Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War


The ACME Haversack of Song and Patriotic Eloquence(a)


The Grand Army of the Republic
By Mrs. Annie Wittenmyer
National President of the Woman's Relief Corps
Aux. to the GAR, 1889-1890

Many nations have had armies, but no nation since time began has mustered into battlelines an army so grand and brave and pure. No army has ever fought for the principles so high and holy as the Union army who stood for the defense of the Republic from '61 to '65. They charged the long lines of glittering bayonets that defended treason; they scaled the loftiest ramparts where the 'stars and bars' floated, and in the face of belching cannon they tore the emblem of secession from every flagstaff. They pre-empted to Freedom every foot of American soil and with their sharp swift swords sundered the chains that bound in human slavery four million of God's people; and they planted the grand old "stars and stripes," as God planted the "Tree of Life, for the healing of the nations."

They came back to civil life peace loving, law abiding citizens and built up the waste places and made the wilderness bloom.

By their bravery and their fidelity they have only redeemed the country from treason, but by their toil and thrift they have saved the Nation from financial bankruptcy. Peace and plenty crown the Republic.

{Return to Top of List}


        Opening Ode
        At command of "Attention!"
        After opening prayer
        Tune - America

        God bless our native land!
        Firm may she ever stand,
        Through storm and night;
        When the wild tempests rave,
        Ruler of wind and wave,
        Do Thou our country save
        By They great might!

        {Return to Top of List}

        Closing Ode
        After the Chaplain's closing prayer
        At Command of "Attention"
        Tune - Greenville

        Brothers, now our work completed,
        Let us to our homes repair.
        Still to Friendship dedicated,
        We will each perform our share.
        Be our Charity abounding
        Unto all who wore the blue,
        And in Loyalty united
        We will to our land be true.

        Bearing high the noble banner,
        Stained with blood of patriot sires,
        We will ever on our alters
        Keep alive fair Freedoms fires.
        Sons of Veterans! let us cherish,
        until time shall be no more,
        All the memories ever precious
        Of the heroes gone before.

        {Return to Top of List}

        Muster Ode
        After the obligation
        and the Chaplain's prayer
        at the command "Camp Attention"
        Tune - America

        Our father's God to Thee,
        Author of liberty,
        To Thee we sing;
        Long may our land be bright
        With freedom's holy light;
        Protect us by thy might,
        Great God, out King!

        {Return to Top of List}

        Burial Service Hymns
        Tune - Martyn

        Jesus, lover of my soul
        Let me to Thy bosom fly!
        While the billows near me roll,
        While the tempest still is high;
        Hid me, O, my Savior, hide,
        Till the storm of life is past;
        Safe into the have guide,
        Oh, receive my soul at last!

        Other refuge have I none,
        Hangs my helpless soul on The;
        Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
        Still support and comfort me.
        All my trust on The is stayed,
        All my help from Thee I bring;
        Cover my defenseless head,
        With the shadow of They wing.

        {Return to Top of List}

        In Re-union Meeting
        By Comrade Redington
        Tune - Old Glory Floating O'er

        Comrades are meeting,
        Gratefully meeting,
        Proudly repeating
        Mem'ries of yore.
        Silver-Anniversary Year
        Of the GAR so dear;
        Let our glad voices ring,
        As our old songs we sing.

          Comrades are meeting,
          Gratefully greeting,
          Proudly repeating
          Memories of yore.

        We are recalling
        War's days appalling,
        Besides us falling
        Comrades so brave.
        Thro' the touch of elbow then,
        Came the strongest love 'tween men:
        Wounds and death over all,
        None could tell which might fall.


        Tenderly clinging,
        Mem'ry is bringing
        Themes for our singing,
        Heroes at rest.
        Sacrificed our land to save,
        Health and lives they freely gave;
        Martyr's noble and true.
        By their deeds preserved you.

        {Return to Top of List}

        The Reunion
        By Nenette M. Lowater
        Tune - Union

        Close up! The lines are lessening fast,
        The blasts of death are sweeping past,
        And he who missed us on the field
        Where shot and shell his track revealed
        With silent tread is stealing on.
        Our ranks are thinned, our comrades gone;
        No bugle call will sound retreat;
        We onward move, our foes to greet.

        Each year sees thousands lying low,
        And we who stay have steps more slow;
        The frosts of time have touched each head,
        Our speech is grave, our jests all sped.
        Still facing front, unconquered, brave,
        We rally where our guidons wave,
        Knowing that soon we all shall hear
        "Put out the lights!" sound full and clear.

        {Return to Top of List}

        The Badge Grows in Honor
        Tune - America

        The eagle, flag and star,
        Worn by the G.A.R.,
        In honor grows.
        None wear it only those
        Sworn ever to oppose
        Till wounds or death, the foes
        Who disunion close.

