This poem was recited to great applause to crowds in Philadelphia in 1915 at the Forty-Second Annual Reunion of the Army of the Potomac and included in the published Report of Proceedings.
The poem was created on the scene of the reunion by Captain Jack Crawford and was based on the arrest of an old soldier a “day or two” before the meeting. The soldier who was arrested was quoted as saying “I did it, yes I did it, and I’d do it again.”
Assault with Attempt to Kill
“Benjamin White,” the Court clerk cried, and “Benjamin White” again,
When a man of apparently sixty came out of the prisoners’ pen.
He leaned on a cane of hickory wood, and walked with a limping gait,
And stood at the bar with determined face, and there awaited his fate.
“Benjamin White,” his Honor cried, as the crowd in the court grew still,
“The charge which 1 see against your name, is assault with intent to kill.
How do you plead? ’Tis a serious charge, with a heavy penalty;
The Court would advise that you ponder well before you enter a plea.”