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Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic

DigiTrad:
AIR CORPS LAMENT
ARSON, RAPE, AND BLOODY MURDER
BALLAD OF 5.60
BATTLE HYMN OF LT. CALLEY
BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC
BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLICAN
BLOOD ON THE RISERS (GORY, GORY)
CLIMBER'S GORY
CLIMBER'S GORY II
GLORY HOW PECULIAR
GORY, GORY (SKI)
JOHN BROWN'S BABY
JOHN BROWN'S BODY
JOHN BROWN'S PENIS
MACV MARCHING SONG
MARCHING SONG OG THE FIRST ARKANSAS (U.S.C.T.)
MARY ANN MCCARTHY
PINK PAJAMAS
SOLIDARITY FOREVER
THE AIR SCOUTS SONG
THE BUGS MARCHED DOWN THE AISLE
THE BURNING OF THE SCHOOL
THE CHARGE ON MOTHER JONES
THE DRAPES OF ROTH
THE HARTLEY BILL (or the Bosses Solidarity song)
THE JOY OF LOCOMOTION
TONGUE TWISTER
WE ARE FREE!
YOU CAN TELL A FIGHTER PILOT


Related threads:
Lyr Req: When the Red Revolution Comes (14)
Songs to the John Brown/Battle Hymn tune (69)
John Brown's Body in Europe (12)
(origins) Lyr Req/Add: Say Brothers Will You Meet Us? (23)
Lyr Req: Looking for Gory Gory (8)
Help: Chords for Battle Hymn of the Republic (5)
Tune Req: Alt. tunes for Battle Hymn of Republic (13)
John Brown's Body-parodies (25)
Lyr Add: Battle Hymn of the Republic (Mark Twain) (7)
Lyr Add: Mary Ann McCarthy (2)
(origins) Origins: 'Battle Hymn of Republic': addl. stanza? (15)
Lyr Req: Glory, Glory Psychotherapy (39)
The New Battle Hymn (Suffet) (6)
Lyr Req: 'Mayonnaise have seen the glory of ...' (5)


Uncle Jaque 09 May 01 - 10:49 PM
Haruo 09 May 01 - 11:35 PM
Allan C. 09 May 01 - 11:37 PM
paddymac 10 May 01 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,djh 10 May 01 - 10:53 AM
Melani 10 May 01 - 11:24 PM
GUEST,Fred 10 May 01 - 11:59 PM
raredance 11 May 01 - 12:10 AM
raredance 11 May 01 - 12:13 AM
raredance 11 May 01 - 12:20 AM
GUEST,Djh 11 May 01 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,djh 11 May 01 - 01:56 PM
Jim Krause 11 May 01 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,djh 11 May 01 - 03:46 PM
BanjoRay 11 May 01 - 07:17 PM
Rabbi-Sol 06 Jul 04 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 06 Jul 04 - 08:46 PM
GUEST 06 Jul 04 - 09:19 PM
Rabbi-Sol 06 Jul 04 - 11:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jul 04 - 11:18 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jul 04 - 11:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jul 04 - 11:53 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 07 Jul 04 - 12:13 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Jul 04 - 02:26 AM
masato sakurai 07 Jul 04 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Chanteyranger 07 Jul 04 - 02:14 PM
GUEST 07 Jul 04 - 04:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Jul 04 - 04:43 PM
masato sakurai 14 Nov 04 - 05:03 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Nov 04 - 03:42 PM
masato sakurai 15 Nov 04 - 04:10 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Nov 04 - 02:04 PM
Joe Offer 11 May 16 - 05:23 AM
nickp 11 May 16 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Lighter 11 May 16 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 11 May 16 - 07:32 PM
Joe Offer 11 May 16 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,Lighter 12 May 16 - 09:30 AM
Lighter 27 Mar 18 - 02:04 PM
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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 09 May 01 - 10:49 PM

I've read where "John Brown" was originally not the infamous Abolitionist who tried to hijack Harper's Ferry, but a Sgt. in the U.S. Army during or just after the Mexican War. As with many of these military marching or "cadence" songs, many of the verses were distinctly naughty, and seem to have been lost in the mists of history.

Although the later and more famous "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is supposedly based on this earlier work, they were appantly not melodically identical. Some sources relate that they used three "Glory"s in a row instead of one in the refrain, and one recording I have heard has a distinctly different melody to the familiar meter - it could pass as, and in fact may be, a harmony line to "Battle Hymn"... or perhaps it is the other way around!
Fairly credible ACW Historians have told me that "Battle Hymn" was probably seldom heard or sung within the Union Army, and never achieved anything like the popularity of Old "John Brown". That does not inhibit me in the least, of course, from playing it around reenactment events or encampments. For a Union Unit on the march, however, I think that you would be much more authentic to stick with JB.


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: Haruo
Date: 09 May 01 - 11:35 PM

Or, with Mother's Day upon us, Tramp, Tramp, Tramp

In my prison cell I sit, thinking, Mother dear, of you
and our bright and happy home so far away,
And the tears, they fill my eyes, 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 starry flag we will breathe the air again
Of the free land in our own beloved home.


Of course, "comrade" and "gay" may need glosses.

Liland

PS The tune is identical with "Jesus loves the little children", or at least as similar as JB's Body and the BHotR.


