John A. Joyce (1842 – 1915) was a Colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War, serving with the 24th Kentucky Infantry. Raised in West Virginia and Kentucky, after the war he settled in DC, earned a law degree, and worked for the Internal Revenue Service. He is the author of several books of poems, including Jewels of Memory, Zig-Zag, Brickbats and Bouquets, and Complete Poems. He also published a memoir, A Checkered Life. Joyce is buried in the cemetery he writes about in this poem, located in the Georgetown neighborhood. True to his own words, “to live and to rot, and then be forgot,” Joyce is little read or remembered today. His sentimental poem captures Washington thirty years after the Civil War ended, a city so completely transformed by the experience of the war that it still seemed omnipresent.