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Transcript
Civil War Music Lyrics
Steal Away
Pre Civil War message song, used by slaves, to encourage escaping to the north.
Refrain
Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus!
Steal away, steal away home,
I ain’t got long to stay here.
My Lord, He calls me,
He calls me by the thunder;
The trumpet sounds within my soul,
I ain’t got long to stay here.
Refrain
Green trees are bending,
Poor sinners stand a-trembling;
The trumpet sounds within my soul,
I ain’t got long to stay here.
Refrain
My Lord, He calls me,
He calls me by the lightning;
The trumpet sounds within my soul,
I ain’t got long to stay here.
Battle Cry of Freedom
Written by George F. Root, “The Battle Cry of Freedom” was an immediate success in the North after its first public
performance on April 24, 1862. Considered a “rally” song, it was played and sung with gusto by virtually every Federal
regimental brass band and many others throughout the remainder of the war. Its tune also became popular in the South,
which composed its own lyrics.
Yes we’ll rally round the flag, boys, we’ll rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
We will rally from the hillside, we’ll gather from the plain,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
We are springing to the call with a million freemen more,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we’ll fill our vacant ranks of our brothers gone before,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
We will welcome to our numbers the loyal, true and brave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And although he may be poor, he shall never be a slave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
So we’re springing to the call from the East and from the West,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we’ll hurl the rebel crew from the land we love best,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
Confederate version lyrics:
Our flag is proudly floating on the land and on the main,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Beneath it oft we’ve conquered, and we’ll conquer oft again!
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Our Dixie forever! She’s never at a loss!
Down with the eagle and up with the cross!
We'll rally ‘round the bonny flag, we’ll rally once again,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Our gallant boys have marched to the rolling of the drums.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
And the leaders in charge cry out, “Come, boys, come!”
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!-Our Dixie forever! She’s never at a loss!
Down with the eagle and up with the cross!
We'll rally ‘round the bonny flag, we’ll rally once again,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
They have laid down their lives on the bloody battle field.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Their motto is resistance -- “To tyrants we’ll not yield!”
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!-Our Dixie forever! She’s never at a loss!
Down with the eagle and up with the cross!
We’ll rally ‘round the bonny flag, we’ll rally once again,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
While our boys have responded and to the fields have gone.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Our noble women also have aided them at home.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!-Our Dixie forever! She’s never at a loss!
Down with the eagle and up with the cross!
We'll rally ‘round the bonny flag, we’ll rally once again,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Battle Hymn of the Republic
Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1861 after visiting a Union army camp.
Utilizing the already popular abolitionist tune, “John Brown’s Body,” the Battle Hymn quickly became a rallying cry
and the most popular song of the war in the North.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.”
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
John Brown's Body
by Anonymous
John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
But his soul goes marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
His soul goes marching on.
He's gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord,
He's gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord,
He's gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord,
His soul goes marching on.
(Chorus)
John Brown's knapsack is strapped upon his back,
John Brown's knapsack is strapped upon his back,
John Brown's knapsack is strapped upon his back,
His soul goes marching on.
(Chorus)
John Brown died that the slaves might be free,
John Brown died that the slaves might be free,
John Brown died that the slaves might be free,
But his soul goes marching on.
(Chorus)
The stars above in Heaven now are looking kindly down,
The stars above in Heaven now are looking kindly down,
The stars above in Heaven now are looking kindly down,
On the grave of old John Brown.
(Chorus)
Dixie or Dixie Land
Loved by many, despised by others, “Dixie” is still among the most recognizable of all American songs. Ironically, it
was written by a Northerner, Daniel Decatur Emmett. Bryant’s (blackface) Minstrels premiered it in New York City
on April 4, 1859. “I Wish I Was in Dixie’s Land” was an instant hit, and its popularity spread quickly. By 1860 it was
especially enjoyed in Southern states and soon also among Confederate army bands. However, many Union bands
also played Dixie during the war, or versions of it, and President Lincoln included Dixie among his favorites.
I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten;
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie
Land.
In Dixie’s Land where I was born in,
Early on one frosty mornin,
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie
Land.
I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Old Missus marry “Will the weaver,”
Willium was a gay deceiver;
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie
Land.
And when he put his arm around ‘er,
He smiled as fierce as a forty-pounder,
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie
Land.
I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
His face was sharp as a butcher’s cleaver
But that did not seem to grieve ‘er
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie
Land.
Ole Missus acted the foolish part
She died for a man that broke her heart
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie
Land.
I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Now here’s to the health to the next ole Missus
An’ all the gals that want to kiss us;
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie
Land
And if you want to drive away sorrow
Come and hear our song tomorrow
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie
Land.
I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Dar’s buckwheat cakes an Injun batter,
Makes your fat a little fatter;
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie
Land.
Then hoe it down and scratch your gravel,
To Dixie’s Land I’m bound to travel.
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie
Land.
I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand
to live and die in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
Away, away, away down south in Dixie.
