The irony of the date — 86 years to the day after the battle at Concord — was not lost on people. On that day, Rhode Island-born and Connecticut-raised Henry Howard Brownell wrote "April 19th, 1775-1861":
Once again, (our dear old Massachusetts!)
Once again the drops that made their way,
Red, ah not in vain! on that old greensward—
It is six and eighty years this very day.
Six and eighty years—aye, it seemed but a memory—
Little left of all that glory,—so we thought—
Only the old fire-locks hung on farm-house chimneys,
And rude blades the village blacksmith wrought.
Only here and there a white head that remembers
How the Frocks of Homespun stood against King George—
How the hard hands stretched them o'er the scanty embers
When the sleet and snow came down at Valley Forge.
Ah me, how long we lay, in quiet and in error,
Till the Snake shot from the coil he had folded on our hearth—
Till the Dragon-Fangs had sprouted, o'erhatched of hate and terror,
And hell, in armed legions, seemed bursting from the earth.
Once more, dear Brother-State! thy pure, brave blood baptizes
Our last and noblest struggle for freedom and for right—
It fell on the cruel stones!—but an awful Nation rises
In the glory of its conscience, and the splendor of its might.