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After The Battles Are Over
by [?]


[Read at Reunion of the G. A. T., Madison, Wis., July 4, 1872.]

After the battles are over,
And the war drums cease to beat,
And no more is heard on the hillside
The sound of hurrying feet,
Full many a noble action,
That was done in the days of strife
By the soldier is half forgotten,
In the peaceful walks of life.

Just as the tangled grasses,
In Summer’s warmth and light,
Grow over the graves of the fallen
And hide them away from sight,
So many an act of valour,
And many a deed sublime,
Fade from the mind of the soldier
O’ergrown by the grass of time

Not so should they be rewarded,
Those noble deeds of old!
They should live for ever and ever,
When the heroes’ hearts are cold.
Then rally, ye brave old comrades,
Old veterans, reunite!
Uproot Time’s tangled grasses –
Live over the march, and the fight.

Let Grant come up from the White House,
And clasp each brother’s hand,
First chieftain of the army,
Last chieftain of the land.
Let him rest from a nation’s burdens,
And go, in thought, with his men,
Through the fire and smoke of Shiloh,
And save the day again.

This silent hero of battles
Knew no such word as defeat.
It was left for the rebels’ learning,
Along with the word–retreat.
He was not given to talking,
But he found that guns would preach
In a way that was more convincing
Than fine and flowery speech

Three cheers for the grave commander
Of the grand old Tennessee!
Who won the first great battle –
Gained the first great victory.
His motto was always “Conquer,”
“Success” was his countersign,
And “though it took all Summer,”
He kept fighting upon “that line.”

Let Sherman, the stern old General,
Come rallying with his men;
Let them march once more through Georgia
And down to the sea again.
Oh! that grand old tramp to Savannah,
Three hundred miles to the coast,
It will live in the heart of the nation,
For ever its pride and boast.

As Sheridan went to the battle,
When a score of miles away,
He has come to the feast and banquet,
By the iron horse to-day.
Its pace is not much swifter
Than the pace of that famous steed
Which bore him down to the contest
And saved the day by his speed.

Then go over the ground to-day, boys
Tread each remembered spot.
It will be a gleesome journey,
On the swift-shod feet of thought;
You can fight a bloodless battle,
You can skirmish along the route,
But it’s not worth while to forage,
There are rations enough without.

Don’t start if you hear the cannon,
It is not the sound of doom,
It does not call to the contest –
To the battle’s smoke and gloom.
“Let us have peace,” was spoken,
And lo! peace ruled again;
And now the nation is shouting,
Through the cannon’s voice, “Amen.”

O boys who besieged old Vicksburgh,
Can time e’er wash away
The triumph of her surrender,
Nine years ago to-day?
Can you ever forget the moment,
When you saw the flag of white,
That told how the grim old city
Had fallen in her might?

Ah, ’twas a bold, brave army,
When the boys, with a right good will,
Went gaily marching and singing
To the fight at Champion Hill.
They met with a warm reception,
But the soul of “Old John Brown”
Was abroad on that field of battle,
And our flag did NOT go down.