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: Allan C.
Date: 09 May 01 - 11:37 PM

Many years ago I had a chorus part in the musical, "John Brown's Body". Unlike the more common renditions you may find, the music for this was written/arranged by someone named Fenno Heath who was at one time the director of the Yale Glee Club. There was a particularly beautiful song having to do with the character, Melora, and her giving birth among the blackjack oaks. If anyone should happen to know of a source for this music I would deeply appreciate the opportunity to sing and play it once again.


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: paddymac
Date: 10 May 01 - 08:51 AM

Liland - The song you posted above was written by George Root, I think about 1857. I believe that the "Jesus" lyrics came along later. Sullivan's "God Save Ireland" was written about 1867. There are probably many other sets of lyrics written to Root's melody.


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: GUEST,djh
Date: 10 May 01 - 10:53 AM

There was an excellent documentary on John Brown on PBS last year. He publicly stated as a young man that God had charged him with the task of ending slavery! It always amazes me how the people with the craziest notions seem to get the job done. Not the notion of ending slavery of course, but the notion that the responsibility landed on his shoulders. Harpers Ferry set the wheels in motion irreversibly and John defiantly told them as much at his trail " The Truth goes marching on". The strangest thing about the tale is that there was a point when John gave up his quest, legal and health troubles led him to a quieter existence in upstate New York, then fate called him back.
I wonder when the tide will finally completely turn and John will be viewed in the proper light. The bravest and most honorable outlaw hero in American history. He is still viewed as a murderous lunatic by many. I've always loved that painting of him luming large in the forground, looking like a mad man Mosses in a tatered suit, while the civil war rages in his wake in the background.


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: Melani
Date: 10 May 01 - 11:24 PM

There is a particularly beautiful version of "Melora's Song" sung by Ann Mayo Muir on "Bok, Muir & Trickett--The First Fifteen Years, Vol.II." The words are from Stephen Vincent Benet's book-length poem, "John Brown's Body." I'm not familiar with the musical, but I'm guessing that the poem was the source of all the words to the songs.


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: GUEST,Fred
Date: 10 May 01 - 11:59 PM

In the introduction to The Civil War Songbook (Dover Publications), Richard Crawford reports that the Battle Hymn (published 1862) was sung to the tune of John Brown's Body, which was sung to a Sunday School hymn tune. The publication reprinted for JB's Body was titled "Glory, Hallelujah" and has the primary name as "Ellsworth's body lies...", with "John Brown's" written beneath it in subscript. Crawford makes no comment to enlighten this situation.

There is then another set of verses listed as sung by the Fourth Battalion of Rifles, 13th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers. It has the chorus starting "Glory! Glory! Glory for the North!"

I also saw the PBS show on John Brown. I'm not sure just what "the proper light" is on such individuals or times nor just how people are supposed to arrive at it. It seems to me that there are always many different opinions, just as with modern events. I was struck by the tone in the documentary that he certainly seemed like a religious zealot who was convinced that he was absolutely right. I can both admire and fear such people, whatever their cause may be. I am afraid that such things underlie much extremism, including such things as shooting people who disagree.

Anyway, enjoy music. May it bring more peace and understanding than it does enmity and disharmony.


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: raredance
Date: 11 May 01 - 12:10 AM

When in doubt , throw another story into the pot. The source of this is "The Singing Sixties" by W A and PW Heaps (1960 Univ Oklahoma Press). They say that the tune was composed some time before 1855 by a South Carolinian named William Steffe and had bcome popular at camp meetings with a chorus line of "Say, brothers, will you meet us on Canaan's happy shore?". When a battalion of the 12th Massachusetts Regiment was stationed at Fort Warren in Boston early in the war, some of the members used the tune to taunt a soldier named John Brown. The conversion to the Abolitionist John Brown was not a big step. The song was published in Boston in 1861 by Oliver Ditson & Co. with the title page: "the popular refrain of Glory, Hallelujah as sung by the Federal Volunteers throughout the union. It became the marching song of the 12th Regiment and quickly spread to other units when the 12th Regiment was sent to the battle front. It had a catchy rhythm and soldiers shouted the refrain on marches and many units added their own verses. When abolition became an official reason for the war, the song was used at many civilian political rallies and fund-raisers as well. It was variously called "Tthe John Brown Song", "John Brown's Body", or "Glory Hallelujah". A reproduction of the 1861 sheet music can be found in "The Civil War Songbook" by Richard Crawford (1977 Dover Publications). As alluded to by Uncle Jacques, the sheet music has 3 "glory's" in the second phrase of the refrain (but only two in the first and third). It also has the name "Ellsworth" as an alternative to "John Brown" , i.e both are printed. I do not know who Ellsworth might have been. Because of the popularity of the tune a number of potential and real poets came up with lyric versions that made no mention of John Brown. The 13th Massachusetts Regiment went off to battle with this set: Cheer for the banner as we rally 'neath the stars,
As we join the Northern legion and are off for the wars,
Ready for the onset, for bullet, blood and scars!
Cheer for the dear old flag!

Glory!, Glory! Glory for the North!
Glory to the soldiers she is sending forth!
Glory!, Glory! Glory for the North!
They'll conquer as they go.