The Bonnie Blue Flag
A symbol of secession, the “Bonnie Blue Flag” was an unofficial flag of the Confederate States of America. It was a flag with a single large white
star on a dark blue field. It was especially popular during the war’s early years. The song by the same name combined lyrics written in 1861 by
Harry McCarthy with the tune “The Irish Jaunting Car.”
We are a band of brothers and native to the soil
Fighting for our liberty, with treasure, blood
and toil
And when our rights were threatened, the cry
rose near and far
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a
single star!
Hurrah! Hurrah!
For Southern rights, hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a
single star.
As long as the Union was faithful to her trust
Like friends and like brethren, kind we were,
and just
But now, when Northern treachery attempts
our rights to mar
We hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag that
bears a single star.
Hurrah! Hurrah!
For Southern rights, hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a
single star.
First gallant South Carolina nobly made the
stand
Then came Alabama and took her by the hand
Next, quickly Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida
All raised on high the Bonnie Blue Flag that
bears a single star.
Hurrah! Hurrah!
For Southern rights, hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a
single star.
Ye men of valor gather round the banner of the
right
Texas and fair Louisiana join us in the fight
Davis, our loved President, and Stephens
statesmen rare
Now rally round the Bonnie Blue Flag that
bears a single star.
Hurrah! Hurrah!
For Southern rights, hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a
single star.
Now here’s to brave Virginia, the old
Dominion State,
With the young Confederacy at length has
linked her fate,
Impelled by her example, now other states
prepare
To hoist high the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a
single star.
Hurrah! Hurrah!
For Southern rights, hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a
single star.
Then cheer, boys, cheer, and raise a joyous
shout
For Arkansas and North Carolina now have
both gone out,
And let another rousing cheer for Tennessee be
given,
The single star of the Bonnie Blue Flag has
grown to be eleven.
Hurrah! Hurrah!
For Southern rights, hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a
single star.
Then here’s to our Confederacy, strong we are
and brave,
Like patriots of old we’ll fight, our heritage to
save;
And rather than submit to shame, to die we
would prefer,
So cheer, cheer for the Bonnie Blue Flag that
bears a single star.
Maryland, My Maryland
The poem was a result of events at the beginning of the American Civil War. During the secession crisis, President Abraham Lincoln (referred to
in the poem as "the despot" and "the tyrant") ordered federal troops to be brought to Washington, D.C. to protect the capital. Many of these
troops were brought through Baltimore City, a major transportation hub. There was considerable Confederate sympathy in Maryland at the time.
Riots ensued as Federal troops came through Baltimore on their way south in April 1861 and were attacked by mobs. A number of Union troops
and Baltimore residents were killed in the Baltimore riots, including Francis X. Ward, a friend of James Ryder Randall. Randall, a native
Marylander, was teaching at Poydras College in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana at the time and, moved by the news of his friend's death,
wrote the nine-stanza poem, "Maryland, My Maryland". The poem was a plea to his home state of Maryland to secede from the Union and join
the Confederacy. The poem contains many references to the Revolutionary War as well as to the Mexican-American War and Maryland figures
in that war (many of whom have fallen into obscurity). It was first published in the New Orleans Sunday Delta on 26 April 1861.
The despot's heel is on thy shore,
Maryland!*
His torch is at thy temple door,
Maryland!
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,
Maryland! My Maryland!
With Ringgold's spirit for the fray,
With Watson's blood at Monterey,
With fearless Lowe and dashing May,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Come! for thy shield is bright and strong,
Maryland!
Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong,
Maryland!
Come to thine own anointed throng,
Stalking with Liberty along,
And chaunt thy dauntless slogan song,
Maryland! My Maryland!
II
Hark to an exiled son's appeal,
Maryland!
My mother State! to thee I kneel,
Maryland!
For life and death, for woe and weal,
Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Dear Mother! burst the tyrant's chain,
Maryland!
Virginia should not call in vain,
Maryland!
She meets her sisters on the plain"Sic semper!" 'tis the proud refrain
That baffles minions back amain,
Arise in majesty again,
Maryland! My Maryland!
II
Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Maryland!
Remember Carroll's sacred trust,
Remember Howard's warlike thrust,And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Come! 'tis the red dawn of the day,
Maryland!
Come with thy panoplied array,
Maryland!
II
I see the blush upon thy cheek,
Maryland!
V
For thou wast ever bravely meek,
Maryland!
But lo! there surges forth a shriek,
From hill to hill, from creek to creekPotomac calls to Chesapeake,
Maryland! My Maryland!
II
Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll,
Maryland!
Thou wilt not crook to his control,
Maryland!
Better the fire upon thee roll,
Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul,
Maryland! My Maryland!
I hear the distant thunder-hum,
Maryland!
The Old Line’s bugle, fife, and drum,
Maryland!
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumbHuzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! she burns! she'll come! she'll
come!
Maryland! My Maryland!
