The Battle of Lookout Mountain


The Battle of Lookout Mountain was fought on November 24, 1863. It was an important engagement in the Chattanooga battles. The battle pushed the confederate flank, and paved the way for success at the Battle of Missionary Ridge the next day. With these two victories, besieged union troops in Chattanooga were freed and the union forces unlocked the gateway to the deep South.

Howells did not fight in the battle, but he did commemorate it with this poem.

Where the dews and the rains of heaven have their fountain,
   Like its thunder and its lightning our brave burst on the foe.
Up above the clouds on Freedom's Lookout Mountain
   Raining life-blood like water on the valleys down below. 
        Oh, green be the laurels that grow, 
        Oh, sweet be the wild-buds that blow, 
   In the dells of the mountain where the brave are lying low.

Light of our hope and crown of our story, 
   Bright as sunlight, pure as starlight shall their deed of daring glow. 
While the day and the night out of heaven shed their glory. 
   On Freedom's Lookout Mountain whence they routed Freedom's foe.
        Oh, soft be the gales when they go 
        Through the pines on the summit where they blow,
   Chanting solemn music for the souls that passed below.

illustration for the Poem The Battle of Lookout Mountain by William Dean Howells


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