Howe wrote her religious marching lyrics in November of 1861 and they were first published annonymously in the February 1862 Atlantic Monthly. Howe was piad $5. Sheet music published in 1862 in Boston by Oliver Ditson & Co. (this is also reproduced in the Crawford book) has on the title page: "Battle Hymn of the Republic, Adapted to the favorite melody of "Glory, Hallelujah," written by Mrs. Dr. S. G. Howe for the Atlantic Monthly". The tunes in the two sheet music pieces are the same (including the 3 "glory's" in the second line of the refrain).

rich r


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: raredance
Date: 11 May 01 - 12:13 AM

I see I repeated some of what Fred put up while I was writing.

rich r


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: raredance
Date: 11 May 01 - 12:20 AM

Here's another set of Civil War lyrics that didn't really catch on.
    Raise up the banner, let if float wide and free
    Over every valley, every hill and every sea;
    Victory shall crown it wherever it may be
    As they go marching on.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Hurrah, hip, hip, hurrah!

    Friends of the Union, let us sing, one and all,
    Cheering those who volunteer at our country's call;
    Fighting for the banner that never shall fall
    As they go marching on!

The camp song version I learned in the middle of another century were: John Brown's baby had a cold upon his chest
And they rubbed it with camphorated oil.

I guess that shows the state of the medical arts when I was young.

rich r


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: GUEST,Djh
Date: 11 May 01 - 01:35 PM

I hear you Fred, But, Lynching the Lynch mob and dying for a cause that is right and TRUE in every sense of the word is to my mind a desperate times call for desperate measures situation. His actions WERE extremist, but, those dark times required an extremist hero, he fit the bill. I don't think it fair to associate him with more misguided zealots.There is no grey area it is black and white.He was right , his enemies were wrong.
American slavery wasn't mild . It was a rip the muscle from the bone, rape and sell your wife, chop your feet off if you run, where's my bull whip, born and died in chains evil attrocity. Nations would war over such human rights voilations now, in the absence of an outraged proactive international community John took on the system.
If the story were Myth or Sci-fi, no one would question the hero's actions or motivation and you wouldn't have to change a single detail. Along those lines I always thought it would be cool if Clint Eastwood made a movie about him.
Glad to be living in brighter days, DJH


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: GUEST,djh
Date: 11 May 01 - 01:56 PM

Before anyone accusses me of being a zealot myself let me ad. Not agreeing with John is like being aware of the holacaust and burning your draft notice to world war 2. I wouldn't agree with 99.9/100 guys like John, but I would hope that I would be on his side were I there. Sometimes unfortunately the road to Heaven does go straight thru Hell.


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: Jim Krause
Date: 11 May 01 - 01:56 PM

A couple of things here:

First off, Ellsworth was Elmer Ellsworth, a young friend of Abraham Linclon's. He was shot by an enraged pro-slavery hotel owner in Baltimore weeks before Ft. Sumpter. Ellsworth became a sort of martyr for the Abolitionist cause. He was an officer, a Lieutenant I think, in a Federal volunteer militia unit.

I beg leave to disagree with Guest DjH. I do not think that the ends necessarily justify the means. The fact remains that even though John Brown's abolition sentiments were laudable, and right, he was nevertheless, a cold blooded murder, having slaughtered several unarmed pro-slavery men near modern Osowatamie, Kansas in 1856. Although there is absolutely no defence whatsoever for slavery, I also think that a jury would have been right in finding John Brown and three of his sons guilty of serial murder.
Jim


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: GUEST,djh
Date: 11 May 01 - 03:46 PM

Jim,
Weren't those unarmed men members of a lynch Mob that terrorized and murdered "uppidy" freed black men? There are times to fight for what is right, without the civil war defeat the south wasn't giving up slavery and the north wouldn't have made them give it up were it not to keep Great Britian from entering the war on the south's side.
I would normally come down on the side of passive resistance , but, passive resistance meant status quo at the time and the status quo was a nightmare. I am glad John Brown walked on to the stage of history.


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: BanjoRay
Date: 11 May 01 - 07:17 PM

Does anybody know where the old time tunes/songs John Brown's Dream and John Brown's March fit into all of this?

Cheers
Ray


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Subject: Origins: John Brown's Body & Battle Hymn of Repub
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 06 Jul 04 - 07:57 PM

Both, John Brown's Body and The Battle Hymn Of The Republic share the same melody. Who wrote the melody and which set of lyrics came first ?    SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Brown's Body & Battle Hymn of Repub
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 06 Jul 04 - 08:46 PM

John Brown's Body and the melody came first - I have read the melody was written by William Steffe.

The battle hymn of the republic was written by Mrs Julia Ward Howe and published in 1862 - her name was not printed and her payment was just 5 dollars.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Brown's Body & Battle Hymn of Repub
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jul 04 - 09:19 PM

IMO, the best set of words to TBHOTR come from Mark Twain. Worth learning.


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Brown's Body & Battle Hymn of Repub
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 06 Jul 04 - 11:08 PM

Can you post Twain's words here for the benefit of us all ?
SOL ZELLER


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Brown's Body & Battle Hymn of Repub
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jul 04 - 11:18 PM

See thread 34133 for some details and "Say Brothers, Will You Meet Us"
Brothers, Brown, Battle


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Subject: RE: Origins: John Brown's Body & Battle Hymn of Repub
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jul 04 - 11:32 PM

Interesting broadside at American Memory- "John Brown's Original Marching Song," melody "Brothers, Will You Meet Me." Johnson, publisher, Phila., n. d.
There are seven other broadsides, "Brown," "Battle Hymn," and "Ellsworth" at American Memory that give the tune as "Brothers,...."


