complete; our constitution composed, established, and approved. You are now the guardians of your own liberties. We may justly address you, as the Decemviri did the Romans, and say – “Nothing that we propose can pass into a law without your consent. Be yourselves, O Americans, the authors of those laws on which your happiness depends.

John Adams
God Bless America

Samuel Adams & Benjamin Franklin
God Bless America

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home

Exit Adams, Samuel Adams & Franklin / Enter the Spirit of America

As rivers whirr with bloodshed’s thick-red flow,
As wide plains ring with chivalry of sorts,
A monarch obstinate is made to know
America has flung him from the ports,
When since the surrender of Cornwallis,
No longer heel-kept subjects forced to be,
Grown citizens, not of the Colonies,
But thirteen states combin’d especially,
In state, in peace, whose, happy hearted zeal,
Has left old England’s egoistic heel.

All sides Jackflag of union down-torn,
Another crowns the steeples, hangs in bars,
A thing of beauty, Philadelphi born,
Of thirteen stripes; & in the canton, stars
Also thirteen – they’ll ever represent
A curlecued republic wrought anew,
Whose dedication plants a nation’s bed
That one day half-a-continent shall spread,
Whose sceptre’d glory, always, heaven-sent,
America’s commander-President.

Enter Washington

E Pluribus unum, out of many
Comes one, one came, still burns the perfect flame
His Excellency lit, unlike any
Before, or since, pprogenitor of fame
Who swears solemnly, with regal reserve,
To… “maintain with faithful execution
The office of President; to preserve
Protect & defend the constitution!”
As thirteen cannon flatter with salvos
George kiss’d his Bible as if sniff’d the rose.

I address you all today with the most ardent love that a Country can inspire in a man. The magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of our young nation called me, has instilled within me a duty to form just appreciations of every circumstance, by which we might be affected. It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect.

No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.

Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

Having thus imported to you my sentiments, as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign parent of the human race, in humble supplication that since he has been pleased to favour the American people, with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparellelled unanimity on a form of Government, for the security of their Union, and the advancement of their happiness; so his divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.

Exit George Washington

SCENE 2: Mount Vernon

Martha Judge & her daughter Ona are working in the kitchen – they are singing Amazing Grace


Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Enter Martha Washington

Betty, what did I tell you about singing those common negro songs in my kitchen

I’m sorry Mrs Washington

Just carry on as you were, but in silence – my husband, your master, & your president, will be home any minute –

He’s gonna be needing a good feeding, ma’am

That’s right, now get to it

Ona & Betty get to work / Enter The Spirit of America

Up in the Big House, far from gloomy rooms,
Good mistress, Martha Washington, commands
The best domestics, Betty at the looms
True seamstress was, a needle in her hands
Conducted Verdi like swans on water;
Between them both, with eyes of beaming bronze,
Sits Ona Judge, Betty’s pretty daughter,
Who’s tying on the hat her master dons
For presidential meetings, ‘Look at me!’
She giggl’d, ‘I am noble, I am free!’

Enter George Washington, who sits down for his meal with Martha

I’ve sensed a certain slackness on their part,
If duty is not given by fair means
We must apply coercion, steel our heart
If trusted force be used, those brutal scenes
Deem rather proper, such impertinence
Should prosecuted be by public eye,
I’ll never trust a nigger – such pretence,
They’ whip each other softer than a fly –
But hand no more the whip to Hyland Crow,
He hates the negro & he lets them know.

My love, be sure, I’ll pass on your concerns,
But there is something else needs must attend,
In Pennsylvania most Blacks are free
& if a slave resides in that strange state
A full six months, they’ll earn their liberty,
An owner’s rights shall then lawfully end,
I heard that impudent huzzy, Betty,
Has been hollerin’ a storm of vain hope,
Thinkin’ Philadelphia is her fate –
I’d rather see her danglin’ from a rope.

The solution, as I plainly see it,
Always advise excuses to return
To our beloved homestead, so be it
Good & just for those wretches to learn
We own their fates, & if a slave believes
In six months freedom, let us leave in five,
I have no pity for these rogues & thieves;
Our apples, corn & meat here used to thrive,
While every time they serve a glass of wine
Those vultures guzzle two by shrewd design.

If you insist, my dear, but deep inside
I’m fluster’d by an ineffective sense
Of something waspish, this I can’t abide,
I see the white man by his picket fence,
Facing rough fields where black men labor long
In grating chains of slavery, rough-slapp’d,
I listen to the beauties of their song
& feel in them the soul of freedom trapp’d –
Our Union, & human dignity,
Depends on rootin’ out brute slavery.

There is a life to which the babe must yield,
My love, by fate or fortune, from its birth –
Tight-rooted wolfsbane, twisted in a field,
Or rhododendron of an arcade earth;
Ours was run plantations in Virginia,
Theirs, help us to run them by best means,
Let us unwaver from the linear,
Remembering to grow our maize & beans,
Leaving these problems to a future age
Whose abolitionists they’ll assuage.

As adolescence sweetens & matures,
The ragged hedge seems less persistent cage
For one young lass, struck by the world’s allures
Prepares the flit, & dares the bold outrage,
Prepares to make the river run uphill
Tonight’s the night she’ll escape Mount Vernon,
Out slip’t she thro’ the moonlit window sill
Her heart was poundin’, her fate was burnin’ –
Meanwhile, downstairs, the Washington’s did dine,
On lovely supper with a Bordeaux wine.

No more cotton snows of summer, no more
The snapping whip, no more the sodden hay
Soak’d thro’ with tears as men wept on the floor,
No more the dawnings of the Devil’s day,
Soon Ona Judge is crown’d a chain-free wife!
A mother & a child of God remade,
Happy to lead the lapse of her long life,
Without the threat of yet one more tirade –
She is American, her rights upstand,
To live by law, free worship, & buy land.

Stars & Stripes: Scenes 3-8

SCENE 3: The Canadian Border

Enter the Spirit of America

This stage in the age of global affairs
Sends Washington three substantial rivals;
The Mexicans strewn thro’ the arid South,
While East of Mississippi indogenes
Diminish in the folly of the peace
Extended them once happily, & find
Lands of an ancient sacredness desired
By greed-eyed hawks, while to the open north
The mystery of Canada extends,
Where Britain’s battle banner flutters free.