We Are Coming, Father Abr'am
by James Sloan Gibbon
In 1862, President Lincoln had called upon the states still loyal to the
union to provide an additional 300,000 soldiers to suppress the
rebellion. Maine’s quota was to supply four regiments of infantry to
fulfill the President’s request. But the patriotic sons of Maine turned
out in such great numbers that the state formed five regiments. The
20th Maine Volunteer Infantry became the home of the extra soldiers
and the extra regiment above and beyond what was required.
We are coming, Father Abr'am,
Three hundred thousand more,
From Mississippi's winding stream
And from New England's shore;
We leave our plows and workshops,
Our wives and children dear,
With hearts too full for utterance,
With but a silent tear,
We dare not look behind us,
But steadfastly before,
We are coming Father Abr'am,
Three hundred thousand more!
(Chorus)
We are coming, we are coming,
Our Union to restore,
We are coming Father Abr'am,
With three hundred thousand more,
We are coming Father Abr'am,
With three hundred thousand more,
If you look across the hilltops
That meet the Northern sky,
Long moving lines of rising dust
Your vision may descry;
And now the wind, an instant,
Tears the cloudy veil aside,
And floats aloft our spangled flag
In glory and in pride;
And bayonets in the sunlight gleam,
And bands brave music pour.
We are coming, Father Abr'am,
Three hundred thousand more!
(Chorus)
If you look all up our valleys
Where the growing harvests shine,
You may see our sturdy farmer boys
Fast forming into line;
And children from their mother's knees
Are pulling at the weeds,
And learning how to reap and sow
Against their country's needs;
And a farewell group stands weeping
At every cottage door.
We are coming, Father Abr'am,
Three hundred thousand more!
(Chorus)
You have called us and we're coming,
By Richmond's bloody tide,
To lay us down for Freedom's sake,
Our brothers' bones beside;
Or from foul treason's savage group,
To wrench the murderous blade;
And in the face of foreign foes
Its fragments to parade;
Six hundred thousand loyal men
And true have gone before.
We are coming Father Abr'am,
Three hundred thousand more!
Marching Through Georgia
The composer also of “Kingdom Coming” (1862) and “Grandfather’s Clock” (1876), abolitionist Henry Clay Work (1832-1884) wrote “Marching Through Georgia” in
1865 in tribute to Sherman’s March to the Sea. A tremendous post-Civil War hit in the North, the song was almost universally detested in the South. Ironically, General
Sherman also came to dislike the song, because it was always featured by bands at the many Federal veteran reunions he attended.
Ring the good ol' Bugle boys! We'll sing
another song,
Sing it with a spirit that will start the world
along,
Sing it as we used to sing it fifty thousand
strong,*
While we were marching through Georgia.
Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the Jubilee.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The flag that makes you free,
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea,
While we were marching through Georgia.
How the darkeys shouted when they heard the joyful
sound,
How the turkeys gobbled which our commissary
found,
How the sweet potatoes even started from the
ground,
While we were marching through Georgia.
Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the Jubilee.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The flag that makes you free,
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea,
While we were marching through Georgia.
Yes and there were Union men who wept with joyful
tears,
When they saw the honored flag they had not seen
for years;
Hardly could they be restrained from breaking forth
in cheers,
While we were marching through Georgia.
Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the Jubilee.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The flag that makes you free,
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea,
While we were marching through Georgia.
"Sherman's dashing Yankee boys will never reach
the coast!"
So the saucy rebels said and 'twas a handsome boast
Had they not forgot, alas! to reckon with the Host
While we were marching through Georgia.
Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the Jubilee.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The flag that makes you free,
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea,
While we were marching through Georgia.
So we made a thoroughfare for freedom and her
train,
Sixty miles in latitude, three hundred to the main;
Treason fled before us, for resistance was in vain
While we were marching through Georgia.
Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the Jubilee.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The flag that makes you free,
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea,
While we were marching through Georgia.
"Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! (The Prisoner's Hope)"
It was one of the most popular songs of the American Civil War. George F. Root wrote both the words and music and published it
in 1864 to give hope to the Union prisoners of war.[1] The song is written from the prisoner's point of view. The chorus tells his
fellow prisoners that hope is coming.
First Verse:
In the prison cell I sit,
And we heard the cry of vict’ry o’re and o’re,
Thinking Mother dear, of you,
And our bright and happy home so far away,
(Chorus)
And the tears they fill my eyes
Spite of all that I can do,
Tho' I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.
So within the prison cell
Chorus:
Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,
Cheer up comrades they will come,
And beneath the starry flag
We shall breathe the air again,
Of the freeland in our own beloved home.
In the battle front we stood
When their fiercest charge they made,
And they swept us off a hundred men or
more,
But before we reached their lines,
They were beaten back dismayed,
See next page for another version
We are waiting for the day
That shall come to open wide the iron door,
And the hollow eye grows bright,
And the poor heart almost gay,
As we think of seeing home and friends once
More.
(Chorus)
Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (Another version)
In my prison cell I sit,
thinking, Mother, dear, of you,
and my happy Southern home so far away;
and my eyes they fill with tears
'spite of all that I can do,
though I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.
Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!
The boys are marching;
cheer up, comrades, they will come.
And beneath the stars and bars
we shall breathe the air again
of freemen in our own beloved home..
In the battle front we stood
when their fiercest charge they made,
and our soldiers by the thousands sank to die;
but before they reached our lines,
they were driven back dismayed,
and the "Rebel yell"went upward to the sky.
Now our great commander Lee
crosses broad Potomac's stream,
and his legions marching Northward take their way.
On Pennsylvania's roads
will their trusty muskets gleam,
and her iron hills shall echo to the fray.
In the cruel stockade-pen
dying slowly day by day,
for weary months we've waited all in vain;
but if God will speed the way
of our gallant boys in gray,
I shall see your face, dear Mother, yet again.
When I close my eyes in sleep,
all the dear ones 'round me come,
at night my little sister to me calls;
and mocking visions bring
all the warm delights of home,
while we freeze and starve in Northern prison walls.
So the weary days go by,
and we wonder as we sigh,
if with sight of home we'll never more be blessed.
Our hearts within us sink,
and we murmur, though we try
to leave it all with him who knowest best.
Just before the Battle, Mother
It was a popular song during the American Civil War, particularly among troops in the Union Army. It was written and published by Chicago-based George
F. Root. It was also a popular song with adherents of the Primrose League in England, and was a central part of Victoria Day celebrations
in Canada during the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th Centuries.
[Just before the battle, mother,
In every battle kill our soldiers
I am thinking most of you,
By the help they give the foe.
While upon the field we're watching
With the enemy in view.
Comrades brave are 'round me lying,
Filled with thoughts of home and God
For well they know that on the morrow,
CHORUS:
Farewell, mother, you may never
Press me to your heart again,
But, oh, you'll not forget me, mother,
If I'm numbered with the slain.
Some will sleep beneath the sod.
Hark! I hear the bugles sounding,
CHORUS:
Farewell, mother, you may never
Press me to your heart again,
But, oh, you'll not forget me, mother,
If I'm numbered with the slain.
'Tis the signal for the fight,
Now, may God protect us, mother,
As He ever does the right.
Hear the "Battle-Cry of Freedom,"
How it swells upon the air,
Oh, I long to see you, mother,
Oh, yes, we'll rally 'round the standard,
And the loving ones at home,
Or we'll perish nobly there.
But I'll never leave our banner,
Till in honor I can come.
Tell the traitors all around you
That their cruel words we know,
CHORUS:
Farewell, mother, you may never
Press me to your heart again,
But, oh, you'll not forget me, mother,
If I'm numbered with the slain.
Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground
by Walter Kittredge
Walter Kittredge, author and composer of this song, records that it was written at a time when he expected to go South to join the Union forces.
He was rejected by the surgeon and could not go. Being a singer by profession, he decided to do his part by "singing for Uncle Sam." This song
is one of the few that survived the American Civil War.
We're tenting tonight on the old camp ground,
Give us a song to cheer
Our weary hearts, a song of home,
And friend we love so dear.
(Chorus)
Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the hearts that are looking for the right
To see the dawn of peace.
Tenting tonight, tenting tonight,
Tenting on the old camp ground
We've been tenting tonight on the old camp ground,
Thinking of days gone by,
Of the loved ones at home that gave us the hand
And the tear that said "Goodbye!"
(Chorus)
We are tired of war on the old camp ground,
Many are dead and gone,
Of the brave and true who've left their homes,
Others been wounded long.
(Chorus)
We've been fighting today on the old camp ground,
Many are lying near;
Some are dead and some are dying,
Many are in tears.
Many are the heart who are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the hearts that are looking for the right
To see the dawn of peace
Dying tonight, dying tonight,
Dying on the old camp ground
All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight
All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight" was a poem first published as "The Picket Guard" by Ethel Lynn Beers in Harper's Weekly, November 30, 1861,
attributed only to "E.B." The poem was based on newspaper reports of "all is quiet tonight", which was based on official telegrams sent to the Secretary of
War by Major-General George B. McClellan following the First Battle of Bull Run. Beers noticed that the report was followed by a small item telling of
a picket being killed. She wrote the poem that same morning, and she read it in September 1861. In 1863, the poem was set to music by John Hill Hewitt
himself a poet, newspaperman, and musician, who was serving in the Confederate Army.
"The Picket-Guard", Harper's Weekly, 1861:
“All quiet along the Potomac," they say,
"Except now and then a stray picket
Is shot, as he walks on his beat, to and fro,
By a rifleman hid in the thicket.
'T is nothing—a private or two, now and then,
For their mother,—may Heaven defend her!
The moon seems to shine just as brightly as then,
That night when the love yet unspoken
Leaped up to his lips—when low, murmured vows
Were pledged to be ever unbroken;
Will not count in the news of the battle;
Not an officer lost—only one of the men,
Moaning out, all alone, the death rattle."