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Subject: Lyr Add: JOHN BROWN'S ORIGINAL MARCHING SONG
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jul 04 - 11:53 PM

JOHN BROWN'S ORIGINAL MARCHING SONG
Tune- Brothers, Will You Meet Me.

John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave; 3x
His soul's marching on!

Chorus:
Glory, halle-hallelujah! Glory, halle-hallelujah!
Glory, halle-hallelujah! his soul's marching on!

John Brown's knapsack is strapped upon his back! 3x
His soul's marching on!

His pet lambs will meet him on the way; 3x
They go marching on!

They will hang Jeff Davis to a tree! 3x
As they march along!

Now three rousing cheers for the Union; 3x
As we are marching on!

J. H. Johnson, song publisher, Philadelphia, n. d. (1860-61?)
Source: American Memory Collection, Library of Congress


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 07 Jul 04 - 12:13 AM

Mr?Ms Q???

Nice addition,

Can you please, credit the link (http:// etc) to American Memory....????

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

it is probably pretty stable for the next six months.


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Subject: RE: John Brown's Body
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Jul 04 - 02:26 AM

I don't see the need to give links to sites like American Memory, or Levy Collection. Just type the name in Google and click on their link. But just for you: American Memory and click on Search.



I was taught to count by fours: 4, 8, 12,....gross (144). I haven't changed.


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: masato sakurai
Date: 07 Jul 04 - 10:51 AM

From Boyd B. Stutler, Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!: The Story of "John Brown's Body" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (Printed and Bound by The C.J. Krehbiel Company, Cincinnati, [1960], pp. 40-47):

The origin of the air to which "John Brown's Body" and the "Battle Hymn" are adapted is lost in the midst of years....
[...]
It was in the 1880's when "John Brown's Body"and its melody seemed to be fatherless things that claims and counter-claims to its composition were made by hopefuls who sought a place in the sun. Most perssistent in urging their claims were William Steffe, of Philadelphia, Thomas Brigham Bishop, of New York, and Frank E. Jerome, of Russell, Kansas--but each case their claims can easily be dismissed on examination of the records and proven facts....
[...]
The William Steffe myth, ..., is the one that has really muddied the waters, and he is the one who has profited most--in name only--from his assertion that he composed the music of "John Brown's Body," later to be almost completely captured by "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." In fact his name as composer heads the music in many of the song books current today.
Whatever his private claims may have been, Steffe was not publicly credited with the composition until November 3, 1883, when Major O.C. Bosbyshell published an article entitled "Origin of 'John Brown's Body'" in Grand Army Scout and Soldiers' Mail, of Philadelphia. The piece was picked up by Brander Matthews for use in his "Songs of the War," in Century Magazine, August, 1887, thus putting Steffe on the road to fame. He died at his Philadelphia home on May 5, 1911.
Steffe's claim is fully set out in a series of letters written to Colonel Richard J. Hinton running from 1885 to 1887, now lodged in the Kansas Historical Society library. His story is that in 1855 or 1856 he was asked to write an air for a series of verses beginning "Say, bummers, will you meet us?" which the Good Will Engine Company, of Philadelphia, wanted to sing to welcome the Liberty Fire Company, of Baltimore, then due to pay a fraternal visit to the firemen of the Quaker City. It was the Bosbyshell claim that the air composed, set to the "Say, bummers, will you meet us?" verse, had such snap and verse that it was immediately caught up by revivalists, substituting "Say, brothers, will you meet us?" for the first verse, then carried throughout the country. But the tune was an old one when Steffe's grandfather was young; what he probably did was to pick up the old air, maybe from a sub-conscious memory, and revamp it to fit the firemen's welcoming song.
Steffe was a life-long Philadelphian. His activities can be traced through the years as a clerk, insurance agent, manager of a heating stove works, and as an active Mason for more than fifty years--but in all the record there is no mention of him as a composer of music other than the John Brown tune. In some way most of the narrators, Major Bosbyshell excluded, have transported him to the South, usually represented as a Charleston, South Carolina, music writer, but sometimes from Richmond, Virgina--and the statement is frequently made that a Northerner (Daniel Decatur Emmet) wrote "Dixie," the great war song of the South, and a Southerner (William Steffe?) wrote the most popular war son of the North, "John Brown's Body."
Anyway, Steffe has reaped a rich reward of unearned posthumous fame.


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: GUEST,Chanteyranger
Date: 07 Jul 04 - 02:14 PM

Just as an interesting aside, John Brown's Body became a capstan chantey, an example of a popular song being adapted to shipboard use.


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jul 04 - 04:38 PM

Mine eyes have seen the orgy of the launching of the Sword:
He is searching out the hoardings where the Stranger's wealth is stored.
He hath loosed his fateful lightnings and with Woe and Death has scored.
His lust is moving on.

In a sordid slime harmonious Greed was born in yonder ditch,
With a longing in his bosom and for others' goods an Itch.
As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich;
Our God is marching on.


