Author Note: I know this never really take place, I have an actual personal account written by J.L. Chamberlain sitting in front of me to help with chronological order. I wanted to write something for the anniversary of the surrender. Which happens to be today. Title comes from Chamberlain as well.

It was Palm Sunday. How many Palm Sundays had he spent away from home? More than he should have he knew that at least. There had been mass confusion since morning, rumors spread through the lines like the echo of cannon fire. If any of them proved to be true then he would never again spend another Palm Sunday in the trenches.

General Lee was presenting terms of surrender.

For two days the commanding Generals had been sending couriers through a line of truce. Both sides waited with bated breath as to what the outcome would be. He shifted uncomfortably in the saddle, wondering if the wound in his side would cause him grief today. He was a General now, because of this wound. Grant himself had written a letter promoting the Colonel of the 20th Maine to the rank of Brigadier General. This had been passed while he lay in a field hospital in Petersburg.

They had thought him deceased.

Leaning forward Chamberlain smiled wryly, he'd gladly revoke his title of Brigadier General if it meant he wouldn't have to deal with this injury now. He heard a horse coming up the road behind him at a rather quick pace. He didn't turn to look, though, not taking any chances with the injured hip. He was fairly sure he knew who the rider was anyway.

He wasn't surprised when Tom brought his horse to a sliding stop, turning the gray easily he came up along side his brother.

Chamberlain studied him from under the brim of the floppy General's hat. "Shouldn't you be at the head of your regiment Colonel Chamberlain?"

Tom flushed at the underlying compliment, but saluted smartly. "General, the regiment is in the very capable hands of Ellis Spear." He looked out at the lines of men, all waiting for news. "I came to see if you'd heard anything."

Chamberlain sighed, "I was hoping you had news."

"Me? Lawrence you're the General."

He wanted this to end, more than anything he wanted this to be it. So many times he had heard form superiors that this would be the deciding battle, he had stopped hoping long ago. It seemed that the heartache both sides suffered was never ending. On the other hand it appeared that some of the men were becoming less and less affected with each battle. That the massive carnage that had become their lives for the past four years was normal.

He looked back at Tom, the gold bars on his shoulder replaced with an eagle. He suddenly wished Buster were here. The three had been very close, though military protocol frowned upon fraternization among the rank differences they shared. The brim of his hat shaded his eyes as he stared out over the fields, wondering what Buster would say at the news circling the camps.

He could imagine the man standing squarely, his kepi tilted just a bit to the right. Dusty but smiling he would chuckle in his thick brogue.

"Colonel Darlin' if this be the end o' this war then so be it. I'll just wait for the next one to come along an' hope to serve by your side sir."

He muttered softly to the Irishman's ghost, "Ah, but I'm not a Colonel Buster."

"Of course you're not a Colonel, you're a General of the 5th Corps."

Tom's reply broke him from his thoughts, obviously Tom had missed part of what he said, or had decided to ignore the fact that his elder sibling spoke to men that weren't there.

Tom stood in the saddle, straining to see something ahead of them. "Lawrence, do you see what I see?"

Chamberlain looked across the field, not sure what Tom was speaking of at first. The younger man became excited, something Chamberlain hadn't seen in years. He pointed ahead of them, slightly to their left.

"There! Do you see that!"

He held a hand up to shade his eyes against the glare of the spring sun, looking in the direction Tom was so enthusiastically pointing out to him. Along the distant tree line a horse and rider galloped through the lines, what had Tom so excited was a white flag of truce fluttering violently above the rider's head.

"I'll be damned."

Tom's enthusiasm had caught the attention of some of the surrounding tents, they looked in the direction their officers seemed so intent on and once seeing what the fuss was about they began their own whooping and cheering. No one was sure what it meant, but a white flag meant peace, and that could only be a good thing.

Not three hours later the news had spread through the camps, Lee and Grant had met at Appomattox Courthouse. It was over.


Three days later Chamberlain stood at the head of his old command,. The regiments of his brigade flanking on either side, waiting for the ceremony to commence. He still wasn't sure why Grant had appointed him to receive the last of the arms, and colors of those that had been the enemy for what seemed to be a life time. He looked at the faces of the men following him, familiar, dear, but suddenly unknown with the spirit and happiness restored to previously dead and tired eyes.

He noticed the attention of his men suddenly drawn to the end of the road, he turned the horse and made sure the street was clear for the oncoming men. Line after line marched passed them, tired, solemn, and many even crying. Chamberlain watched in silence as Generals filed through in front of their units. These men deserved to be honored, they may have been enemies, but he could see the faces of his own boys looking back at him in gray uniform. He looked to the men behind him.

"Shoulder, arms!"

He heard it repeated through the officers. From Tom and Ellis just behind him, before traveling down along the line. They followed the order as if it had been expected. There was no insubordination here.

The movement surprised General John Gordon, who was passing just in front of Chamberlain at the moment. He snapped his horse to attention and saluted , the Maine man nodded in reply.

We're equals.


The remaining arms had been collected. The regimental colors folded and laid to rest. The fields now glittered with camp fires, a welcome change to the glow of lanterns carried by those tending the wounded. Chamberlain set his writing aside as Tom approached him quietly.

"There's no picket fire Lawrence, it's all quiet and peaceful."

He nodded, still in slight shock of the days events.

Tom continued, "I'm going to write home to Sae about all this, anything you want me to say?"

Chamberlain thought for a moment, the family had fussed non stop over his wound at Petersburg, with good reason. He shifted uncomfortably, trying to ease the pressure.

"Tell them I'm well."

Tom looked at him knowingly, it was obvious he wasn't well. He nodded, though, before heaving a sigh.

"Buster would have been proud."

Chamberlain had found it interesting the way Tom had acquired the ability to surprise him with the slightest comments.

He abandoned his writing, "He wanted the Union to prevail more than anything, of course he'd be proud."

Tom sat heavily on the stool in front of his brother, looking at him intensely through the darkness. Firelight played across his face as he smiled at Chamberlain.

"God Almighty Lawrence, proud of you! What you did today!"

Chamberlain watched the fire, silently hoping Tom was right. Buster's friendship had meant so much to him. While he studied the flames Tom sat surveying the camps surrounding them. Instead of cries from wounded men waiting for aid, the air was filled with chatter, an occasional laugh. Music drifted in from the further reaching tents, the smell of food cooking in shared tins. He remembered something Kilrain had said at Gettysburg, in the shade of the tree.

"That's why we've got to win this war."

He looked at Tom and smiled, the younger man watching the camps around them in amazement. He made sure not to speak out loud, putting his hands behind his head he thought of a response. Hoping that wherever the Irishman was he'd hear him somehow.

"We did win you old Mick, I just wish you had been here to see it."

The evening had turned to night, and the campfires that glittered outshined any lantern light that had been seen before them.