Then drawing his sleeve roughly over his eyes,
He dashes off tears that are welling,
And gathers his gun closer up to its place,
All quiet along the Potomac to-night,
Where the soldiers lie peacefully dreaming;
Their tents in the rays of the clear autumn moon,
Or the light of the watch-fires, are gleaming.
A tremulous sigh, as the gentle night wind
As if to keep down the heart-swelling.
He passes the fountain, the blasted pine tree,—
The footstep is lagging and weary;
Yet onward he goes, through the broad belt of
light,
Toward the shade of the forest so dreary.
Through the forest leaves softly is creeping;
While stars up above, with their glittering eyes,
Keep guard—for the army is sleeping.
There's only the sound of the lone sentry's tread
Hark! was it the night wind that rustled the
leaves?
As he tramps from the rock to the fountain,
And he thinks of the two in the low trundle-bed,
Was it moonlight so wondrously flashing?
It looked like a rifle—"Ha! Mary, good-by!"
Far away in the cot on the mountain.
And the life-blood is ebbing and plashing.
All quiet along the Potomac to-night,—
His musket falls slack; his face, dark and grim,
Grows gentle with memories tender,
As he mutters a prayer for the children asleep,
No sound save the rush of the river;
While soft falls the dew on the face of the dead,—
The picket's off duty forever.
The Girl I Left Behind
Me
By: Anonymous
The hours sad I left a maid
A lingering farewell taking
Whose sighs and tears my steps
delayed
I thought her heart was breaking
In hurried words her name I blest
I breathed the vows that bind me
And to my heart in anguish
pressed
The girl I left behind me
Then to the east we bore away
To win a name in story
And there where dawns the sun of
day
There dawned our sun of glory
The place in my sight
When in the host assigned me
I shared the glory of that fight
Sweet girl I left behind me
Though many a name our banner
bore
Of former deeds of daring
But they were of the day of yore
In which we had no sharing
But now our laurels freshly won
With the old one shall entwine me
Singing worthy of our size each
son
Sweet girl I left behind me
The hope of final victory
Within my bosom burning
Is mingling with sweet thoughts of
thee
And of my fond returning
But should I n'eer return again
Still with thy love i'll bind me
Dishonors breath shall never stain
The name I leave behind me
Much folklore has arisen regarding this tune. One source states the tune was
popular as far back as Queen Elizabeth's (Elizabeth I) reign and was played
whenever a regiment left town or a man-of-war set sail. Another theory is that
the tune originated in 1758 when Admiral's Hawke and Rodney were watching
the French fleet off the coast.*
Theodore Ralph writes that the tune was known in America as early as
1650 and indicates it was a traditional fife tune, imported from England as
Brighten Camp. The tune became generally popular during the Revolution
and again during the Civil War.
See the next page for the Brighton Camp set of lyrics to the tune.
The Girl I Left Behind Me
(Brighton Camp
version)
I'm lonesome since I crossed the hill,
And o'er the moorland sedgy
Such heavy thoughts my heart do fill,
Since parting with my Betsey
I seek for one as fair and gay,
But find none to remind me
How sweet the hours I passed away,
With the girl I left behind me.
O ne'er shall I foget the night,
the stars were bright above me
And gently lent their silv'ry light
when first she vowed to love me
But now I'm bound to Brighton camp
kind heaven then pray guide me
And send me safely back again,
to the girl I left behind me
Her golden hair in ringlets fair,
her eyes like diamonds shining
Her slender waist, her heavenly face,
that leaves my heart still pining
Ye gods above oh hear my prayer
to my beauteous fair to find me
And send me safely back again,
to the girl I left behind me
The bee shall honey taste no more,
the dove become a ranger
The falling waters cease to roar,
ere I shall seek to change her
The vows we made to heav'n above
shall ever cheer and bind me
In constancy to her I love,
the girl I left behind me
Goober Peas
Written perhaps by anonymous Confederate soldiers, “Goober Peas” made light of the very real Southern food shortages late in the war. Published after the war,
A. E. Blackmar continued the songs’ humorous connotations by crediting its authorship to “A. Pindar” and “P. Nutt.”
Sitting by the roadside on a summer’s day
Chatting with my mess-mates, passing time away
Lying in the shadow underneath the trees
Goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
When a horse-man passes, the soldiers have a rule
To cry out their loudest, “Mister, here’s your mule!”
But there’s another pleasure, enchanting-er than these
Is wearing out your grinders, eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
Just before the battle, the General hears a row
He says “The Yanks are coming, I hear their rifles now.”
He turns around in wonder, and what d’ya think he sees?
The Georgia Militia, eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
I think my song has lasted almost long enough.
The subject’s interesting, but rhymes are mighty rough.
I wish the war was over, so free from rags and fleas
We’d kiss our wives and sweethearts, and gobble goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
Weeping, Sad and Lonely
H. Tucker
Weeping, Sad and Lonely was a collaborative effort of lyricist Charles Carroll Sawyer and
composer Henry Tucker. Sawyer's lyrics avoided taking sides. Consequently his pieces were
well received in both the North and the South. Sheet music sales for Weeping, Sad and Lonely
reached the million mark. With slight adjustments Weeping, Sad and Lonely safely made the trip
down South.
