George Cary Eggleston.

American war ballads and lyrics: a collection of the songs and ballads of the colonial wars, the revolution, the war of 1812-15, the war with Mexico, and the civil war (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryGeorge Cary EgglestonAmerican war ballads and lyrics: a collection of the songs and ballads of the colonial wars, the revolution, the war of 1812-15, the war with Mexico, and the civil war (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 8)
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1knic?^crbocker IRugcjete

Nugget — "A diminutive mass of precious metal

For lull list see end of this volume

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And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting- in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.










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G. P. Putnam's Sons


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Electrotyped and Printed by
G. P. Putnam's Sons




acknowi^edgement .
Preface and Introduction .
The C01.ONIA1, Wars

LovEWEivi^'s Fight .

The Song of Braddock's Men
The RevoIvUTionary War

l^iBERTY Tree . . . .

Free America ....

Emancipation from British Dependence

Paui, Revere's Ride

Warren's Address .

Nathan Hai.e ....

The Bai,i,ad of Nathan Haee

The Battle of Trenton .

The Fate of John Burgoyne .

The Progress of Sir Jack Brag

War and Washington .


Taxation of America

The Battle of the Kegs









Carmen Bei^IvICOSUM
The Yankee Man-of-War
Paui. Jones' Victory.
The Royai, Adventurer
BuTAw Springs .
An Ancient Prophecy
The Dance .
Song of Marion's Men
Haii, C01.UMBIA .
The War of 1812-15

Truxton's Victory .
The *' C0NSTE1.1.AT10N "

The Wasp's Frowc .
" Constitution " and
The ' ' United States '
The "United States'
Perry's Victory.
Yankee Thunders .


Comrades ! Join the Fi,ag of
Our Nayy ....
The Star-Spangi.ed Banner
Sea and Land Victories
Oi,D Ironsides .
The Mexican War .

Monterey ....
BuENA Vista




AND " Macedonian '
AND " Macedonian '



The Bivouac of the Dead
The Civil, War ....

Brother Jonathan's Lament for Sister

Caroline ....
The Tavelfth of April .
Men of the North and West
Rhode Island to the South .
Our Country's Call
A Cry to Arms ....
The Banner of the Stars
The Flag of the Constellation
The Stars and Stripes .
The Bonnie Blue Flag .
The Stripes and the Stars .


The Oath of Freedom .

Civil War

The Massachusetts Line


The Charge by the Ford


Upon the Hill before Centreville






The Star-Spangi,ed Banner

The Coloniae Wars

Loveweee's Fight .

The Song oe Braddock's Men

The Revoeutionary War

Paue Revere' s Ride

The Baelad oe Nathan HaeE

The Battee of Trenton

The Fate of John Burgoyne

Carmen Beelicosum

The Yankee Man-of-War

Paue Jones' Victory

Song of Marion's Men .

The War of 1812-15



• 14

• 19

. 33

• 43

• 46

■ 48

■ 79
. 80

• 83

• 97



Truxton's Victory 107

' ' Constitution ' ' and ' ' Guerri^re ' ' .


The Star-Spangi^ed Banner


O1.D Ironsides ....


The Mexican War .




BuENA Vista


The Civii. War


The TwEiyFTH OF Aprii. .



The Banner of the Stars




The Massachusetts Line


Bethfi,. ....



Typogravures by W. Kurtz.


'T~'HE editor of these volumes makes grateful acknowl-
* edgment of the courtesy of Messrs. Houghton,
Mifflin, & Co., Harper & Brothers, Ticknor & Co., and
D. Lothrop & Co., in freely permitting him to make use
of poems of which they own the copyright, and of their
other good offices. He feels himself indebted also to the
living authors of many poems here presented, for their
readiness in consenting to the use of their writings, and
for the care that many of them have taken to furnish
him with correct versions of poems commonly printed
in inaccurate forms. He is under special obligations in
this regard to General Albert Pike, who has furnished
a transcript, from his own copy of a rare, privately
printed volume, of the stirring ballad " Buena Vista,"
for which a vain search had been made.


