Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • The Phantom Armies

    From the Grand Forks Daily Herald, May 30, 1914. By T. C. Harbaugh.

    No drum-beats in the valley
        And no bugles on the hill
    Where the summer breezes daily
        All the battle plain is still;
    When the stars come out at even
        Far above the glist’ning dew,
    There’s a phantom flag in heaven
        There are armies in the blue.

    Comes to them a call to duty
        From the phantom corps of yore,
    Where the roses in their beauty
        Deck the far-off river’s shore;
    Do they dream of comrades sleeping
        Where the winds are wild and free,
    Where the Rapidan is sweeping
        And where lisps the Tennessee?

    O, the pity and the splendor
        Of the thinned, immortal lines!
    Soon the Union’s last defender
        Will be camping ‘neath the pines
    Where no hand heart-ties can sever
        And the shadows long are thrown
    Where the grasses whisper ever
        And no bugle blast is blown.

    They are marching yet in glory
        Where Potomac’s waters shine,
    And the old camps tell the story
        Of the heroes of the line;
    By the peaceful winding river
        Spectral sentries watch the foe
    And their challenge sounds forever
        In the Land of Long Ago.

    See! A line of Blue is marching
        There’s a drum-call in the street
    And the heaven’s overarching
        Seems the veterans to greet;
    They are marching slowly, slowly
        As the flowers to them nod
    And their remnant grows more holy
        As the years pass on to God.

    From out the dim, dead distance
        Charge the squadrons, Blue and Gray.
    There is none to make resistance
        For they vanish, like the spray;
    Not a cry, no word is spoken
        Ghostly banners catch the breeze,
    And the silence is unbroken
        ‘Mong the tall and somber trees.