Surviving the War and returning to his home and family did not necessarily mean that a soldier's sufferings were at an end. Many men sustained grievous wounds in battle that would plague them until their dying day, causing constant discomfort and pain and sometimes even death many years after the fact.
In this poem, which was written in 1911 or 1912, the poet laments not just the wounds that have troubled him for 46 years but also the fact that the government for which he sacrificed so much has done so little for him in his disabled state. Although he has been reduced to living on charity and may wish that some of the money spent on battlefield monuments had been put to better use caring for veterans of the conflict, he still expresses great pride in the part that he and his comrades played in preserving the Union.
The Dying Comrade