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was another time
tho miles between and far from home
a winter’s night
where blue and grey were stood
in battle stance
kept awake too long
a chilly air
pierced at once by hope
and song
back and forth
where lines were drawn
and boys pretended
men to be
listened to the one
then to another

sang and grieved
but never thought
(for long) to leave
tho many knew
tomorrow would become the end
twas just as this
and meant to be
that others would soon learn
where then the first would fire
(the last would fall)
the loser ill forgotten
to the winner’s sword
no words could say
but writers dared to tell us
the battle told with
drum and violin

til one at last
the two would join
along that length of fence
before the river rose
to take their blood
blue and grey were warmed
by songs of home

In the battle of Stones River Battlefield (1862), 80,000 soldiers met at the river to fight for home and honor. Blue and grey were scattered amid the trees. It was New Year’s eve, and music rose from the drums from one camp and then another –

Yankee Doodle,
Dixieland….

The night rolled on as back and forth they played, knowing the morn would come for many as the last. Around midnight, it is said that the Yankee troops began to play “Home Sweet Home”. Almost immediately, the Rebel band joined as did the voices of those who had come to bear arms.

For a while, no longer were there shades of blue and grey,
just men – fathers, sons, and grandsons – children and old men – the best of us miles away from home.