Enter a company of America Soldiers marching to war


Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.

Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

& YankeeI saw a swamping gun
Large as a log of maple,
Upon a deuced little cart,
A load for father’s cattle.

Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

And every time he’ll shoot it off,
It took a horn of powder,
And made a noise like father’s gun,
Only a nation louder.

Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

And there was Cap’n Washington,
And gentle folks about him;
They say he’s grown so ‘tarnal proud
He will not ride without ’em.

Yankee Doodle keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony,
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni.

Election year, of course, had come around,
The President was losing in the polls
What better than a military jaunt
To rouse indifferent voters for him,
Upon his chest pin Washingtonian
Glory – upon some mercantile pretext,
To Canada he marches mobile arms,
Wasting the properties of Britishers,
So savage act has painted scarlet lines,
Of battle-harden’d veterans of war.

A battle scene between The Americans & the British sees an American retreat.

SCENE 4: The Executive Mansion, Washington

The First Lady, Dolly Madison is with the gardener, John McGraw, John Souissat & her manservant, Paul Jennings

Paul Jennings
I’ve never heard a noise like I’ve just heard,
It seems the Devil’s stepp’d out of his den
& hurl’d his fire & brimstone at our boys,
Strange, infernal, terrifying rockets
Flew at our lines, men dropp’d their muskets, ran
Faster than when a storm’s burst overhead
& you might be one half-mile outta home,
Knowing if you’d sprint back you’d keep best dry –
Faster than that – sweet life was in account;
Ah Carrol comes, he’ll add to my telling.

Charles Carrol
Mrs Madison, Mrs Madison,
I bring ya’ll tidings, with a weeping heart;
The British are coming, a regatta
Of frigates, sloops & schooners; they have fought
A battle up at Bladenburg, they’ve drove
Our legion from the field, twas like a race –
But flight has grown essential, you should flee
The capital, who knows what they’ll enact?
I’ve heard they’re furious at poisonous
Whiskey folks left when emptying the farms.

John McGraw
I say we should sing rally songs & fight,
All thro’ this war we’ve whipp’d the Old Country,
How dare those confounded sarpants anchor
In these fair waters, barges of arm’d men
Frighten good families, all tarnations
To them & their Tory machinations,
I might be Scots-bred but I dare not care
For London’s turpid guile, aye, long erewhile
The Jacobites were brutally repress’d,
Let’s fight, I say, these insults pay with blood.

John Souissat
The city is abandoned by soldiers,
Most ignominiously, officers
Have simply vanished; a sauve qui pert
Situation has arisen, & I
Do not intend to fight these men alone;
I urge you, Mrs President, no sense
There is in staying put, with graceful air
Greet enemies with fineries of state –
Risk grows too great, they might be gentlemen
But you are our First Lady, Heaven sent.

Dolly Madison
Oh! Very well, we’ll go, but not before
The Landsdowne portrait safely pack’d away,
It would become an Eagle of the French
Fallen in English hands, to be uphung
In some captain of Surrey’s sitting room,
No! Break the frame, the screws too tight to move
Within this tiny time, boys break the frame!
Get to it, & then roll the canvas smooth,
Boys, whisk it up to New York ’til the day
We’ll stand back in this room, & unafraid!

SCENE 5: Washington

Enter the Spirit of America & British Redcoats

Into the place where this strange war began
By jeers, & cheers, & strokes of inky pen,
A place of magnificent distances,
March the British, whose sharpshooter surprise
Ensures an onset of grim destruction
That has begun already, blazing glow
Floats oer an empty city, in whose streets
Flames surge up doors & windows; nothing spar’d
Whose noblest part, tho’ gutted, parch’d & black,
Defiant stands to dreadful damages!

Arise yon Phoenix palace from the flames,
Emulsion’d in purest absolution,
A promise heaven-sworn in every heart
That beats American; ‘never again
Shall foreign sov’reigns & their armies lord
Among our sacred capital,’ a song
Erewhile composed by captive, Francis Key,
Watching by Baltimore Fort Henry fall,
But soak’d in British blood, him very first
To sing ‘Star Spangl’d Banner’ from the heart.

Francis Key is composing a poem while imprisoned in the belly of a British ship

Francis Key
Let me see that start again… hmmm, yes, By the dawn’s early light, lah-de-dah-de we hailed, at the twilight’s first dreaming – No ! – last… gleaming, yes, that has the ring


Oh say can you see,
By the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed,
At the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched,
Were so gallantly streaming.

And thy rocket’s red glare,
Thy bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through thee night,
That our flag was still there.

Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Just before Christmas the Treaty of Ghent
Free sign’d; dwindle shadows of man’s ravage,
Reason prevails, an unwinnable war,
Suspended was uti possidetis,
Territory mutually restor’d,
As each side of a Continental line
Two nations branding landage eternal,
Americans, Canadians, at peace
For evermore, ancestrally allied,
Like sisters settl’d on their mother’s street.

SCENE 6: A cottonfield in the Southampton.

The slaves are singing as they work


Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
& Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus {my sweet Jesus}
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah
{Nobody Knows}

Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down
Oh, yes my lord
Sometimes I’m almost to the ground
Oh, oh yes lord

A voice in me is going on slow
Well yes, my lord
& I’ll have my trials heal’d below
O yes lord!

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Oh, every day to you I pray
Oh, yes Lord
For you to drive my sins away
Oh, yes Lord

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Well yes the devil asked me so
Why & why
Cos he asked me once & he let me
Let you go

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Solo (slow)
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
& Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

The workers in the field transform into slaves, chained in the hold of an Atlantic ship – to one side the young Nat Turner is listening to his grandmother, Bridget

The drums, the dancing, the songs, the singing
Were gone – neck-rings, thumbscrews, clinking chains
Were all – hands full of diamonds here wringing
Flesh in dreadful compacts, & as we fused
Pandemonium unveil’d; tears, disease,
Thirst, coughs & curses, far from soft embrace
Of family, kept by smugging mantis,
‘Must keep the Cargo fit,‘ up to seabreeze
Them set to dance, passionless, lacking grace,
To strangest strains of Arkansas shanties.

