Benjamin F. Bickerstaff,
better known as “Ben,”
got his start in Sulphur Springs in the Lone Star State.
When the Civil War commenced,
Ben’s kind were incensed
ta’ find out killin’ was their fate.
With well-trained guerrillas
Ben killed the blue-coat fella’s,
an’ found he didn’t mind at all.
So come the end of the war,
with a chance ta’ be poor,
he chose instead ta’ be an outlaw.
He went back ta’ Sulphur Springs
ta’ do his dirty things,
cuz’ he reckoned local folk would protect him.
They were rebel sympathizers,
an’ would never back a Yankee on a whim.
When Ben met a freed slave
he sent him ta’ the grave,
an’ cared not a bit who knew the fact.
He rounded up near twenty men
ta’ raid supply depots of the Union:
no wish ta’ defend… he chose ta’ attack.
In fair weather or muck an’ mud
they’d steal the wares an’ spill the blood:
they were an itch the Yankees couldn’t scratch.
Losses put the Yanks out of sorts,
so they built-up several forts,
with three full companies ta’ help with the catch.
The local folk stayed mum,
or simply acted dumb,
many were convinced Ben was a hero.
They thought he fought a cause,
an’ gave him their applause,
until they found out Ben was just a zero.
When Yankee pickin’s got harder
he considered himself smarter,
an’ took his gang ta’ the town of Alvarado.
He figured that the bounty
taken from a different county
would not cause local favoritism ta’ go.
He didn’t take into account
when they charged in on their mounts
that the folks in Alvarado had a say.
The citizens were warned,
an’ they came out fully armed,
an’ several rebels bit the dust that day.
He had conned the local folk,
since his “cause” was just a joke,
he had always been in it strictly for the money.
But the locals came out smilin’
when Bickerstaff’s riff-raff were dyin’:
somethin’ they were told sounded funny.
Ben’s criminal prank
was met point-blank,
the blast nearly took off his head.
Double-ought buck ta’ the face
ended Ben’s life in disgrace,
an’ the locals were glad he was dead.
© JW Thomas