Hailed as a national classic from the moment of its publication in 1867, this poem is
perhaps the most touching and expressive of all the "reconciliation poems" written
after the War's end. It was inspired by the following brief news item, which appeared in
the New York Tribune: "The women of Columbus, Mississippi, animated by nobler
sentiments than many of their sisters, have shown themselves impartial in their offerings
made to the memory of the dead. They strewed flowers alike on the graves of the Confederate
and of the National soldiers."
"The Blue and the Gray"