The troops were singing John Brown's Body as they marched. The Rev. James Freeman Clarke, who was watching them with the Howes, asked Ms. Howe if she could think up some more inspiring words for the rousing melody. That night at the Willard Hotel the opening line came to her in her sleep. She lit a candle, and completed the lyrics before dawn. She sold her poem to the Atlantic Monthly for ten dollars. It appeared on the front page of the February 1862 issue. Oliver Ditson and Company published the sheet music soon after.