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Jul 04 - 04:43 PM

"John Brown's Original Marching Song, "tune Brothers, will you meet me," from a Philadelphia broadside at American Memory, has been posted in thread 34133: John Brown's Marching Song


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: masato sakurai
Date: 14 Nov 04 - 05:03 AM

I have come across this song titled "She Had Such Wheedling Ways" at The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The chorus ("Oh! she was a perfect screamer": click here) is sung to the tune of "Battle Hymn." According to the Levy Collection description, it was published in 1855. If it is correct, this may be the earliest.

Title: She Had Such Wheedling Ways [tune of chorus "Battle Hymn of the Republic"].
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: S. Tute .
Publication: Boston: Henry Tolman & Co., 1855.
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
Instrumentation: piano and voice
First Line: Perambulating Oxford Street one day I chanc'd to meet a pretty lttle damsel dress'd so beautifully neat
First Line of Chorus: Oh! she was a perfect screamer, Oh! how much I did esteem her
Performer: Sung by R. Bishop and G. Swain Buckley of Buckley's Minstrels
Engraver, Lithographer, Artist: J.H. Bufford's Lith. 313 Washn. St. Boston
Plate Number: 5085


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Nov 04 - 03:42 PM

Very interesting!
Do we have a firm date on the hymn, "Say Brothers, Will You Meet Us?"? Posted in thread 32038: Civil War Songs
One website says 1856-1858 (the Steffe story), and another says it appeared in 1858 as the hymn (copyright and/or sheet music), or "Oh, My Brothers Will You Meet Me?" (Union Harp [?] but I have no means of checking. See Say brother
Some of the information is questionable. The sheet music I have is from an article published much later.

According to Lois Eagan, a letter from Port Royal said the song was sung by slaves "at General Drayton's plantation," in a "shouting exercise" to the tune of "Say, Brothers." "Sisters, soldiers, preachers," etc. were given an invitation to meet on "Canaan's happy shore." Anecdotes
I cannot find a date or further details about this 'letter'. According to a note (p. 259) in Dena J. Epstein, "Sinful Tunes and Spirituals," the song may have been heard at St Helena in 1862 by Laura Towne.


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: masato sakurai
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 04:10 AM

According to James J. Fuld (The Book of World-Famous Music, 5th ed., 2000, p. 132):
The written record begins in 1857-1858. On Dec. 19, 1857, there was a copyright entry by Charles Dunbar, Camp Meeting Harp and Revival Chorister. Though no copy of a book with this title has been found, a book entitled The Union Harp and Revival Chorister, with the collection selected and arranged by Charles Dunbar, and a statement that it was published in Cincinnati in 1858, has been found; and it contains at page 264 the music and words of "My Brother Will You Meet Me." The opening words are "Say my brother will you meet me." The music of the Glory Hallelujah chorus is present, but not the words. No copyright entry was made for this book in 1858, although Dunbar copyrighted several other books during that year and copyrighted the second edition of The Union Harp and Revival Chorister on April 30, 1859.


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 02:04 PM

Thanks, Masato. The tune may yet be found with an earlier date. Interesting problem.


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 16 - 05:23 AM

The Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song is enormous:

John Brown's Body

DESCRIPTION: In stirring cadences, the story of anti-slavery zealot John Brown's death is told: "John Brown's body lies a-mould'ring in his grave (x3); his soul goes marching on." "He captured Harper's Ferry with his nineteen men so true...."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1861 (Huntington)
KEYWORDS: Civilwar Black(s) death execution memorial burial rebellion slavery
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1800 - Birth of John Brown
October 16-18, 1859 - John Brown and 20 others (fifteen of them, including Brown's three sons, are white) attack the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, hoping to gather the weapons needed for a slave rebellion. Forces led by Robert E. Lee soon attack the rebels; only Brown and four others live to be captured and placed on trial
Dec 2, 1859 - Hanging of John Brown at Charlestown, Virginia
FOUND IN: US(SE,MA) Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (19 citations):
BrownIII 378, "John Brown's Body" (1 text, mixed, plus two of the offshoot "Hang (John Brown/Jeff Davis) from a Sour Apple Tree")
Doerflinger, pp. 72-73, "John Brown's Body" (1 text, 1 tune -- a curious sailor's version that mentions Brown only peripherally and replaces the "His soul goes marching on" with "Then it's hip, hip, hip, hurrah!")
Hugill, pp. 442-443, "John Brown's Body" (1 text plus fragments of a German version, 1 tune)
Silber-CivWarFull, p. 23, "John Brown's Body"; p. 24, "The John Brown Song" (2 texts, tune referenced)
Silber-CivWarAbbr, p. 40, "John Brown's Body" (1 text, tune referenced)
Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 158-160, "John Brown" (1 text, slightly modified by Huntington, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSUSA 37, "John Brown's Body" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 528-529, "John Brown's Body" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 214-215, "John Brown's Body" (1 text plus some variant stanzas and an early sheet music print)
Arnett, pp. 84-85, "John Brown's Body" (1 text, 1 tune)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 62, "John Brown's Body" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 305, "John Brown's Body" (1 text)
Lawrence, p. 357, "John Brown" (1 text, 1 tune, a copy of an 1861 broadside)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #1127, p. 77, "John Brown Song" (9 references); #1128, p. 77, "John Brown Song" (1 reference, which supposedly is sung to the Hallelujah Chorus and is by H. H. Brownell"
Fuld-WFM, p. 131, "Battle Hymn of the Republic (Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us? -- John Brown -- Glory Hallelujah -- John Brown's Baby Had a Cold upon His Chest")
GreigDuncan8 1629, "John Brown's Snapsack" (1 short text -- see note)
DT, JOHNBRWN*
ADDITIONAL: Harry Dichter and Elliott Shapiro, _Early American Sheet Music: Its Lure and Its Lore, 1768-1889_, R. R. Bowker, 1941, pp. 111-112, catalogs early sheet music printings of "Glory Hallelujah" songs
Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 31, "John Brown's Body" (1 short text, 1 tune)