Several slaves are made to dance to the music of the ill-mannered sailors – the piece is the ARKANSAS TRAVELER by Joe Clark

Dance, nigger dance! move them dirty feet or I’ll hack ’em both right off

Enter the Spirit of America

Nat Turner sat dumbstruck as granny told
Amazing stories of Africky youth,
Of sailing endless ocean in the hold
Of some spice-ship; into the dark, uncouth
Chains of slave-living, of ravens & scorn,
Nat loved to hear of the lion’s roaring
Watch granny’s right arm swinging like a trunk,
He yearn’d to see the land from which them torn –
Then, when the whole plantation was snoring,
He read his Bible, silent as a monk.

Nat, into major manhood burns each day,
But brutal barbs of slavery all hearts
Have penetrated deep, the cruel flay
Of beatings; as Nat’s bedstead curtain parts
An overseer drags him from his bed
& kicks him with contemptuousity,
Like drunkards booting mutts across the floor;
“Master,” says Nat, “tho you may beat me dead,
My dying breath shall bring eternity,
& Jesus all my liberties restore.”

SCENE 7 : Southampton County

Nat Turner is gather’d with several fellow slaves

Nat Turner
Men, hear me now, this step once wonder’d at,
Flung irreversible twyx steep & lane,
Shall fly just like a leaping thundercat
Namore shall we be forced to work in rain,
Half-starv’d, half-naked, backs cowskin-shredded,
Life drain’d by immental bloodhounds who’ve made
Organised conspiracies to oppress
Our freedom’s right; God in me’s embedded
A sulling soul no beatin’ could degrade,
Willing to burst its physical duress.

Ceasar Jones
Ah aint so sure, ah’ve heard most grievous tales
Of those up in the North, of runaways’
Deplorable conditions, mischievous
Thieves; angst & angry hunger blight their days;
My master told me so, the same I heard
From Little Obie, who last year return’d,
Long complaining that a cold potato,
Was all he ate all day; Nat, its absurd
To risk such sufferance, when I have learn’d
Rough fate awaits us, thus I cannot go.

Nat Turner
Such lies have thread the rope that binds thy mind,
The truth is very different, they cuff
& beat us, keep our hungers close behind,
Til buried doglike in the scour-box rough –
They’ll drip the boiling porkfat on our backs,
They’ll dare not feed us well, nor clothe us warm,
Just gruel & trousers coarsely hack’d from sacks,
Else dreams of comfort, freedom, might intrude –
Atrocity accepted is the norm,
When each day find they barbary more crude.

Zack Edgefield
I hear ya Nat, let us not be like beast;
Hunted, penn’d in some inglorious spot,
While round us barking, slaverdogs releas’d,
Have made a mock at our determin’d lot;
I’m with ya man, we fight a common foe
I’d die for just one moment to be brave,
With battle join’d, by ye on the attack,
Sound, sound the horn & I shall gladly go,
Better to settle in a rebel grave,
Than spend my life serving a maniac

Nat Turner
The White Man preaches he be Christian,
Believe me when I say they live in Hell,
From slavery, nothing but corruption,
All-pervading comes, some licentious spell
Shall vitiate slaveholders & their sons
In lusty visitations thro’ the night,
While mistresses pretend a pantomime
All dwell in dire dens of dead illusions
Which ravages our soul, our children blight,
Aye fight we must, each day no better time.

The morning sun is burning bluish-green,
A signal for the slaughterworks to come,
Large hoard of Danite slaves charge to a scene
Where Free Blacks also beat the Akan drum,
As Turner quotes good scriptures & the psalms,
From field-to-field men set their brethren free,
Hatchets, knives & axes send wounds to work,
No paleskin spared, not even babes-in-arms,
As from the mental depths where torments lurk
With righteous, violent fury vengeance rose.

Nat Turner’s soul flew free for sixty days,
As if him angel vapours in a glade,
But like a wee mouse mither’d by a maze,
They dragg’d him from the hole, him swift displayed
On trial, tho’ the verdict all well knew,
When ask’d did he regret things Nat replied
‘Was Christ not crucified,‘ then he did hang,
His corpse was flay’d, beheaded, axes drew
Flesh-bloody quarters, then the knife applied,
As oer Jerusalem the Angels sang!

“The mad dog is dead,” white folks triumph’d home
To irreligious brothels of that vice
Quite wicked, like the civic stain of Rome,
Lusting to enslave all the world’s races;
Shaming progressive lands of libertie,
A country’s fabric bulging at the seams,
The mantra, ‘All made equal,‘ most forget
& yet, as Nat did strike his blameless blow
He’s show the Negro shares a nation’s dreams,
When one of them may walk the West Wing yet.

Scene 8: A sacred pow-wow dance by native Americans

Stars & Stripes: SCENES 9-14

Scene 9 : Washington

Andrew Jackson’s office / enter Cherokee elders with the Spirit of America

I’ll tell you the tale of the Trail of Tears
& the guile of action-minded Jackson,
The Cherokee proclaim him Big White Chief,
Who calls them ‘Children’ with paternal words,
‘As the Cherokee tribe of Indian,’
Are living east of great Mississippi,
In the midst of a white population,
Your dwelling places & your people poor, Hungry, your game dissappeared, your young men
All turn’d to drink, to go… not if but when’

Chief Junaluska
Your seven thousand troops of cruel blue
Came in a friendless, condescending raid,
It was the end of all they ever knew,
Limitless horizons block’d by stockade;
By emigration depots like Fort Cass
& Ross’s landing at Chattanooga;
I weep, I weep, I weep at how things pass,
I had fought at Horse Shoe like a cougar,
From tomahawks I sav’d your life that day,

Andrew Jackson
Your fate is seal’d is all that I can say.

Exit the elders

As Andrew Jackson skims the morning news
In stately home, overlooking water,
His conscience takes good care to not confuse
These vital relocations for slaughter;
Lament the Delaware, the Ottowa,
The Creek, the Chickasaw, the Cherokee,
The Potawatomi, the Iowa,
The Shawnee, the Fox & the Miami –
Persuaded by men of high distinction
Reservations better than extinction!

