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Lyr Add: Custer's Last Charge 2


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Two Soldiers (as sung by Bob Dylan) (15)
(origins) Lyr Req: Last Great Charge/Fight (36)
Lyr Req: Two Soldiers (18)
Lyr Req: Two Soldiers / Last Fierce Charge (5)

GUEST, 15 Jul 03 - 04:04 PM
Joe Offer 08 May 09 - 07:49 PM
Artful Codger 09 May 09 - 03:26 AM
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From: GUEST,
Date: 15 Jul 03 - 04:04 PM

Here is another version of Custer's Last Charge. I heard this from Volume III of Tom Glazer's "Musical Heritage of America" (CBC Records, 1974) I think the lyrics are also in a book entitled "Songs of the Southwest" or something to that effect.


It was just before Custer's last fierce charge,
Two soldiers drew their reins;
With a clasp of hands and a parting word,
For they might never meet again.

One had blue eyes and dark curly hair,
Just nineteen years, you know;
With a smile on his lips and down on his chin,
He was only a boy, you know.

The other was tall, dark, daring and proud,
But his faith in this world was dim;
He only trusted in those that he loved,
They were all the world to him.

They had rode together for many a day,
And marched for many a mile;
But never before had the foe they met,
With such a waning smile.

The tall dark man was the first to speak,
Saying "Charlie, my time has come;
We'll ride together into the fight,
But you'll ride out alone."

"I have a picture on my chest,
I'll wear it in the fight;
A picture that means all the world to me,
For it shines like the morning light."

"Like a morning light was her love to me,
To lighten my lonely life;
It is care that has caused her furrowed brow,
Since she's been my loving wife."

"Write to her, Charlie, when I'm gone,
Send back this fair, young face;
Tell her gently how I died,
And where is my resting place."

There were tears in the eyes of the blue-eyed boy,
And his voice was filled with pain;
"I'll do my comrade's parting wish,
If I ride home again."

"But if I should die, and you return,
Would you do as much for me?
I have a mother dear at home,
Write to her, tenderly."

"She's lost all one by one,
Husband and her sons;
I am the last of all her boys,
But bravely she sent me on."

Just then the order came to charge,
For an instant, hand touched hand;
They rode together into the fight,
That brave, devoted band.

They rode together to the top of the hill,
But the fight they could not gain;
And the few of those that lived through the fray,
Rode slowly back again.

But among the dead that were left behind,
Was the boy with the curly-hair;
And the tall, dark man that rode by his side,
Lie dying beside him there.

So none was left to tell the girl,
The words her lover said;
And the mother waiting at home for her boy,
Will learn that he is dead.

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Subject: DT Correction: Custer's Last Charge
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 May 09 - 07:49 PM

This song is intriguing. See also Custer's Last Charge in the Digital Tradition, which seems to be a completely different song. I found the Warde Ford recording on the Rounder/Library of Congress recording called Songs of the Mormons.

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Custer's Last Charge (I)

DESCRIPTION: Custer leads his men into battle against the Sioux; a fierce scene is described, with bullets flying and dead falling on both sides. Three hundred US soldiers are killed and scalped by the Indians, who leave Custer with his dead
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: army battle fight violence war death corpse soldier Indians(Am.)
June 25, 1876 - Battle of the Little Bighorn. Lt. Colonel George A. Custer (who had been a Major General during the Civil War) is killed, along with the entire force of cavalry (five companies with somewhat over 250 men) with him.
Warde Ford, "Custer's Last Charge" (AFS 4199 B1, 1938; tr.; on LC30, in AMMEM/Cowell)
cf. "The Last Fierce Charge" [Laws A17] (subject)
Notes: This is a separate song from "The Last Fierce Charge," although [some versions of] both describe the battle of the Little Bighorn. Confusingly, some versions of "The Last Fierce Charge" share this song's title. (And Roud lumps them, perhaps for that reason.) They can be distinguished by the description of two men and a letter, which is present in "The Last Fierce Charge" but not in "Custer's Last Charge."
Warde Ford states that the words to this song were copied from the Custer Monument by his friends Robert & Charles Walker, and that the tune is generic; I do not have information to confirm this. - PJS
File: RcCLC

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

Roud has only one entry, the recording by Warde Ford, which is available online here (click). Here's my transcription of Ford's recording:


Across the Big Horn's crystal tide, against the savage Sioux
A little band of soldiers charged, three hundred boys in blue;
In front rode blond-haired Custer bold, pet of the wild frontier,
A hero of a hundred fights, his deeds known far and near.

"Charge, comrades, charge! There's death ahead, disgrace lurks in our rear!
Drive rowels deep! Come on, come on!" came his yells with ringing cheer.
And on the foe those heroes charged, there rose an awful yell;
It seemed as if those soldiers stormed the lowest gates of hell.

Three hundred rifles rattled forth, and torn was human form,
The black smoke rose in rolling waves above the leaden storm.
The death groans of the dying braves, their wounded piercing cries,
The hurling of the arrows fleet did cloud the noonday skies.

The snorting steeds with shrieks of fright, the firearms' deafening roar,
The war song sung by the dying braves who fell to rise no more,
O'er hill and dale the war song waved 'round craggy mountainside,
Along down death's dark valley ran a cruel crimson tide.

Our blond-haired chief was everywhere 'mid showers of hurling lead,
The starry banner waved above the dying and the dead,
With bridle rein in firm-set teeth, revolver in each hand,
He hoped with his few gallant boys to quell the great Sioux band.

Again they charged, three thousand guns poured forth their last-sent ball,
Three thousand war-whoops rent the air, gallant Custer then did fall,
And all around where Custer fell ran pools and streams of gore,
Heaped bodies of both red and white whose last great fight was o'er.

The boys in blue and their savage foe lay huddled in one mass,
Their life's blood ran a-trickling through the trampled prairie grass;
While fiendish yells did rend the air and then a sudden hush,
While cries of anguish rise again as on the mad Sioux rush.

O'er those strewn and blood-stained fields those goading redskins fly,
Our gang went down three hundred souls, three hundred doomed to die;
Those blood-drunk braves sprang on the dead and wounded boys in blue;
Three hundred bleeding scalps ran high above the fiendish crew.

Then night came on with sable veil and hid those sights from view,
The Big Horn's crystal tide was red as she wound her valleys through,
And quickly from the fields of slain those gloating redskins fled,
But blond-haired Custer held the field, a hero with his dead.

note: re last line. I guess it's a matter of how you keep score. RG
Transcribed by ear from the Warde Ford recording on the Rounder/Library of Congress recording called Songs of the Mormons. Warde Ford states that the words to this song were copied from the Custer Monument in 1906 by his friends Robert & Charles Walker.

@Amerind @American @battle
filename[ CSTCHARG
I'm still not totally satisfied with this transcription. If anybody would like to listen to the recording and suggest changes, I'd appreciate it.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Custer's Last Charge 2
From: Artful Codger
Date: 09 May 09 - 03:26 AM

The version posted by gcarrier62 is an adaptation of "The Last Fierce Charge" (aka "At Fredericksburg", "Battle of Gettysburg", "Two Soldiers" etc.). Other Custer variants have been given in previous threads bearing these other titles, so interested parties should check them as well.

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