Dearest love, do you remember
When we last did meet,
How you told me that you loved me,
Kneeling at my feet?
Oh! How proud you stood before me,
In your suit of gray,
When you vow'd to me and country,
To be true always.
Chorus
Weeping, sad and lonely,
Hopes and fears, how vain.
When this cruel war is over,
Praying! That we'll meet again.
When the summer breeze is sighing,
Mournfully, along!
Or when autumn leaves are falling,
Sadly breathes the song.
Oft in dreams I see thee lying
On the battle plain,
Lonely, wound, even dying;
Calling, but in vain.
Chorus
If amid the din of battle,
Nobly you should fall,
Far away from those who love you,
None to hear your call.
Who would whisper words of comfort,
Who would soothe your plain?
Ah! The many cruel fancies,
Ever in my brain.
Chorus
When Johnny Comes Marching Home
by Patrick S. Gilmore
Still inspired by his hope for peace and for soldiers to come home from war to a life they once knew, Gilmore wrote When Johnny
Comes Marching Home in 1863 in New Orleans. At the time, he was Grand Master of the Union Army. He had the task of reorganizing
the State of Louisiana's military bands. During his tenure, the song made it from Gilmore's creative mind onto music paper. It began a
fantastic journey for this piece of music, one that continues to this day.
Some feel the song is similar to the Irish tune "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye". This song tells the story of a soldier returning from war with
crippling injuries. Gilmore stated that he adapted the song from an African American spiritual song. He wrote the song for his sister,
Annie Gilmore, as a cry to her true love, John O'Rourke. A Union Army soldier, O'Rourke was the future brother-in-law of Patrick
Gilmore. When completed the song grew in popularity. It did indeed inspire hope in war-weary listeners, becoming popular in the North
as well as the South. It became a published piece of sheet music in 1863 when Henry Tolman and Company of Boston printed it.
When Johnny comes marching home again,
Hurrah, hurrah,
We'll give him a hearty welcome then,
Hurrah, hurrah!
The men will cheer, the boys will shout,
The ladies, they will all turn out,
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.
The old church bell will peal with joy,
Hurrah, hurrah!
To welcome home our darling boy,
Hurrah, hurrah!
The village lads and lassies say,
With roses they will strew the way,
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.
Get ready for the Jubilee,
Hurrah, hurrah!
We'll give the hero three times three,
Hurrah, hurrah!
The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon his loyal brow,
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny come marching home.
Let love and friendship on that day,
Hurrah, hurrah!
Their choicest treasures then display,
Hurrah, hurrah!
And let each one perform some part,
To fill with joy the warrior's heart,
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.
Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier
This is an Irish melody which came here early and was adapted for the Revolution, and still sung during the Civil War. It relates to all women left to
wonder as their husbands leave for the battlefield. It's important to know that when the young wife offers to sell her spinning wheel and flax, she is making
a very significant contribution to the war effort. The soldiers had to arm and outfit themselves and this often demanded great sacrifice from the family left
behind.
Here I sit on Butternut hill,
Who could blame me, cry my fill,
And every tear would turn a mill,
Johnny's gone for a soldier.
I'll sell my flax,
I'll sell my wheel,
To buy my love a sword of steel,
A sword that in battle he might wield,
Johnny's gone for a soldier.
Me oh my, I loved him so,
Broke my heart to see him go.
And only time will heal my woe.
Johnny's gone for a soldier.
The Rebel Soldier (Southern Appalachian folk song)
by Anonymous Many of the soldiers in the North as well as the South were young and unmarried.
In this folk song from Southern Appalachia, a Confederate soldier pines for his family and his
sweethear
O Polly, O Polly,
It's for your sake alone,
I've left my old father,
My country and my home.
I've left my old mother
To weep and to mourn,
I am a Rebel soldier
And far from my home.
It's grape shot and musket,
And the cannons lumber loud,
There's many a mangled body,
The blanket for their shroud;
There's many a mangled body
Left on the fields alone,
I am a Rebel soldier
And far from my home.
I'll eat when I'm hungry,
I'll drink when I am dry,
If the Yankees don't kill me,
I'll live until I die;
If the Yankees don't kill me
And cause me to mourn,
I am a Rebel soldier
And far from my home.
Here's a good old cup of brandy
And a glass of nice wine,
You can drink to your true love,
And I will drink to mine;
And you can drink to your true love,
And I'll lament and mourn,
I am a Rebel soldier
And far from my home.
I'll build me a castle on the mountain,
On some green mountain high,
Where I can see Polly
As she is passing by;
Where I can see Polly
And help her to mourn
I am a Rebel soldier
And far from my home.