        {Return to Top of List}

        Salute The Badge
        Tune - Auld Lang Syne

        My boy, always touch hat whene'er
        Grand Army Badge you see!
        The men who proudly wear it here
        Have saved both you and me.
        They formed a wall 'mid battle-hail
        When nothing else could shield;
        Their steel-clad line o'er foes prevail'd
        Our heroes would to yield.

        {Return to Top of List}

        G.A.R. Fraternity Means Something
        Respectfully inscribed to Comrade Joseph W. Kay,
        Commander for two years past of Winchester Post No 197,
        Brooklyn, New York; the originator of the Motto and a noble Exemplar.
        By Comrade J.C.O. Redington
        Tune - Marching Through Georgia

        Fraternity means something now, a comrade nobly spake,
        His words a million soldier hearts to old time cheer awake,
        No matter what assail us, boys, our touch of elbow take,
        We will again be victorious.

          Hurrah, hurrah! Fraternity today!
          Hurrah, hurrah! the same restless way!
          The touch of elbow as we stood in our steelclad array.
          When we were guarding the Union.

        A comrade's interests our won, the countersign we hail,
        We stand by him who stood by us in battle's deadly gale:
        Against our ranks in elbow touch there's nothing can prevail.
        Fraternity means a Something!


        {Return to Top of List}

        Wear, Till on Thy Lifeless Breast
        Tune - Pleyel's Hymn

        Badge of honor proudly wear,
        Till they form they comrades bear
        Sadly to thy well earned rest,
        With that badge upon thy breast.

        {Return to Top of List}

        Death Oft Was Drawing Near
        Tune - Union

        Grim death to soldiers brings no fear,
        They oft have seen him drawing near;
        Be comrades all preparing here
        In Heav-ens muster to appear.

        {Return to Top of List}

        Two Dollars A Month To The Pension Robber
        Tune - The Shylock's Serenade

        For years I have waited in hope and in glee,
        Watching the billows and scanning the sea
        For my ship with a pension laden with gold
        To come to enrich me. The tale is soon told;
        No long I'm waiting, for sorrow's cup,
        The ship has come in, but she's bottom side up.

        Old Glory's Boys Who Wore The Blue

        My boy, you ask me now to name
        Some humble men who've won true fame,
        Not rich-but useful to the face,
        Whose names would merit honored place.

          It's glory to have stood with those
          who put down Freedom's deadly foe;
          It's fame enough, and honor too,
          To be "Old Glory's boys in blue.

        The men who sprang to save our land
        Among earth's truly great will stand.
        In Freedom's realm it's men of worth
        That do good deeds, who lead the earth.


        The deeds the Boys in Blue have done,
        The Freedom triumphs they have won,
        Wrote names to which proud fame will lend
        A glory crown till time shall end.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Cherish The Blessings By Valor Won
      Tune - Battle Hymn of the Republic

      Let all uphold and cherish, and forevermore maintain
      All the matchless blessings that our heroes fought to gain;
      The fruits of toil and danger, or their sacrifice and pain,
      The liberty they saved.

        Cherish, all forever cherish, cherish, all forever cherish
        Cherish, all forever cherish, the blessings by them won.

      Three hundred thousand boys in blue were swept into the grave,
      Four hundred thousand crippled, as they fought the land to save;
      A million widows, orphans and sad mothers mourn the brave,
      Who fell for liberty.


      {Return to Top of List}

      Hurrah For Money
      Tune - Yankee Doodle

      We want a song that's not long,
      And one that's to funny:
      So ding your dong and pound your gong,
      And whoop-er-up for money.
      Hurrah for money, old or new!
      The dollars of our daddies;
      Of gold or silver, either do
      For Yankee Doodle's laddies.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Down Goes McGinty!
      Tune - Pop Goes the Weasel

      Oh! why do people stir up a fuss
      Because some clothes are lint-y?
      You don't perceive some flies on us,
      Down goes McGinty?
      No matter how the world may wag,
      Our hearts are never flinty:
      We'll take good care of our "Old Flag,"
      Down goes McGinty.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Can't Get Em Up In The Morning!
      Tune - Glory Hallelujah

      As pictures of the army times in memory to see,
      Among the funny things we met a prominent will be
      From tents the boys a scudding at call of "Reveille,"
      To answer to each name.

      Fall in ! fall in for the Roll call !
      Fall in ! fall in for the Roll call !
      Fall in ! fall for the roll call!"
      before the break of day.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Mud March of 1863
      Tune - My Maryland

      When I lay me down to sleep
      In mud that's many fathoms deep;
      If I'm no here when you awake,
      Just hunt me up with an oyster rake.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Carved By the Sutler
      Tune - Capt Jinks

      We've often read how folks with cash,
      Who had a mind to cut a dash,
      Would hire a man to carve their hash,
      And give him the title of butler.
      But vets remember far too well,
      And more than they would like to tell,
      How we were carved by that old sell,
      That the army called a sutler.
      How the sutlers claimed to be our friend,
      And what mighty records he would send
      To the paymaster our cash to end.
      That Uncle Same had sent us.

