A melodeon and choir provided the music for the ceremony overseen by the Charleston Ladies' Association. The poem which Timrod presented is generally acknowledged as his most famous, "Ode Sung on the Occasion of Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead":
Sleep sweetly in your humble graves,
Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause;
Though yet no marble column craves
The pilgrim here to pause.
In seeds of laurel in the earth
The blossom of your fame is blown,
And somewhere, waiting for its birth,
The shaft is in the stone!
Meanwhile, behalf the tardy years
Which keep in trust your storied tombs,
Behold! your sisters bring their tears,
And these memorial blooms.
Small tributes! but your shades will smile
More proudly on these wreaths to-day,
Than when some cannon-moulded pile
Shall overlook this bay.
Stoop, angels, hither from the skies!
There is no holier spot of ground
Than where defeated valor lies,
By mourning beauty crowned!
Timrod's poem became incredibly famous, and quite rapidly. His work, among that of others, helped establish the "Lost Cause" image of the South: fallen, but proud. Timrod, himself a Charleston-born Confederate veteran, earned the honorary title "Poet Laureate of the Confederacy." He died within two years of presenting this poem. His dirge certainly contrasted with northerner Oliver Wendell Holmes's "Hymn of Peace," presented three years later, almost to the day. Timrod was later memorialized himself, 35 years later.