Such was the birth-lay of America,
Eugenics knocks mercy from its garments
& kicks it beyond the tectonica,
Like toothless hobos shooting at varmints,
Vultures hover over ancient nations
The spirits of the shaman flee the fate
Brutal cultural obliterations
Six hundred wagons, roofless, rude, await
A thousand miles of misery, a trail
Of tyranny if pregnant, ageing, frail.

SCENE 10: Little Rock Arkansas

Upon the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee elders are deep in conversation

Chief Junaluska
Dear John, Mysterious Little White Bird,
Your wife is with the Spirit of the Sky,
Creator Unetlanuhi has heard
Good woman was she, tears divine he’ll cry,
To hear how Old Man Winter’s rearing head,
Outblew the freezing sneeze like sleet & snow,
The paths of pain were raining with the dead,
A sick child lacking blanket from the blow
Your wife did witness, passing on her cloak,
She froze to death & on the ice did choke.

John Ross
My love I buried in an unmark’d grave
Beside the bitter road, I curse him named
Bad Jackson, tho’ his better men did save
Our soveriegnity, that reptile shamed
His race, his word, his country & his law;
Whose false treaty’s sacred appellations
Us overwhelms, however we implore,
Re-iterated with protestations
That Worcester versus Georgia, ‘Thirty-Two,’
Annuls the Lo Va Sa, what can we do?

The dark of night nears midpoint of the sky,
By dawn we’ll all be stars lost in fabric,
I’ve asked the Thunderboys the reason why
Life bedevils us torrid & tragic,
Diminish’d by Europe’s greedy vices,
Whose spirits only dance to drunken jigs,
When camst the Sioux we painted our faces,
But now the Judge of Battle’s wearing wigs,
Reducing us into this sorry state,
Too tired, too hungry am I them to hate.

John Ross
They came to us like locusts on the breeze,
Despoiling fields ancestors never spoil’d,
So many more shall cross the many seas
With all their hunger & their hates uncoil’d;
Alone, beside the moon, my spirit cries,
The graves of all our fathers leave behind,
But let us not regret this, lets devise
A better future fit to keep our kind,
If west of Mississippi must we be
Let us lead there, at least, our dignity.

The spiritwind our guide has always been,
From Galunlati blowing thro’ our hearts,
Just yesterday an Eaglesflight I’d seen –
A memory of when we lived apart,
But then I’d heard gunshots slay an eagle
& watch’d the possums gnaw it to the bone –
This dream replicated an illegal
& crude theft – posterity must atone
When an elected president shall be
Like me, at least, a portion Cherokee.

Scene 11: A ship – the crew are on deck singing


A bully ship and a bully crew,
Doo-da! Doo-da!
A bully mate and a captain, too,
Doo-da! Doo-da-day!

Then blow, ye winds, hi-oh,
For Californ-i-o,
There’s plenty of gold, so I’ve been told,
On the banks of Sacramento!

Oh, heave, my lads, oh heave and sing,
Doo-da! Doo-da!
Oh, heave and make those oak sticks sing
Doo-da! Doo-da-day!

Then blow, ye winds, hi-oh,
For Californ-i-o,
There’s plenty of gold, so I’ve been told,
On the banks of Sacramento!

Oh, around the Horn we shipped to go,
Doo-da! Doo-da!
Around Cape Horn, through ice and snow
Doo-da! Doo-da-day!

Then blow, ye winds, hi-oh,
For Californ-i-o,
There’s plenty of gold, so I’ve been told,
On the banks of Sacramento!

Oh, around the Horn the mainsail set
Doo-da! Doo-da!
Around Cape Horn, we’re wringing wet
Doo-da! Doo-da-day!

Then blow, ye winds, hi-oh,
For Californ-i-o,
There’s plenty of gold, so I’ve been told,
On the banks of Sacramento!

SCENE 12: Busty’s Saloon Bar, Independence, Missouri

Bart Boone
Hey Boys! My Boys! They’ve found Eldorado,
Coloma soils be sparkling & aglow,
There’s so much gold the mules can hardly move,
The mines seem inexhaustable, they’ll prove
Enough there is for everyone’s desire,
One morning’s work & then we might retire,
A place call’d Sutter’s Mill I heard them say,
Across the West in Californ-I-A
I go tomorrow, boys, who’d like to share
The road by me, two’s better to beware.

Logan Morgan
America, land of our teeming dreams,
Her treasures lying open in the streams,
I read a letter only yesterday
That said as much, my old friend Thomas Grey,
Describin’ gold glitterin’ in sandbars,
As if the sky was wonderwick with stars,
There’s gold-dust drifting like the desert dunes,
He scoop’d up with his jack-knife & his spoons,
Tho’ dangerous & distant one might dare
A monetary miracle out there.

Wesley Wyatt
I’d love to go but, damn, how could I go?
I lost a leg with Lee down Mexico,
Your mining’s but a dog’s life, not for me
That hard, unrewarded monotony;
No letters comin’ in or goin’ out,
After a week yer mind’s w just spins with doubt
Of ever seeing womankind again,
Then one’s come sixty miles away, by train –
& so you’ll hike all day like mountain goats
To see her pretty-sitting petticoats.

Busty Adams
In that case boys I’m comin’ down as well,
A clever woman is the feather’d belle
That keeps such things together day-by-day,
Those men will need to eat, & they’ll right pay
Good money for a proper meal, & hot,
& other things I know that might be got;
& boys, ye’d better hurry to the feast,
For Chinamen & Hindoos from the East
Are sailin’ the Pacific as we speak,
Great fortune comes for those whom fortunes seek!

Preacher Virgil
The madness of our nation dost begin,
I urge ye not to join that ship of sin,
Such chaos offers caflugality
Via greed’s insatiable insanity,
As fathers & fiances leave the flock
Unguarded, evil here must run amok,
While far away tour menfolk retrograde
Thro’ gambling, drinking, swearing: a parade
Thro’ all the circles Dante did descend,
T’where Satan calls the sinner ‘only friend.’

SCENE 13: Philadelphia

Enter the Spirit of America

As eighty thousand find a fresh abode
Out in the West, they’ll need a civil code;
Extending, there, Missouri’s compromise;
South of the Thirty-Six & Thirty lies
A lunacy of evil men in rows,
Perpetuating slavery, oppose
All poison to the life-blood of the South,
Who’d rip the tongue out of baby’s mouth
To stop it crying freedom; while they hold
The Senate, slaves in southern states are sold.