TN the preparation of these volumes there has been no
■I- attempt at completeness. The literature from which
the materials are drawn is much too vast to be com-
pressed into two little volumes like these. The aim has
been simply to make the collection fairly representative
in character, and to include in it those pieces relating to
our several wars which best reflect the spirit of the times
that produced them.

The work of selection in such a case must always be
difficult and the result more or less unsatisfactory. There
are man}- reasons for this, some of which no one who has
not undertaken a task of this kind can fully appreciate.
There is no fixed standard of judgment by w^hich to
make a certainly just comparative estimate of the quality
of several poems, some of which must be taken and the
others left. Merit, in the case of war poems, is the com-
posite result of so many different things that no criticism

lC>reface anD 1[ntrot)uction

can hope to make an entirely satisfactory qualitative
analysis of such literature. The poetic quality of some
pieces entitles them to editorial acceptance, quite irre-
spective of other considerations, while there are other
pieces having very little poetic quality, or none at all,
whose claim to consideration on other grounds is incou-
testible. Mr. Stedman's " Wanted— A Man," Mr. Will-
iam Winter's exquisitely tender poem " After All," Miss
Osgood's "Driving Home the Cows," and Mr. George
Parsons Lathrop's "Keenan's Charge," may serve as
examples of pieces which no editor with the lea?t capa-
city of poetic appreciation would hesitate to include in
such a collection on the ground of merit even if their
character were somewhat at variance, as in this case it
is not, with the scheme of the collection. On the other
hand there are such things as " Three Hundred Thousand
More," several of the rude songs of the war of 1812, and
many other pieces, which make equally imperative claims
to favor on grounds that have nu relation to the question
of poetic merit.

The song concerning the "Constitution and Guerriere,"
for example, is very nearly as destitute of poetic quality
as metrical writing can be, and yet no editor of a col-
lection like this would think of omitting ^ piece that had

Ipretace anO UntroDuction 5

for so many years stirred the hearts of patriots and
moved them to rejoice in the achievements of their coun-
try's heroes.

The complex nature of the considerations that must
determine the choice of poems for inclusion is but one of
several difficulties encountered in the execution of such
a task as this. In any event, many things must be
omitted which merit insertion, and the reader who misses
a favorite piece is prompt to point to others which seem
to him less worthy, and to ask why these were not made
to give place to the one omitted. There are three answers
to be made to the challenge of such a reader : first, that
his judgment in the matter may be wrong ; second, that
the editor, being human, may have erred in his choice ;
and third, that in a collection intended to be broadly
representative rather than complete, preference must
sometimes be given to the less worthy piece which
happens to reflect some phase of sentiment not otherwise
presented, even at the cost of sacrificing the worthier one
which illustrates aspects otherwise sufficiently shown.

So much by way of explanation, not of apology' ; for
if a book be in need of apology, no apology can be
sufficient for it.

In the matter of arrangement the poems naturally fall

preface anC> UntroOuction

into five principal groups. Within the groups the
chronology of the events referred to has been adopted
as a general rule of arrangement, while for the most
part poems that have no reference to particular events or
epochs have been placed at the end of the groups to
which they belong. No rule of arrangement, however,
has been permitted to dominate other considerations
where other considerations have seemed the more im-

In presenting the ballads and lyrics of the civil war, it
has been thought best not to give those from the North
and those from the South in separate groups. There are
several objections to such an arrangement, of which it is
perhaps sufficient to mention a single one, namely, that
by the separation of poems relating to the same events
or the same aspects of the struggle, much of their his-
torical significance is lost, and the comparison which the
reflective reader naturally wishes to make between the
moods, impulses, aspirations, and points of view of the
poets on opposite sides is rendered much more difficult
and less satisfactory.

It would be a special pity, for example, not to place in
juxtaposition Bryant's "Our Countrj^'s Call" and Tim-
rod's " A Cry to Arms." An essay of uo little value to

preface anO 1[ntroC)uction

the student of the inner springs of history might be
written upon these two poems with their strange simi-
larities and their still stranger contrasts. Indeed a critic
of creative ability might almost reconstruct the historv
of the events which produced the war, and discover the
characters and circumstances and, above all, the points
of view of the people on either side of the contest, by
a study of these two appeals, even if all other sources of
information were lost. For this and other reasons it has
been thought best to make but a single group of the
poems of the civil war, bringing together all those that
relate to the same or to like subjects, and indicating
the origin of the southern pieces by printing the word
'' Southern " at the end of each.