      {Return to Top of List}

      On A Barrel
      Tune - Hold the Fort

      If the liquid commissary
      Got to freely round;
      Holders of its, full and merry,
      Have a barrel found.
      How they stood, with gay apparel,
      With a guard near by;
      Standing hours upon a barrel,
      How is that for high?

      Of course 'twas done so hardly ever
      Some ne'er saw the sight;
      But the sad-eyed standees never
      Will forget their plight.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Soldier's Letter
      Tune - My Maryland

      Here's soldier's letter, nary red,
      Wit old hard-tack, and no soft bread;
      Paymaster, please to put it through,
      I've nary cent, but six months due.
      Note-This above was taken from a
      soldier's letter, sent through the mails
      in 1863.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Tune - Yankee Doodle

      M-u-l-e, and there's your mule,
      When properly you're spelling;
      M-u-l-e, m-u-l-e,
      It's mule that are telling;
      M-u-l-e, m-u-l-e,
      M-u-l-e is ringing:
      M-u-l-e, m-u-l-e,
      It army mule we're singing.

      {Return to Top of List}

      We'll Choose the Meat of Peace
      Tune - Auld Lang Syne

      Old sowbelly we'll not forget,
      In barrels or in chunks;
      But somehow wer're not hank'ring yet,
      To chew those aged hunks.
      They had a mighty pungency-
      It's mem'ry 'I never cease;
      Excuse us from redundancy-
      We'll choose the meat of peace.

      {Return to Top of List}

      They Could Ride With Their Coach and Four
      Tune - Old Dog Tray

      Cannoneers had it easy,
      No marching in scorching days;
      No tramping for the boys
      Who made the loudest noise,
      They had a chance to ride always.

        I can't help but remember
        Comrades who made cannons roar

      That always they could rid,
      Look down on us in pride,
      And gallop with their coach and four.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Nutritious Hardtack
      Tune - Yankee Doodle

      Sometimes when eating, we'd lay down
      As hard-tack on the gravel;
      At first we were somewhat surprised
      To see it start and travel.
      We soon got used to lively ways,
      And then had no misgivings;
      We found "B.C." in army days
      Was sometimes fleshy living.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Politician's Promises
      Tune - Listen to the Mocking Bird

      While patient vet'rans are sighing,
      As on our word they vainly wait;
      In want and suff'ring they're dying,
      They'll find our word as faithless,
      When too late.
      Waiting on our promises.
      The promises a politician makes;
      Waiting on our promises,
      And while they wait, grim death the
      last one takes.

      {Return to Top of List}

      I Broke My Word
      Tune - Auld Lang Syne

      I was a politician once,
      The fact I can't forget;
      And if I hadn't been a dunce,
      I might hold office yet.
      I broke my word with the "Boys in Blue,"
      till in their might they rose,
      And with their ballots shot me thro',
      Killed me, like all their foes.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Before Election Promises
      Tune - Glory Hallelujah

      The politicians, hat in hand, with soldiers warmly plead,
      Before elections promise, "We will care for all your need."
      And afterward to vet'rans' rights pay scarcely slight heed,
      Their gifts on young men pour.

      Soldiers, we pray you vote and aid us.
      Your votes we know are what have made us,
      Don't let it be your votes have laid us on mis'ry shelf
      at last.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Battle-Forged Comradeship
      By Comrade Redington
      Tune - Union

      The soldier-tie that never yields,
      E'en 'mid the woe of battle-field;
      But holds in comrades' hearts full sway
      Is firmer, stronger, still today.
      When rifles flashed and cannons roared,
      And patriot blood like water poured,
      So mighty was our comrades' cheer
      That heroes died without a fear.

      FRATERNITY is truly found,
      And CHARITY, will well abound,
      While LOYALTY will never cease
      In men whose sacrifice won peace
      Let wreaths of love deck soldiers graves
      While o'er them our saved banner waves;
      And gratefully the nation tell
      The deeds of those who for us fell.

      {Return to Top of List}

      The American Flag
      By H.C. Ballard Tune - America

      Bright banner of the free,
      Still wave from sea to sea,
      Our Union pride;
      Flag that our fathers bore,
      Amid the battle's roar,
      By every sea and shore,
      For thee they died.