Enter Southern senators

“This is the long-postpon’d attack on rights
& property, with all its scurvy sleights,”
Drawl big mouths of the south, in unison,
America’s entangl’d opinion,
Says reckoning’s a-coming, high ideals
Clash with a stubborn business, which reveals
Hypocrits preaching in Jesus’s name
While keeping human cattle, whom to tame
Would beat to death, despite the sacred page
That urges universal love each age !

Presiding Officer of the Senate
The American Anti-Slavery Society will hear Mr William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison
Senators of America – you take your seats in this house under the flag of our great nation – but wherever our jurisdiction extends, wherever our flag floats, it is the flag of slavery. The stars are the chains & the stripes are the scourge. In truth, our flag should have the light of the stars & the streaks of the morning red erased from it; it should be dyed black, & upon it paint the whip & the fetter

More than fifty-seven years have elapsed since a band of patriots convened in this place, to devise measures for the deliverance of this country from a foreign yoke. The corner-stone upon which is founded the Temple of Freedom was broadly this—that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness. At the sound of that trumpet-call, three millions of people rose up as from the sleep of death, and rushed to the strife of blood; deeming it more glorious to die instantly as freemen, than desirable to live one hour as slaves.—They were few in number—poor in resources; but the honest conviction that Truth, Justice, and Right were on their side, made them invincible.

But those, for whose emancipation we are striving,—constituting at the present time at least one-sixth part of our countrymen,—are recognised by the laws, and treated by their fellow beings, as marketable commodities—as goods and chattels—as brute beasts;—are plundered daily of the fruits of their toil without redress;—really enjoy no constitutional nor legal protection from licentious and murderous outrages upon their persons;—are ruthlessly torn asunder—the tender babe from the arms of its frantic mother—the heart-broken wife from her weeping husband—at the caprice or pleasure of irresponsible tyrants;—and, for the crime of having a dark complexion, suffer the pangs of hunger, the infliction of stripes, and the ignominy of brutal servitude. They are kept in heathenish darkness by laws expressly enacted to make their instruction a criminal offence.

The right to enjoy liberty is inalienable. We ust strive with every sinew of body & mind to overthrow the most execrable system of slavery that has ever been witnessed upon earth—to deliver our land from its deadliest curse—to wipe out the foulest stain which rests upon our national escutcheon—and to secure to the colored population of the United States all the rights and privileges which belong to them as men and as Americans—come what may to our persons, our interests, or our reputations—whether we live to witness the triumph of Justice, Liberty, and Humanity, or perish untimely as martyrs in this great, benevolent and holy cause.

SCENE 14: A Virginia Plantation

While slaves purify cotton in the kitchen, their overseers are playing a song


Heading down south to the land of the pines
I’m walking the coast into North Caroline
Staring at the road in the shadow of faeire farmlights
As I made it all the way thro’ wind, sun & showers
I pick me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
I’m a-hoping for Raleigh, I can see my baby tonight

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama any way you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south bound train
Hey mama rock me

Running from the cold up in New England
I was born to be a fiddler in an old time string band
My baby plays guitar, I pick a banjo now
Oh, north country winters keep a-getting me down
Lost my money playing poker so I had to leave a-town
But I ain’t turning back to living that old life no more

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama any way you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south bound train
Hey mama rock me

Moonshine running on Virginian sand
Stars lie dotted on the promised land
Now she’s been heading East since the Cumberland gap
From Johnson City, Tennessee
I got to get a move on ‘at the fall of the sun
My baby call my name an’know she’s the only one
And if I die in Raleigh I will die free

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama any way you feel
Hey mama rock me
Oh rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south bound train
Hey hey mama rock me…

Enter the Spirit of America

Where backwoodsmen croon songs in bad Saxon
A good gooselocker plucks tight fibres full,
Else face abundant lashings, score-on-score;
Rogue pickaninnie days bore long & dull,
Spread thirteen in a circle on a floor
‘Til corn-mush setting sun,
When owners’ damnable proclivity
For perfum’d, so velvety, soft-black skin –
Down Virginia way Negro rape’s no sin –
Conducted with strange sensitivity.

A baby, Evelina, is born to the cotton farmer & a female slave

The necessity of our biracial
Instinct for vital cross-pollination
Brings whites & blacks together, from them born
Beauties of Our future Human Nation,
Them call’d Mulatto! Hid from social scorn
‘Til dies her palatial
Father, she’ll soon discover she’s a slave,
Given to bottle-quaffing overseers
Unholiness, unhappiness for years,
‘Gan cutting sugar-cane until the grave.

Stars & Stripes: SCENES 15-17

SCENE 15: Virginia

Moses, a northern gentleman, is visiting an old student friend, Alexander, in the south. They are touring a plantation with another southern gentleman called Julius

Welcome to my Lake Prasias, & I
Am Alexander, master of my mine,
Only a thousand acres of good land,
About a manor-house, situated fine,
A hundred negroes, & a spritely band
Of friends to pass time by
With a large lib’ry all I’ll ever need –
Down here slavery’s indispensable,
I find your ways incomprehensible,
My friend, we think it better to secede.

Aye, look at how the Cuffees smile & wave
Whenever we ride by them; ‘Nigger Jones
& Nigger Solomon, a fine morning
To y’all…’ Moses, the North’s propp’d up by loans
But all we hope for here, every dawning
Is work, freeman & slave;
Easy it seems to criticize our ways,
But this is how it works down here, & work
It definitely does, for who dare shirk
Beneath the sphinx that is their master’s gaze.

I beg your understanding my brothers,
But traveling the South my soul is strain’d
You say these men contented with their lot
But how can one seize change when one is chain’d?
I’m seeing, it seems, a Gordian Knot –
Me & worried mothers
Who fear the woeful sword-arm words of War,
Fearing betrayal of Christian feelings
Are hoping Senatorial dealings
All natural equalities restore.

That may be what they’re thinkin’ with the frosts,
But struggle Blacks up there for rooves & food,
While here, in these Christian plantations,
The spirit from the savage is unglued,
Allowing its moral elevations;
Shining, living ripostes
To the sneerings of your superiors,
Unfortunately heavily misled,
A negro’s happy working & well fed,
Befitting intellect’s inferiors!