In the South during the civil war, almost all the adult
males, with some who were rather adolescent than adult,
were under arms. As a consequence, the men who wrote
the poetry of the Southern side were necessarily soldiers.
But in less peculiar circumstances the men who write
the poetry of war, the men who make the songs that
soldiers love to sing, the men who irresistibly stir
patriotism in the blood of youth, the men who embalm
heroic deeds in thrilling verse, and touch all hearts to
pity and all eyes to tears by the tender pathos of their

Ipreface anO "ffntro^uctfon

chronicles of suffering, are not the men who do the fight-
ing. It was not a soldier who wrote ' ' The Charge of the
Light Brigade," and it was the gentle master of Abbots-
ford that interpreted the daring deeds of knightly times
in song and story. So in our civil war the most and the
best of the poems, except as the matter was determined
at the South by peculiar circumstances, were the work
of men who were not themselves combatants. Cynical
reflections have sometimes been indulged in ou this
score, but they are unjust and shallow, as cynical re-
flections are apt to be. The qualities that make one a
poet are not those that make one a soldier. Sometimes
the two characters are united in one person, but that is
rare ; and the man who has the gift to write the poetry
of a war which involves human liberty as its issue, best
serves the cause by writing it. His part is as important
as that of the soldier who bears arms, and his influence
upon the result is quite as great. The patriotism and the
courage of the Greeks owed more to Homer than to the
warriors whose deeds he chronicled, and Paul Revere did
far less for his country by what was after all a common-
place horseback journey, than Longfellow long afterward
did by telling the story of that ride in quite other than
commonplace poetry.

Iprctace anD UntroDuction 9

Of the extent to which the war songs and ballads of a
people influence the character and destiny of that people,
much has been written, and the truth is not yet half
told. Our present concern with this literature, however,
has less regard to its influence than to its value as his-
torical material. History records the events in a nation's
life ; poetry, and especially ballad poetry, reflects the
character, the aspirations, the passions, and the purposes
of a people ; and viewed in this light a study of the war
ballads and lyrics of our country must fill every reader's
mind with hope and courage. Many of the poems pre-
sented in these little volumes are rude, some of them
being scarcely better than doggerel, while much of the
material is poetry of a very high order ; but there are
certain characteristics common to all the poems, and
these are the characteristics that distinguish a virile race
which encounters difficulty wdth stalwart courage and
confronts danger with an unruffled mind. It is the poe-
try of strength and manly self-reliance. There is not a
plaint of weakness anywhere in it. It is inspired from
beginning to end by a high and unfaltering faith in the
truth of the doctrines of human liberty that underlie our
entire history and constitute the vital principle of our

Ipretace aiiD UntroDuctiou

The ruder poems are a trifle truculent now and then
perhaps, but some little truculence may be allowed as a
poetic license to the poet who sings of his countrymen's
prowess in just wars. In preparing this little collection
the editor has had occasion to read anew the entire body
of American war poetry of the ballad and lyric class, and
he ends the examination with a feeling of intense satis-
faction in the knowdedge that there is not an unmanly or
a cowardly line in it and scarcely an ungenerous one.



[This ballad, written in 1725, soon after the battle of
May 8th, in that year, was said by a contemporary writer
to be "the most beloved song in all New England,"
though " Chevy Chace " had been known there almost as
well as in old England. The name of the author is lost to
us, but his work has been preserved in Penhallow's " His-
tory' of the Wars of New England with the Eastern In-
dians," 1726. The ballad is rude and destitute of poetic
quality ; but it has extraordinary interest as the earliest
American war ballad known to us as having been dear to
the hearts of the people who sang or recited it. It has
interest, also, as a reflection of manners. The commen-
dation bestowed upon the chaplain for scalping Indians
as well as killing them is suggestive. — Editor.]



OF worthy Captain Lovewell, I purpose now to sing,
How valiantly he served his country and his king ;
He and his valiant soldiers did range the woods full wide,
And hardships they endured to quell the Indian's pride.