Roud #771
RECORDINGS:
J. W. Myers, "John Brown's Body" (Victor A-824, c. 1901)
Pete Seeger, "John Brown's Body" (on PeteSeeger24) (on PeteSeeger28) (on PeteSeeger29)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (tune & meter)
cf. "Marching On" (tune & meter)
cf. "Solidarity Forever" (tune)
cf. "Marching Song of the First Arkansas" (tune)
cf. "James Brown" (tune)
cf. "On to Washington" (tune)
cf. "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Burning of the School" (tune)
cf. "The Bulldog on the Bank" (tune)
cf. "Pass Around the Bottle (As We Go Marching Home)" (tune)
cf. "The President's Proclamation" (tune)
cf. "A Song of the Times (III)" (tune)
SAME TUNE:
The Battle Hymn of the Republic (File: RJ19022)
Solidarity Forever (File: SBoA282)
The Bulldog on the Bank (File: FSWB399B)
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Burning of the School (File: PHCFS100)
The President's Proclamation (File: CSWF025)
A Song of the Times (III) (File: Wels072)
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Horror of the Ending of the Term" (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 101)
James Brown (Greenway-AFP, p.p. 38-39)
On to Washington (Greenway-AFP, p. 62)
My Pink Pajamas (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 34; DT, PINKPAJ)
Chicken Sandwich (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 11)
Glory, Glory, Pork Superior (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 21)
The Bulldog and the Bullfrog (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 47)
Glory, Glory, How Peculiar (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 106)
The Bugs Marched Down the Aisle (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 154)
She Waded in the Water (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 209)
Birmingham's My Home (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 245)
Oh, Ay Liff in Minneapolis (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 246)
Ellsworth's Body Lies Mouldering in the Grave (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 38)
Glory Hallelujah No. 2 (at least two of these, one beginning "Our Soldiers, now are marching to'ard the south," another, "Brave McClellan is our leader now") (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 51)
Union Emotions (""Oh! we'll hang Wendell Phillips to a sour apple-tree," by John C. Cross) (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 162)
Jubilate ("Old College rises where free winds sport her will, Dear Alma Mater, standing half way up the hill") (by Guy K. Cleveland [class of 18]50) (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 11)
Ode ("All the fullness of the summer bids us stay among the flowers") (by Albert Bryant, [class of 18]62) (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 42)
Jubilee Song ("Come, jolly classmates, raise the song of jubilee") (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 63)
Victory ("Hail! happy Juniors, let us banish care tonight") (by C. W. Brown, [class of 18]68) (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 64)
O'er Hill and Dale ("O'er hill and dale and valley, over ocean's wave-washed strands") (by S. P. Sturgis) (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 113)
The Girls of Ithaca ("I had kissed the buxom Buckeye, I had squeezed tie Esquimaux") (Henry Randall Waite, _Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges_ first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 114)
NOTES: The well-known tune of this piece, "Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us," is often credited to William Steffe, but I know of no absolute proof of this -- Stulken, p. 389, says that Steffe (died 1911) claimed in the 1880s to have written it in 1855 or 1856 -- but he offered no evidence. It has been suggested that the tune is derived from Stephen C. Foster's "Ellen Bayne," but the resemblance is slight and "Ellen Bayne" was not widely known (see TaylorEtAl, p. 27; according to Milligan, p. 80, Foster himself thought his tune was the inspiration for "John Brown's Body").
The "John Brown" words were composed within months of the anti-slavery crusader's death, and had spread throughout the Union by the early stages of the Civil War. (Note that Huntington has a version from 1861!) - RBW
John Uhlemann reports that the tune has been traced from a 17th century Swedish Lutheran hymnal, and that it has also entered folk tradition in Hungary, presumably independently of its American associations. - PJS
I have seen it argued that the "John Brown" of the song was not the abolitionist but an obscure American soldier (Irwin Silber describes him as "Sergeant John Brown, a Scotsman, a member of the Second Battalion, Boston Light Infantry Volunteer Militia," who later joined the Twelfth Massachusetts). I suppose this is possible -- but everyone interpreted it to mean the fanatic who captured Harper's Ferry. - RBW
GreigDuncan8 is a fragment about John Brown's possessions -- "John Brown's snapsack number ninety nine" and "John Brown's stocking is darned in the heels" -- with the tag line "As we go marching on." Duncan is quoted: "The ordinary song, or rather the parody, supposed to refer to the queen's John Brown." Prince Albert died in 1861. This John Brown was a servant of Queen Victoria, whom she befriended in the decade after Albert's death. "The Queen's friendship with Brown caused resentment among her family and courtiers, and stories spread in society, and were published in foreign newspapers, that the Queen had secretly married Brown. References to 'Mrs Brown', meaning the Queen, were common at society dinner tables in London." (Source: Jasper Ridley, "Victoria r. 1837-1901" in The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, ed. Fraser (London, 1975), p. 305). If Duncan is right, and this is a parody, this version should probably be split. - BS