Alex, your peculiar institution,
I never can praise, if it does persist,
A fight there’ll be ’til slavery is drain’d
Of all its force (those lips they must be kiss’d,
Those peachy cheeks vermillion ingrain’d
My soul’s absolution!);
Brothers, who’s that fascinating slave-girl
With eyes of leaping deer? (Luminous rich
In me I feel that rampant red-hot itch
To see her hair’s long gloss without a curl!)

‘Neath celestial gaze was Moses bent,
Begs his host to take home Evelina,
Of course this was refus’d in jiffin flash,
But when the man that all the world dost comb
Then soulmate finds, they’ll rabid be, & rash,
That night to her he went –
The door is open, the master away,
As Samson from his Gazan whore departs
At midnight, & the waiting trap outsmarts,
Let liberty flee from the barns today!

They eloped all night, Northerner & Slave,
He lustful, she sensing ends of despair,
Whose crime was race, her perfect facial hue,
To some a blatant shade more dark than fair,
As thro’ the swamps a fugitive she flew,
Down pathways wild & brave
Into the rugged space that loves the soul
They fled by night, by day they doss like mice,
With free & onward impulse flight did roll
Towards the Big North Star that leads to Paradise.

She steps into a blaze of sight & sound,
Bearded bounty hunters crawl every kerb,
New Bedford’s abolitionist stronghold
The machinations of the South perturb,
Whose graduates no longer can be sold,
Stood on this holy ground,
Diplomas etch-scarr’d in their very backs –
Just an hour since stepping off the carriage
A lady & her rescuer seal marriage
With sterile kiss, for now, til daylight starr’d.

They woke up lovers in a handsome bed,
He drew the flaxen curtains back, & wide,
Celebrating thrice, they’d outwitted
The South, will all its puerile poison pride;
& now them married, she manumitted,
So many tears were shed
Last night as she made love to him & love
It was, tho’ less desire & more to please
A ‘friend’ who’d saved her life… soft summer’s breeze
Indrifts thro’ large bay windows, from above.


Way down in the meadow where the lily first blows,
Where the wind from the mountains ne’er ruffles the rose;
Lives fond Evelina, the sweet little dove,
The pride of the valley, the girl that I love.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall never, never die.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall, never, never die.

She’s soft as a rose, like a lamb she is meek,
And she never was known to put paint on her cheek;
In the most graceful curls hangs her raven black hair,
And she never requires perfumery there.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall never, never die.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall, never, never die.

Evelina and I, one fine evening in June,
Took a walk all alone by the light of the moon.
The planets all shone, for the heavens were clear,
And I felt round the heart most tremendously queer.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall never, never die.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall, never, never die.

Three years have gone by, since the day that I saw her
& still every day I’ll do anything for her
Shes pretty & savvy, she’s cunning & clever
I’ve sworn that I’ll love her for ever and ever.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall never, never die.
Dear Evelina, sweet Evelina,
My love for thee shall, never, never die.

Fruit falls from flowing orchards, this nation
Bless’d with abundance, broad bays full of fish,
There are fiddles, music, there is dancing,
But there is future’s mad convulsive coil
Wrapp’d about a bulbous, prime-for-lancing
Boil, desperate to burst;
Parisians applauded Libertie
As we have too, but as a man begats
A child upon a woman, bureaucrats
Determine if that child enchain’d or free!

A storm is coming & the hour is late,
Lincoln’s stove pipe flung gladly to that ring,
Where clear majorities of each free state
Thro’ Electoral College crowns him king;
Inauguration day feels very wrong,
Sharpshooter rooves, groove cannons guard the grounds,
While raucous New Yorkers, one million strong,
Await the next day’s daily, as newshounds
Down-scribble Lincoln’s verbal bravery
“I’ll stand by my duty to end all slavery!”

SCENE 16: Washington DC

President Abraham Lincoln assembles his first cabinet meeting

Sate stoic in heroic cabinet,
A fine welcome gentlemen, each solid stone;
Like the schisming sons of Mahomet
Our country inharmonious has grown,
So let us ban all states from secession
Tho’ bloodshed leaves a streak’d red in its drag,
I would embrace my assassination
Before a single star torn from this flag –
The question of the slaves lets leave for now,
Until the South is muzzl’d – but, men, how?

William H Seward
Yes, Mr President, live up to we must
The requirements of these higher stations,
Held with grave honour & the nation’s trust,
Push rivalries aside, & pretensions,
Press thro’ the resulting referendum
That set ye first among us to unseat
Dark princes of bondage, we shall send ’em
Back to Hell, daemon rebels in defeat,
When nothing short of total victory
Shall set this nation’s future truly free

V.P. Hannibal Hamlin
Gentlemen, gentlemen, be careful please,
The South’s fighting spirit mighty vicious,
Their politicians ruthless with real ease,
Cold as lizards, Lucifer ambitious,
Determin’d to found future settlements
More than lily-white, each stagnating pool,
For this lets stand, at last, like statesmen hence,
Drag fickle, eager mischief to life’s school,
From lounging on verandas in the shade
Perpetuating slavery’s dog-craz’d trade.

Salmon P Chaise
Tho’ nations may off-tangent time to time
Are strain’d vendettas better to avoid?
When understanding duty flows sublime
Thro’ dangerous intensities employ’d,
The South’s fire-eating nationalism
Doth hurry them for wars in golden glee,
Happy to contend a cataclysm
From whose sure slaughter all the old ghosts flee,
Whom each midwinter Valley Forge convene
In phantom conversations flesh unseen.

This union perpetual – it is so!
No state has any right to self-withdraw,
Let our stern protestations melt the snow
Which covers up the South’s unsacred flaw,
That is to make a newborn babe a slave –
For this they’d carve the land’s vivisection
Let passions rage on heart’s shore wave on wave –
Better that mystic memories’ affection,
Patriot-forg’d on battlefields so young,
Compose a common chorus, by all-comers sung.

