James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

April 9


By Phoebe Cary (1824–1871)

  • The surrender of General Lee at Appomattox Court House brought the Civil War to a close, April 9, 1865.

  • O LAND, of every land the best—

    O Land, whose glory shall increase;

    Now in your whitest raiment drest

    For the great festival of peace:

    Take from your flag its fold of gloom,

    And let it float undimmed above,

    Till over all our vales shall bloom

    The sacred colors that we love.

    On mountain high, in valley low,

    Set Freedom’s living fires to burn;

    Until the midnight sky shall show

    A redder pathway than the morn.

    Welcome, with shouts of joy and pride,

    Your veterans from the war-path’s track;

    You gave your boys, untrained, untried;

    You bring them men and heroes back!

    And shed no tear, though think you must

    With sorrow of the martyred band;

    Not even for him whose hallowed dust

    Has made our prairies holy land.

    Though by the places where they fell,

    The places that are sacred ground,

    Death, like a sullen sentinel,

    Paces his everlasting round.

    Yet when they set their country free

    And gave her traitors fitting doom,

    They left their last great enemy,

    Baffled, beside an empty tomb.

    Not there, but risen, redeemed, they go

    Where all the paths are sweet with flowers;

    They fought to give us peace, and lo!

    They gained a better peace than ours.