'T was nigh unto Pigwacket, on the eighth day of May,
They spied a rebel Indian soon after break of day ;
He on a bank was walking, upon a neck of laud,
Which leads into a pond as w^e 're made to understand.


%ovc\vc\Vb 3Ff9bt 15

Our meu resolved to have him, aud travelled two miles

Until they met the Indian, who boldly stood his ground ;
Then up speaks Captain Lovewell : "Take you good

heed," says he,
"This rogue is to decoy us, I very plainly see.

"The Indians lie in ambush, in some place nigh at hand.
In order to surround us upon this neck of land ;
Therefore we '11 march in order, and each man leave his

pack ;
That we may briskly fight them, when they make their


They came unto this Indian, who did them thus defy,
As soon as they came nigh him, two guns he did let fly.
Which wounded Captain Lovewell, and likewise one man

But when this rogue was running, they laid him in his


Then having scalped the Indian, they went back to the

Where they had laid their packs down, but there they

found them not.
For the Indians having spied them, when they them

dow^n did lay.
Did seize them for their plunder, and carry them away.

i6 • Xoveweirs 3fi9bt

These rebels lay in ambush, this very place hard by,

So that an English soldier did one of them espy,

And cried out, "Here 's an Indian"! with that they

started out.
As fiercely as old lions, and hideously did shout.

With that our valiant English all gave a loud huzza.
To show the rebel Indians they feared them not a straw :
So now the fight began, and as fiercely as could be.
The Indians ran up to them, but soon were forced to flee.

Then spake up Captain L,ovewell, when first the fight

began :
" Fight on, my valiant heroes! You see they fall like

For as we are informed, the Indians were so thick
A man could scarcely fire a gun and not some of them hit.

Then did the rebels try their best our soldiers to sur-

But they could not accomplish it, because there was a

To which our men retreated, and covered all the rear.

The rogues were forced to face them, although they
skulked for fear.

Two logs there were behind them that close together lay,
Without being discovered, they could not get away ;

XovewelFs ^igbt 17

Therefore our valiant English they travelled in a row,
And at a handsome distance, as they were wont to go.

'T was ten o'clock in the morning when first the fight

And fiercely did continue until the setting sun ;
Excepting that the Indians some hours before 't was

Drew off into the bushes and ceased awhile to fight.

But soon again returned, in fierce and furious mood.
Shouting as in the morning, but yet not half so loud ;
For as we are informed, so thick and fast they fell,
Scarce twenty of their number at night did get home

And that our valiant English till midnight there did stay.
To see whether the rebels would have another fray ;
But they no more returning, they made off towards their

And brought away their wounded as far as they could


Of all our valiant English there were but thirty-four,
And of the rebel Indians there were about fourscore,
And sixteen of our English did safely home return.
The rest were killed and wounded, for which we all must

i8 ILoveweil'6 jfigbt

Our worthy Captain Lovewell among them there did die,
They killed Lieutenant Robbins, and wounded good

young Frye,
Who was our English chaplain ; he many Indians slew,
And some of them he scalped when bullets round him


Young Fullam, too, I '11 mention, because he fought so

Endeavoring to save a man, a sacrifice he fell :

But yet our valiant Englishmen in fight were ne'er dis-

But still they kept their motion, and Wymans captain

Who shot the old chief Pagus, which did the foe defeat,
Then set his men in order, and brought off the retreat;
And braving many dangers and hardships in the way,
They safe arrived at Dunstable, the thirteenth day of


Fort DiiQuesne Expedition, 1755.

arms, to arms ! my jolly grena-
diers !
Hark how the drums do roll it along !
To horse, to horse, with valiant good
cheer ;

"We '11 meet our proud foe before it is long.
Let not your courage fail you ;
Be valiant, stout, and bold ;
And it will soon avail you,
My loyal hearts of gold.
Huzzah, my valiant countr3'men ! — again I say huzzah !
'T is nobly done, — the day 's our own — huzzah, huzzah !