Enter the Spirit of America

There’ll be no going back, this damag’d land
A mad experiment gone badly wrong,
Must push some reset button – understand
There’ll be no slave-hymns in its unborn song,
Now enter Lee, a general by name,
Pacing Arlington’s corridors perplex’d,
A Union command was his for fame,
To take it, tho’, his soul grows heavy vex’d,
& knows his sword could never draw in arms
Against native Virginian towns & farms.

SCENE 17: The Front

Enter General Lee at the head of the Confederate Army


General Lee
Come, all ye sons of freedom, and join our Southern band,
We are going to fight the enemy and drive them from our land.
Justice is our motto and providence our guide,
So jump on the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Secession is our watchword, our rights we all demand;
To defend our family, we pledge our hearts and hands;
Jeff Davis is our president, with Stephens by his side;
Brave Beauregard, our General, will join us in the ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Our wagon is big enough, the running gear is good;
Stuffed ’round the sides with cotton, and made of Southern wood.
Carolina is the driver, with Georgia by her side,
Virginia holds the flag up, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

There are Tennessee and Texas also in the ring;
They wouldn’t have a government where cotton wasn’t king.
Alabama and Florida have long ago replied;
Mississippi and Louisiana are anxious for the ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

North Carolina and Arkansas are slow,
They must hurry or we’ll leave e’m and then where would they go?
Kentucky and Maryland each won’t make up their mind,
So I reckon after all we’ll have to take e’m up behind.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Tennessee Missouri are eager for the fray;
They can whip the Yankee boys three to one, they say;
And when they get in conflict with Davis by their side,
They’ll pitch into the Yankee boys and then you’ll see them slide.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.
Wait for the wagon! The dissolution wagon!
The South is the wagon, and we’ll all take a ride.

Exit the Confederates / Enter the Union army led by Stonewall Jackson


Stonewall Jackson
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
His day is marching on.

I have read His fiery gospel writ in rows of burnished steel!
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you My grace shall deal!
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,”
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.

The stumbling, fumbling Union advance
To meet the foe in blood’s effusion cold,
Upon the field men take a handsome stance,
With limbs & hearts so beautiful & bold,
But stop! What is that sound that stuns the soul,
Like feedback from a concert’s microphones,
The rebel foxhunt yell, the banshee squall,
Driving corkscrew sensations up backbones,
Enhastening the deaths of razzl’d youth,
Via carnage raging, chastening, uncouth.

Enter the charging Confederates / battle begins

The national edifice is on fire,
At last the past is heap’d upon a pyre
Those utterances of grief & despair
First heard at Manassas’ murderous maul
Transmorph into clarions everywhere,
“Fight for your country, boys, men heed the call!”
Up in the North the Stars & Stripes are flown
From home to home, ‘the flag that makes you free,’
Sing epauletted brothers to the zone
Of war, fateful days face futurity,
As manacle still into human bites
God’s truth filling with anima of knights
At Shiloh fandango daffodillies,
One hundred thousand cramm’d in tension taut,
Tennessee’s dense, tense, teocallic woods
Explode with unexpected confrontations,
Sickening spectacles, kill or be kill’d,
Until Night’s onset halts halts this cranage crude
Hawks schnibbling into mangl’d death-bed flesh.

Enter Thomas, a Union Soldier, who finds the body of James, his comrade, on the field

I am a soldier and my speech is rough and plain
I’m not much used to writing and I hate to give you pain
But I promised I would do it and he thought it might be so
If it came from one who loved him it perhaps would ease the blow
& by this time you must have guessed the truth I fain will hide
And you’ll pardon me for rough soldier words while I tell you how he died

It was in the mortal battle, it rained the shot and shell
I was standing close beside him and I saw him when he fell
So I took him in my arms and laid him on the grass
It was going against orders but they thought to let it pass

“This day I wanted so to live, I seemed so young to go.
This week I passed my birthday. I was just nineteen, you know.
When I thought of all I planned to do it seemed so hard to die
But now I pray to God for grace and all my cares gone by.”

And here his voice grew weaker as he partly raised his head
And whispered

“Goodbye, mother,” and your soldier boy was dead

I carved another headboard as skillful as I could
And if you wish to find it I can tell you where it stood
I send you back his hymn book and the cap he used to wear
The lock I cut the night before of his bright, curly hair
I send you back his Bible. In the hour before he died
I turned its leaves together and read it by his side
I’ll keep the belt he was wearing, he told me so to do
It had a hole upon the side just where the ball went through

So now I’ve done his bidding, there’s nothing more to tell
But I shall always mourn with you the boy we loved so well

Stars & Stripes: SCENES 18-21

Scene 18: Washington

President Lincoln reads the Emancipation Declaration

Abraham Lincoln
I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves in the said and designated states and parts of states are and henceforward shall be free; and that the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognise and maintain the freedom of said persons. And I hereby enjoin on the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases where allowed, they labour faithfully for reasonable wages. And I further declare and make known that such persons, of suitable condition, will be received into the armed services of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

SCENE 19: A village in the South

The Emancipation Declaration is being read to the people. Enter the Spirit of America

Across the South the Proclamation read,
In cinereous quarters songs uprise,
Their former masters filling guns with lead
Dreading what lurks behind valiant eyes;
“Today you may go ‘soever you please,”
A mother leans her childrens’ heads to kiss,
Close by an old man sinks on work-chapp’d knees,
Counting the angels with arm-reaching bliss;
The day they’d fear’d they’d never live to see
Shines all about in perfect ecstasy!

The gates flung open, the Black Man enlists,
The First Louisiana rais’d the flag,
Most passionate anti-seccessionists,
Ready to stand & die for the dog-tag;
Impress on the world a cuttleaxe kind of tough
As ancient as the sands of Africa,
Gone storming Port Hudson’s foeheld hairpin bluff,
Bloodshed imbibing, one tribe together,
But part of something greater, to release
Egregious dogs, & leave the land at peace!