I was indeed sorely tempted to split. If another version turns up with clear references to Victoria's John Brown, I certainly will.
Victoria married Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1819-1861) in 1840. He was not well-liked at the time, being suspected of being "on the make" (see the notes to "The Wheels of the World"). But in fact he served England well as a diplomat -- e.g. his last significant act was to prevent a possible war with the United States in 1861 over the "Trent" affair; his exertions in this affair may have contributed to his death (Marshall, pp. 153-154). And Victoria doted upon him; when he died, she assumed mourning, and wore it for the rest of her life. She insisted on the construction of many monuments (Marshall, pp. 157-158), and had the room where he died preserved exactly as it had been at the time (Marshall, pp. 146-148). She largely withdrew from public view, as well, and was roundly criticized for her lack of involvement in public business, which lasted for about a decade; Marshall titles the chapter about her life in 1861-1865 "The Bitter Years."
The man largely credited with breaking her out of her funk is John Brown, "who was blunt and honest but caring," according to Ashley, p. 692. She had known him before Albert's death, when he cared for her horses in the Highlands. There her life had been relatively informal, so she had known him better than most of her other servants (Marshall, p. 168). But it was not Victoria who summoned Brown to be with her in England; it was others concerned with her behavior (Marshall, p. 169). It worked: She started to come out of her funk.
Victoria had a strong tendency to lean on one particular person -- Lord Melbourne (people had also called her "Mrs. Melbourne" for a time; Marshall, p. 170), or Albert, or someone. In a sense, Brown took that role. He accompanied her everywhere, and she started quoting his advice widely, as she had done with Albert and others (Longford, p. 323), and eventually made him an esqure and more than tripled his salary in the course of just three years (Longford, p. 326). Little wonder that the family began to resent him (Marshall, p. 169).
At the time, people suspected that the relationship was more serious than it probably was; by 1866 we see the the newspapers sometimes sarcastically calling Victoria "Mrs. Brown" (Longford, p. 327) -- or accusing them of a sexual relationship without benefit of marriage (Marshall, p. 170).
As Ellis puts it, "Victoria was a woman who needed a man. Melbourne, Uncle Leopold, Wellington, Disraeli were all public figures to whom she could give her personal trust. In this time of private withdrawal she turned to Brown, one of the two ghillies who had looked after her and Albert, a handsome intelligent Scot with a blunt manner, a (well-managed) fondness for whisky, and a strong chin. He went everywhere with her, conspicuously dressed as a Highlander.... His privileged status caused resentment in her household, and wild rumors were started that she had married him." There were even proposals to abolish the monarchy, so reclusive was the Queen and so peculiar her treatment of Brown.
It all faded out in the 1870s -- Victoria, it is true, continued to depend on Brown, but she began to play a more public role again (Longford, p. 345, declares that "All the Queen's troubles went back to the same source: her seclusion), and other tragedies made her seem much more human. There was even talk of him marrying someone else, although it does not appear that a marriage actually happened (Longford, pp. 332-333).
There is absolutely no substantial evidence of a sexual relationship, let along a marriage. Indeed, Marshall, p. 199, believes that it was not just Brown who drew Victoria out of her isolation; it was also Disraeli, who knew how to flatter her (the ultimate example being his work to make her Empress of India). In any case, Brown died in 1883 (giving a rather short window for the composition of a song about him). Longford, p. 333, also declared that a marriage with a commoner was completely out of Victoria's character, and adds evidence from her private writings that she stayed faithful to Albert all her life.
Interestingly, Morris, p. 440, reports that Victoria's "attachment to her Indian clerk, the Munshi, who succeeded the ghillie John Brown in her affections, edged toward the scandalous." But it's hard to believe that really amounted to anything; Victoria was by this time in her sixties and about as wide as she was tall. - RBW
Bibliography
  • Ashley: Mike Ashley, British Kings and Queens, Barnes & Noble, 2000 (originally published as The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens, 1998)
  • Ellis: Roger Ellis, Who's Who in Victorian Britain, 1997 (I use the 2001 Stackpole Books edition)
  • Longford: Elizabeth Longford, Queen Victoria: Born to Succeed, Harper & Row, 1964
  • Marshall: Dorothy Marshall: The Life and Times of Victoria, part of the Life and Times series of biographies of English monarchs (Antonia Fraser, general editor), 1972 (I use the 1998 Welcome Rain paperback edition)
  • Milligan: Harold Vincent Milligan, Stephen Collins Foster: A Biography of America's Folk-Song Composer, 1920 (I use the 2004 University of Hawaii reprint)
  • Morris: James Morris, Pax Britannica: The Climax of an Empire, 1968 (I use the 1980 Harcourt Brace/Harvest paperback)
  • Stulken: Marilyn Kay Stulken, Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship, Fortress Press, 1981
  • TaylorEtAl: Deems Taylor et al, A Treasury of Stephen Foster, Random House, 1946
Last updated in version 3.8
File: Doe072b

