The Life of a Soldier in the U. S. Cavalry
Written by John H. Laser, Troop D, 6th U. S. Cavalry.
The life of a soldier is wild and romantic,
Out upon the Western frontiers;
In the heart of the mountains or on the open prairie
The "boys "they live like festive kings or peers.
They can hunt the buffalo and the bear,
The elk and the cunning panther, too;
And many are the poor but sanguinary redskin
They are often forced to put the daylight through.
We start out at daybreak and cross the open prairie,
Or the point o'er which our journey it may lie,
Down through the valley, or o'er the rugged mountains,
Whose distant snow-tipped summit pierces the sky.
And we travel right on 'till noon,
Until we strike some clear little stream;
We will halt by its banks to demolish some refreshments,
And bask in the sun's celestial beams.
After resting and feeding, and seeing to our horses,
"Swing out boys, " is then the next command;
Immediately after our small but jolly party
Is once on route o'er the land.
Then we'll travel the remainder of the day,
Until the sun sinks far in the West;
Then we'll camp by some stream and refresh ourselves with coffee,
And pass the night in slumber and in rest.
It wants an hour of daybreak, the boys they are sleeping,
Dreaming of happy and sweet times;
The camp is enveloped in darkness,
And in silent the sentinel patrols his lonely beat.
Not a sound disturbs the air,
The sentinel calls "all's well!"
When all of a sudden the crack of many rifles
Is followed by a loud and savage yell.
The boys are on their feet, feeling for their rifles,
The barrels in the darkness brightly gleam;
The animals are neighing, snorting and prancing,
Confusion for a moment reigns supreme.
Then the boys dash for their foe,
Determined to conquer or die;
And when the morning dawned the sun came out
And looked where many a lifeless warrior did lie.
The soldiers are triumphant, still their bronzed and hearty faces
Wear expressions of sadness and of gloom;
For three of their companions, when the redskins came upon them,
Sprang from their couch only to meet their doom.
They were buried where they fell,
As noble looking men as you could see;
And they shall lie in peace and in quietness
Until the sounding of the "great reveille."
Then hurrah for a good suit of blue,
A rifle, a horse, and pistol, too;
Hurrah for the prairies, the wild woods and the mountains,
To pass a wild and reckless life away.