The speaker is most likely the poet himself. He is a Northerner living during the Civil War. On Christmas Day he hears the bells ring out and is hopeful and glad, but when the South's cannons thunder he despairs. The bells ring louder, though, bringing him back to a feeling of peace.
Christmas Bells Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Christmas Bells is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.