20 XLbc Song of 3BraODocF?'0 /llben

March on, inarch on, brave Braddock leads the foremost ;

The battle is begun as you may fairly see.
Stand firm, be bold, and it will soon be over ;

We '11 soon gain the field from our proud enemy.

A squadron now appears, my boys ;

If that they do but stand !

Boys, never fear, be sure you mind

The word of command !
Huzzah, my valiant countrymen ! — again I say huzzah !
'Tis nobly done, — the day 's our own — huzzah, huzzah !

See how, see how, they break and fly before us !
See how they are scattered all over the plain !
Now, now — now, now, our country will adore us !

In peace and in triumph, boys, when w^e return again I

Then laurels shall our glory crown

For all our actions told :

The hills shall echo all around.

My loyal hearts of gold.
Huzzah, my valiant countrymen ! — again I say huzzah !
'Tis nobly done, — the day 's our own — huzzah, huzzah !




(Published in the Pennsylvania Magazine, 1775.)

IN a chariot of light from the regions of day,
The Goddess of Liberty came ;
Ten thousand celestials directed the way,

And hither conducted the dame.
A fair budding branch from the gardens above,

Where millions with millions agree,
She brought in her hand as a pledge of her love,
And the plant she named Liberty Tree.

The celestial exotic struck deep in the ground.

Like a native it flourished and bore ;
The fame of its fruit drew the nations around.

To seek out this peaceable shore.
Unmindful of names or distinction they came,

For freemen like brothers agree ;
"With one spirit endued, they one friendship pursued,

And their temple was Liberty Tree.


24 Xiberti^ (Tree

Beneath this fair tree, Hke the patriarchs of old,

Their bread in contentment they ate,
Unvexed with the troubles of silver and gold,

The cares of the grand and the great.
With timber and tar they Old England supplied,

And supported her power on the sea ;
Her battles they fought, without getting a groat,

For the honor oi Liberty Tree.

But hear, O ye swains, 't is a tale most profane,

How all the tyrannical powers.
Kings, Commons, and Lords, are uniting amain,"^

To cut down this guardian of ours ;
From the east to the west blow the trumpet to arms,

Through the land let the sound of it flee,
Let the far and the near, all unite with a cheer.

In defence of our Liberty Tree.


[This poem first appeared in the newspapers in 1774,
and was ascribed to Joseph Warren. — Editor.]

THAT seat of Science, Athens,
And earth's proud mistress, Rome ;
Where now are all their glories ?
We scarce can find a tomb.
Then guard your rights, Americans,
Nor stoop to lawless sway ;
Oppose, oppose, oppose, oppose,
For North America.

We led fair Freedom hither.
And lo, the desert smiled !
A paradise of pleasure
Was opened in the wild !
Your harvest, bold Americans,
No power shall snatch away !
Huzza, huzza, huzza, huzza.
For free America.


26 3free Bmerlca

Torn from a world of tyrants,
Beneath this western sky,
We formed a new dominion,
A land of liberty :

The world shall own we 're masters here
Then hasten on the day :
Huzza, huzza, huzza, huzza,
For free America.

Proud Albion bowed to Caesar,
And numerous lords before ;
To Picts, to Danes, to Normans,
And many masters more :
But we can boast, Americans,
We 've never fallen a prey ;
Huzza, huzza, huzza, huzza.
For free America.

God bless this maiden climate,
And through its vast domain
May hosts of heroes cluster.
Who scorn to wear a chain :
And blast the venal sycophant
That dares our rights betray ;
Huzza, huzza, huzza, huzza.
For free America.

Ivift up your hands, ye heroes,
And swear with proud disdain,

3free Bmerica 27

The wretch that would ensnare you,
Shall lay his snares in vain :
Should Europe empty all her force,
We '11 meet her in array.
And fight and shout, and shout and fight
For North America.

Some future day shall crown us.
The masters of the main,
Our fleets shall speak in thunder
To England, France, and Spain ;
And the nations over the ocean spread
Shall tremble and obey
The sons, the sons, the sons, the sons,
Of brave America.



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Online LibraryGeorge Cary EgglestonAmerican war ballads and lyrics: a collection of the songs and ballads of the colonial wars, the revolution, the war of 1812-15, the war with Mexico, and the civil war (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 8)