Two armies covered hill and plain,
Where Rappahannock's waters
Ran deeply crimsoned with the stain
Of battle's recent slaughters
The summer clouds lay pitched like tents
In meads of heavenly azure;
And each dread gun of the elements
Slept in its hid embrasure.
The breeze so softly blew it made
No forest leaf to quiver,
And the smoke of the random cannonade
Rolled slowly from the river.
And now, where circling hills looked down
With cannon grimly planted,
O'er listless Camp and silent town
The golden sunset slanted.
When on the fervid air there came
A strain—now rich, now tender;
The music seemed itself aflame
With day's departing splendor.
A Federal band, which, eve and morn,
Played measures brave and nimble,
Had just struck up, with flute and horn
And lively clash of cymbal.
Down flocked the soldiers to the banks,
Till, margined with its pebbles,
One wooded shore was blue with ‘Yanks,’
And one was gray with ‘Rebels.’
Then all was still, and then the band,
With movement light and tricksy,
Made stream and forest, hill and strand,
Reverberate with ‘Dixie.’