Enter the First Louisiana


Oh, Fremont he told them when the war it first begun
How to save the Union and the way it should be done
But Kentucky swore so hard and Old Abe he had his fears
Till ev’ry hope was lost but the colored volunteers

Oh, give us a flag
All free without a slave;
We’ll fight to defend it as our fathers did so brave;
The gallant Comp’ny “A”
Will make the rebels dance
And we’ll stand by the Union if we only have a chance

McClellan went to Richmond with two hundred thousand brave;
He said, “Keep back the n***ers” and the Union he would save;
Little Mac he had his way, still the Union is in tears
Now they call for the help of the colored volunteers


Old Jeff says he’ll hang us if we dare to meet him armed
A very big thing , but we are not at all alarmed;
For he first has got to catch us before the way is clear
And that is “what’s the matter” with the colored volunteer


So rally, boys, rally, let us never mind the past;
We had a hard road to travel, but our day is coming fast;
For God is for the right, and we have no need to fear
The Union must be saved by the colored volunteer


Then here is to the 54th, which has been nobly tried
They were willing, they were ready, with their bayonets by their side
Colonel Shaw led them on and he had no cause to fear
About the courage of the colored volunteer


SCENE 20: Gettysburg

Enter General Lee at the head of the Confederate army


I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten;
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

In Dixie’s Land where I was born in,
Early on one frosty mornin,
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie.

Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.

Old Missus marry “Will the weaver,”
Willium was a gay deceiver;
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

And when he put his arm around ‘er,
He smiled as fierce as a forty-pounder,
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie.

Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.

I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie.

Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.

Now here’s to the health to the next ole Missus
An’ all the gals that want to kiss us;
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land

And if you want to drive away sorrow
Come and hear our song tomorrow
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie.

Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.

Dar’s buckwheat cakes an Injun batter,
Makes your fat a little fatter;
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

Then hoe it down and scratch your gravel,
To Dixie’s Land I’m bound to travel.
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie.

Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.

Enter the Spirit of America

Warring most audacious rode famous Lee,
Conspiring to break the enemy’s back,
To smash the Army of the Potomac,
Inflicting wrath divine, terminally!
A Copperhead officer rumors heard,
“At Gettysburg good shoes in good supply,”
There led his men & with this cast the die,
The day of greatest death no more deferr’d
Thro cowtail fields, where bare a bumble stirr’d,
‘Neath Lutheran cupola scraping sky!

As phlegm erupts from mankind’s waking throats,
Two lines are drawn like sabres heaving sand,
On Cemetery Ridge plunges the stand
Of Union boys up-buttoning coats,
Tied all together like a bridge of boats,
Ready to face whate’er the day’s demand;
Steady in cause & combat – two eyes scann’d
The scene… says Confederate Colonel Oates,
Seeing Roundtops as yet undefended,
“Seize the heights, this war might soon be ended!”

SCENE 21: Gettysburg: The Confederate lines

General Lee has made his headquarters at a stone house on Seminary Ridge.

Walter H Taylor
I have dire news most uncouth to report
From Rummel Farm, where Stuart’s horse have lost
All speed & all surprise, our handsome cost,
A stand-off full of slaughter as a sport,
Where Custer’s flame-hair’d screams fill every ear
“Come on you Wolverines!” – his sabre rais’d
Has stopp’d us dear, chopp’d down our endeavor,
Leaving intact the enemy’s ridg’d rear,
Their forces are compact, alert, unphas’d –
Attacking now might not be so clever.

General Lee
Let us attack, for in our boys we trust,
The Army of Northern Virginia
Has pomell’d foes one after another
Who dared to stand against a cause so just,
Our cannon claws crust, when we shall thrust
Into their heart a dagger, deliver
A blow so lethal the world will shiver,
A blow that shall forever be discuss’d,
For when I’ve ask’d my boys to charge this day
They did, ‘those men were heroes,’ men will say.

James Longstreet
This bodes not well, a hurricane awaits,
That line could withstand fifteen thousand men,
When Pickett, untried Pickett, has just ten,
To test their guns would only dissipate
Our strength, I say, sir, turn back from the gate.
Lee: We must attack, & if not now then when?
The Army of the Potomac a hen
Plump for plucking & cooking on a grate,
& then, with Lincoln’s sword from flay’d hands pris’d,
He’ll sue for peace, with that the South baptized!

Walter H Taylor
Lieutenant, take this down so none forgets,
Our troops are passing the Emmitsburg Road,
In tatter’d grey butternut coats they strode,
A glittering forest of bayonets!
All whom, before this humid sunshine sets,
Shall glory cover thickly, rights restor’d;
But what is this deadly discharg’d discord,
Us-withering with vicious, threatful frets…
Fleeing that wall of artillery fire,
It seems, for war, men no more show desire!

General Lee
Wait… wait… wait…….. some reach Cemetery Hill,
This day might yet be ours in many ways,
Wait… wait… alas… it seems… thro’ clearing haze,
Of death & slaughter all have had their fill,
Blame me for these calamities occur’d,
But all of this this will come right in the end,
We’ll talk it over afterwards, ’til then
Cry, ‘all good men must rally,’ spread the word
Along the lines, a new line to defend,
As I ride out to greet my bravest men!

General Pickett leads his men into the carnage – the Battle of Getysburg ends / Enter Lincoln checking the corpses / the bodies are cleaned / a platform is built on the field / men & women arrive in civilian dress


Abraham Lincoln
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Enter the Spirit of America

The glory of the Gettysburg Address,
Forever steadfast, cleverly worded,
Was, in the pauses, five times applauded,
When good folk felt America’s caress
In heart – one soul in all the laws they bless,
Never has there been a speech so lauded;
Never has the truth been so well order’d,
They heard it in the South – where soon, God Bless,
Peace granted precious liberty each slave,
In the Land of the Free & the Home of the Brave.

Enter Joseph Rodman Drake

Joseph Rodman Drake
WHEN Freedom from her mountain height
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there.
She mingled with its gorgeous dyes
The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure celestial white,
With streakings of the morning light;

Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly,
The sign of hope and triumph high,
Flag of the seas! on ocean wave
Thy stars shall glitter o’er the brave;
Flag of the free heart’s hopes and dreams
For ever float thyandard sheet!
With Freedom’s soil beneath our feet,
And Freedom’s banner oer us streams.



Oh say can you see,
By the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed,
At the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched,
Were so gallantly streaming.

And thy rocket’s red glare,
Thy bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through thee night,
That our flag was still there.

Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

And where is that band
who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war
and the battle’s confusion

A home and a Country
should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out
their foul footstep’s pollution.

No refuge could save
the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight
or the gloom of the grave.

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.