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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: nickp
Date: 11 May 16 - 05:37 AM

"with his nineteen men so true...." and "October 16-18, 1859 - John Brown and 20 others"

Which one folks? I guess the latter?

Nick


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 11 May 16 - 08:36 AM

The first printing of the words to the hymn, "Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us?" appears to be in "Union Prayer Meeting Hymns, Prepared by a Committee of the Young Men's Christian Association" (Phila.: American Sunday-School Union, 1858), p. 180.

But the form is unusual – and perhaps misleading – and no melody is indicated:

         SAY, brothers, will you meet us
         On Canaan's happy shore ?
         By the grace of God we'll meet you
         Where parting is no more.

         Jesus lives and reigns forever
         On Canaan's happy shore !
         Glory, glory, hallelujah,
         Forever, evermore!

The first printing with music, however, in "The Sabbath School Hosanna" (N.Y.: G. S. Scofield/ The American Sunday School Union Depository, 1862) p. 13, "Arr. by F. H. Lummus," arranges the lines in four stanzas with the repeats required to fit the familiar tune, whose origin is not indicated.

Whether the "John Brown" tune was associated with the "Brothers Will You Meet Us?" words as early as 1858 remains uncertain - as does the origin of the tune.


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 11 May 16 - 07:32 PM

I first came across "He captured Harper's Ferry" in the John Buchan book "Greenmantle" and have often wondered if there were a ballad "John Brown" which continued the story. Does anybody know?


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 16 - 08:02 PM

I think it's worth adding that the Harper's Ferry area, where all this happened, is an area of breathtaking beauty, especially when the trees are in color in the Fall. It's the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, at the border of West Virginia and Maryland.
It's a great place to visit.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 12 May 16 - 09:30 AM

The earliest appearance of the "Harper's ferry" words seems to have been in J. S. Dye's "History of the Plots and Crimes of the Great Conspiracy to Overthrow Liberty in the United States of America" (1866).

"When the soldiers struck up the John Brown song [at Charleston in 1865], it filled the eyes of the blacks with tears, and their hearts with joy to hear the boys sing:

John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave,
While weep the sons of bondage whom he ventured all to save,
But though he lost his life, in struggling for the slave,
His soul is marching on,

Chorus—
       Glory, Glory, Hallelujah !
       Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!
       Glory, Glory, Hallelujah !
       His soul is marching on.

John Brown was a hero undaunted, true and brave,
And Kansas knew his valor when he fought her rights to save;
And now, though the grass grows green above his grave,
His soul is marching on.

Glory, &c.

He captured Harper's Ferry with his nineteen men so true,
And he frightened old Virginny till she trembled through and through;
They hung him for a traitor, themselves a traitor crew,
But his soul is marching on.

Glory, &c.

John Brown was John the Baptist, of Christ we are to see,
Christ who of the bondmen shall the Liberator be,
And soon throughout the sunny South the slaves shall all be free.
For his soul is marching on.

Glory, &c

The conflict that he heralded, he looks from Heaven to view,
On the army of the Union, with his flag red, white, and blue.
And Heaven shall ring with anthems, o'er the deed they mean to do,
For his soul is marching on.

Glory, .fee.

Ye soldiers of Freedom, then strike, while strike ye may,
The death-stroke of oppression, in a better time and way,
For the dawn of old John Brown, has brightened into day.
And his soul is marching on.

Glory, &c


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Subject: RE: Origins:John Brown's Body/ Battle Hymn of Republic
From: Lighter
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 02:04 PM

From "War Anecdotes and Incidents of Army Life: Reminiscences from Both Sides of the Conflict between the North and the South," ed. by Albert Lawson (Cincinnati: Albert Lawson, 1888), pp. 109-110:




"JOHN BROWN'S BODY!"

A member of the Twelfth Massachusetts Regiment claims the honor of originating one of the most famous refrains of the war, as follows:

"The tune of 'John Brown' was adapted from a camp-meeting tune, 'Say, brothers, will you meet us?' This, in turn, was modeled from a song written for a fire company — 'Say, bummers, will you meet us?' The words originated with members of the 'Tiger Battalion,' Massachusetts Volunteer Militia; and as these members subsequently enlisted in the Twelfth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Webster Regiment), we naturally claim words and music of the 'John Brown song.' It first appeared in April, 1861, in a quartet of the 'Tigers' — Jenkins, Edgerly, Purnette and John Brown — and was simply a sort of joke on the name of the last mentioned. He was a Scotchman, and failed to see any point in the witticism, which, of course, only made it more lasting. The Twelfth Massachusetts sang it in Boston harbor, at Fort Warren, were the first to sing it in New York City, July, 1861, where it made a sensation, and continued chanting it until it had become so common property as to have lost all novelty. We claim the adaptation of the tune and these words:

      John Brown's body lies moldering in the grave,
      His soul goes marching on.
          Glory, Hallelujah.

"Our regimental band (Matland's, of Brocton, Mass.) was the first to arrange and play the tune. Two of the quartet are now living in Boston, Mass. John Brown was drowned in Virginia, June, 1862, and Jenkins' whereabouts are unknown. All were sergeants in the Twelfth Massachusetts Volunteers."

The assertion that the *tune* was composed in the mid 1850s to accompany a song about "bummers" (loafers, beggars, bums) was made in 1887 by the essayist Brander Matthews, but he provided no evidence for the claim and noted only that it was "his understanding."

The hymn titled "Brothers, Will You Meet Us" was copyrighted on Nov. 27, 1858, by G. S. Scofield of New York, with the familiar "Glory Hallelujah" tune. The chorus is:

       Glory, glory, hallelujah, (3)
       Forever, evermore!


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