Lorena
by Rev. H.D.L.d Webster
"Lorena" is an antebellum song with Northern origins. The lyrics were written in 1856 by Rev. Henry D. L. Webster, after a broken engagement. He wrote a
long poem about his fiancée but changed her name to "Lorena," an adaptation of "Lenore" from Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven." Henry Webster's
friend Joseph Philbrick Webster wrote the music, and the song was first published in Chicago in 1857. It became a favorite of soldiers of both sides during
the American Civil War.
During the American Civil War, soldiers on both sides of the conflict thought of their wives and girlfriends back home when they heard the song "Lorena."
One Confederate officer even attributed the South's defeat to the song. He reasoned that upon hearing the mournful ballad the soldiers grew so homesick
that they lost their effectiveness as a fighting force.
The tune of this song is used in the saloon scene near the beginning of the movie “Cowboys and Aliens”, played on fiddle. The saloon keeper tells the
fiddler that it is too melancholy and asks him to play a different tune. Near the end of the movie, the piano player plays an upbeat version of the tune, and
the crowd celebrates their victory over the aliens by dancing to it.
The years creep slowly by, Lorena,
The snow is on the grass again;
The sun's low down the sky Lorena,
The frost gleams where the flowers have been;
But the heart throbs on as lovely now,
As when the summer days were nigh;
Oh, the sun can never dip so low,
Adown affection's cloudless sky.
A hundred months have passed, Lorena,
Since last I held your hand in mine,
And felt that pulse beat fast, Lorena,
Though mine beat faster far than thine;
A hundred months -- 'twas flow'ry May,
When up the hilly slopes we climbed,
To watch the dying of the day,
And hear the distant church bells chimed.
We loved each other then, Lorena,
More than we ever dared to tell,
And what we might have been, Lorena,
Had but our loving prospered well -But then, 'tis past, the years are gone,
I'll not call up their shadowy forms;
I'll say to them, "Lost years, sleep on,
Sleep on, nor heed life's pelting storms."
The story of the past, Lorena,
Alas, I care not to repeat,
The hopes that could not last, Lorena,
They lived, but only lived to cheat;
I would not cause e'en one regret,
To rankle in your bosom now;
For "if we try, we may forget,"
Were words of thine long years ago.
Yes, these were words of thine, Lorena,
They burn within my memory yet;
They touch some tender chords, Lorena,
Which thrill and tremble with regret;
'Twas not thy woman's heart that spoke;
Thy heart was always true to me -A duty, stern and pressing, broke
The tie which linked my soul to thee.
It matters little now, Lorena,
The past -- is in eternal past,
Our heads will soon lie down, Lorena,
Life's tide is ebbing out so fast;
There is a future -- Oh, thank God -Of life this is so small a part,
'Tis dust to dust beneath the sod,
But there, up there, 'tis heart to heart.
The Yellow Rose of Texas
"The Yellow Rose of Texas" is a traditional folk song. Its original version became associated with the legend of how an indentured servant named Emily D. West
(aka Emily Morgan) unwittingly aided Texans in winning the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle in their War of Independence from Mexico. During the Civil
War the song was popular with Confederate soldiers, especially Texans. The last verse was altered after the defeat of General John Bell Hood's Confederate army
at the Battle of Nashville in December 1864. “I'm going back to Georgia, to find my Uncle Joe” refers to the Confederate soldier’s preference for the leadership of
General Joseph E. Johnston, who had commanded the army during the earlier portions of the Atlanta Campaign before being replaced by Hood.
There's a yellow rose in Texas, that I am going to
see,
No other soldier knows her, no soldier only me
She cryed so when I left her it like to broke my
heart,
And if I ever find her, we nevermore will part.
She's the sweetest rose of color this soldier ever
knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds, they sparkle like
the dew;
You may talk about your Dearest May, and sing of
Rosa Lee,
But the Yellow Rose of Texas beats the belles of
Tennessee.
Where the Rio Grande is flowing, and the starry
skies are bright,
She walks along the river in the quiet summer night:
She thinks if I remember, when we parted long ago,
I promised to come back again, and not to leave her
so.
She's the sweetest rose of color this soldier ever
knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds, they sparkle like
the dew;
You may talk about your Dearest May, and sing of
Rosa Lee,
But the Yellow Rose of Texas beats the belles of
Tennessee.
Oh my feet are torn and bloody, and my heart is full
of woe,
I'm going back to Georgia, to find my Uncle Joe,
You may talk about your Beauregard, and sing of
Bobby Lee,
But the gallant Hood of Texas, he played hell in
Tennessee.
She's the sweetest rose of color this soldier ever
knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds, they sparkle like
the dew;
You may talk about your Dearest May, and sing of
Rosa Lee,
But the Yellow Rose of Texas beats the belles of
Tennessee.
I CAN WHIP THE SCOUNDREL (or Old Abner’s Shoes)
"This Civil War ballad refers to a February 9, 1864 raid by the Fortieth Massachusetts Infantry on Confederate supplies at Baldwin, a railroad junction
town twenty miles west of Jacksonville."
