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

April 9

“Stack Arms!”

By Joseph Blynth Alston

  • Written in prison at Fort Delaware, Del., on hearing of the surrender of General Lee.

  • “STACK Arms!” I’ve gladly heard the cry

    When, weary with the dusty tread

    Of marching troops, as night drew nigh,

    I sank upon my soldier bed,

    And calmly slept; the starry dome

    Of heaven’s blue arch my canopy,

    And mingled with my dreams of home

    The thoughts of Peace and Liberty.

    “Stack Arms!” I’ve heard it when the shout

    Exulting ran along our line,

    Of foes hurled back in bloody rout,

    Captured, dispersed; its tones divine

    Then came to mine enraptured ear,

    Guerdon of duty nobly done,

    And glistened on my cheek the tear

    Of grateful joy for victory won.

    “Stack Arms!” In faltering accents, slow

    And sad, it creeps from tongue to tongue,

    A broken, murmuring wail of woe,

    From manly hearts by anguish wrung.

    Like victims of a midnight dream,

    We move, we know not how nor why;

    For life and hope like phantoms seem,

    And it would be relief—to die!