The Yankees came to Baldwin; they came up in the rear;
They thought they'd find old Abner, but old Abner was not there.
Chorus
So lay ten dollars down, or twenty if you choose,
For I can whip the scoundrel that stole old Abner's shoes.
Jeff Davis was a gentleman, Abe Lincoln was a fool.
Jeff Davis rode a dapple gray, Abe Lincoln rode a mule.
Chorus
The Yankees took me prisoner, they used me rough, it's true;
They took from me my knapsack, and stole my blankets too.
Chorus
The Yankees took me prisoner, and if I can get parole,
I'll go right back and fight them, I will, upon my soul.
Chorus
TAPS, circa 1862
It all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's
Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land. During the night, Captain
Ellicombe heard the moan of a soldier who lay mortally wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate
soldier, the captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach
through the gunfire, the captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment. When the captain
finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The captain lit a
lantern. Suddenly he caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own
son. The boy has been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, he enlisted in the
Confederate Army. The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full
military burial despite his enemy status. His request was partially granted. The captain had asked if he could have a group of
Army band members play a funeral dirge of the son at the funeral. That request was turned down since the soldier was a
Confederate. Out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician. The captain chose a bugler. He
asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform. This
wish was granted. This music was the haunting melody we now know as "Taps" used at military funerals.
Listen to TAPS while you read the lyrics.
LYRICS
Day is done,
gone the sun,
from the lakes
from the hills
from the sky,
all is well,
safely, rest,
God is near.
Fading light,
Dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky
Gleaming bright,
From afar,
Drawing, near,
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
Neath the sun
Neath the stars
Neath the sky,
As we go,
This, we, know,
God is near.
Music of the American Civil War
During the American Civil War, music played a prominent role on both sides of the conflict: Union and Confederate. On the American Civil
War battlefield, different instruments including bugles, drums, and fifes were played to issue marching orders or sometimes simply to
boost the morale of one's fellow soldiers. Singing was also employed as a recreational activity, but as a release from the inevitable
tensions that come with fighting in a war, particularly a war in which the issue of freedom of a race is to be decided. In camp, music was a
diversion away from the bloodshed, helping the soldiers deal with homesickness and boredom. Soldiers of both sides often engaged in
recreation with musical instruments, and when the opposing armies were near each other, sometimes the bands from both sides of the
conflict played against each other on the night before a battle.
Each side had its particular favorite tunes, while some music was enjoyed by Northerners and Southerners alike, as exemplified by United
States President Abraham Lincoln’s love of Dixie, the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy. To this day, many of the songs are sung
when a patriotic piece is required. The war's music also inspired music artists such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Elvis Presley.
The Civil War was an important period in the development of American music. During the Civil War, when soldiers from across the
country commingled, the multifarious strands of American music began to cross fertilize each other, a process that was aided by the
burgeoning railroad industry and other technological developments that made travel and communication easier. Army units included
individuals from across the country, and they rapidly traded tunes, instruments and techniques. The songs that arose from this fusion
were "the first American folk music with discernible features that can be considered unique to America". The war was an impetus for the
creation of many songs that became and remained wildly popular; the songs were aroused by "all the varied passions (that the Civil War
inspired)" and "echoed and re-echoed" every aspect of the war. John Tasker Howard has claimed that the songs from this era "could be
arranged in proper sequence to form an actual history of the conflicts; its events, its principal characters, and the ideals and principles of
the opposing sides".
In addition to, and in conjunction with, popular songs with patriotic fervor, the Civil War era also produced a great body of brass
band pieces, from both the North and the South, as well as other military musical traditions like the bugle call "Taps”.
Many soldiers brought musical instruments from home to pass the time at camp. Banjos, fiddles, and guitars were particularly popular.
Aside from drums, the instruments Confederates played were either acquired before the war, or imported, due to the lack of brass and the
industry to make such instruments.
Musical duels between the two sides were common, as they heard each other as the music traveled across the countryside. The night
before the Battle of Stones River, bands from both sides dueled with separate songs, until both sides started playing Home! Sweet
Home!, at which time soldiers on both sides started singing together as one. A similar situation occurred in Fredericksburg, Virginia in the
winter of 1862–3. On a cold afternoon a Union band started playing Northern patriotic tunes; a Southern band responded by playing
Southern patriotic tunes. This back and forth continued into the night, until at the end both sides played Home! Sweet
Home! simultaneously, to the cheers of both sides' forces. In a third instance, in the spring of 1863, the opposing armies were on the
opposite sides of the Rappahannock River in Virginia, when the different sides played their patriotic tunes, and at taps one side
played Home! Sweet Home!, and the other joined in, creating "cheers" from both sides that echoed throughout the hilly countryside.
Both sides sang Maryland, My Maryland, although the lyrics were slightly different. Another popular song for both was Lorena. When
Johnny Comes Marching Home was written in 1863 by Patrick Gilmore, an immigrant from Ireland, and was also enjoyed by both sides.