      {Return to Top of List}

      The Sons of Veterans
      Tune - Auld Lang Syne

      And now the veterans' sons arise,
      In mighty phalanx true;
      And proudly pledge, with flashing eyes,
      To aid the boys in blue.
      To keep alive the memory
      Of valorous deeds so grand,
      And strive to teach true loyalty
      To all within our land.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Aye! Bring The Fadeless Evergreen!
      By Kate B. Sherwood, PNP-WRC
      Tune - Tattoo

      Aye! bring the fadeless evergreen, the laurel and the bay,
      A grateful land remembers all the promises today;
      And hearts that gave their treasurers up when manhood was the price,
      Now bring their sweetest offerings and bless the sacrifice.

      {Return to Top of List}

      The Patriotic Dead
      By William Collins
      Tune - Union

      How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
      By all their country's wishes blessed!
      When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
      Returns to deck their hallowed mound,
      She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
      Than fancy's feet have ever trod;
      And honor those whose sacrifice
      Humanity will ever prize.

      By fairy hands their knell is rung,
      By forms unseen their dirge is snug;
      There Honor comes, a pilgrim gray,
      To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
      And Freedom shall awhile repair
      To dwell, a weeping hermit there:
      And crown that patriot sacrifice
      Humanity will ever prize.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Grander Their Glory
      Tune -Battle Hymn of the Republic

      Brighter, grander in renown will grow the men in blue,
      Coming years will gild their deeds with Fame's applause anew;
      Martyrs in their sacrifice, to equal rights all true,
      Defenders of our land.
      Grander, grander be their glory, Grander, grander be their glory!
      Grander, grander be their glory, As long as earth shall stand!

      {Return to Top of List}

      Our Flag
      By Ninette M. Lowater
      Tune - America

      O banner that we love,
      Fair as the heavens above,
      Flag of the free!
      O'er our land ever wave,
      Land of the true and brave,
      Land where there breaths no slave
      From sea to sea!

      Glowing with crimson dyes,
      Alike sunset's burning skies,
      O banner fair!
      Banded with snowy white,
      Pure as the stars at night,
      With thee, our hearts delight,
      What can compare!

      Each star upon thy breast
      Shall there forever rest,
      Glorious and free;
      And all the winds that swell,
      Through every peaceful dell,
      Where'er they go shall tell
      Our love for thee.

      Flag of the brave and free,
      Emblem of Liberty,
      Banner we love!
      Thanks for each radiant fold,
      And every star of gold
      Freed from oppression's hold,
      Give God above.

      {Return to Top of List}

      The Ransom Paid
      Tune - The Sweet Bye and Bye

      As each day, crowned with plenty and peace,
      Will remind of the ransom we paid;
      Let our love for the soldiers increase.
      Half a million in graves lowly laid.
      Freedom's braves, Freedom's braves,
      Thro' all sacrifices and pain ever true;
      Through your deeds proudly waves
      Our old flag, bearing blessings on you.

      {Return to Top of List}

      The Story Telling
      Tune - Repose

      O'er and o'er the story telling,
      Of the sacrifice and woe-
      Ceaseless mem'ry in us dwelling,
      Every loyal heart must know.
      Can we e'er forget the sorrow,
      Darkest cloud upon us all,
      When we dreaded lest tomorrow,
      Might great witeater woe appall

      {Return to Top of List}

      They Saved Our Land
      By Wesley P. Morse
      Tune - Union

      To soldiers we can ne'er repay
      The debt of gratitude we owe;
      To make life pleasant for them now,
      Our hearts should ever be aglow;
      Ever to treat them with respect,
      Extended a cordial, friendly hand-
      By them the union was preserved-
      They saved our happy honored land.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Loving Hearts Cherish
      Tune -Pleyel's Hymn

      Loving hearts with gratitude
      Cherish how the soldier's name:
      Be our loyalty renewed,
      As we glory in his fame.

      {Return to Top of List}

      Politicians Say
      Tune - New Lang Syne

      The old soldiers should meekly bow,
      And never mind abuse;
      The only things he's good for now,
      Is politicians' use.

      {Return to Top of List}

      The Army Bugs
      Tune - The Army Bean

      Soldiers sing of their beans and canteen,
      Of the coffee in old army cup;
      Why not mention the small friends we've seen,
      Always trying to chew armies up?

        Those firm friends, tireless friends,
        Hardly ever neglecting their hugs,
        Their regard never ends,
        How they loved us-those old army bugs.

      They would patiently bear all reproof,
      And abuse would their lover ne'er repel,
      When away from the camp far aloof,
      You saw boys boiling shirts-you could tell.


      And sometimes squirming comrades you would see,
      Hard at work resisting attacks:
      While back shoulders were scratching at tree.
      On account of those tarnal graybacks.


      On one thought it was rid-iculous,
      Which the wise men call pediculous,
      Yelled the boys, "What a hash-of-a-muss,
      That those tramps should cause us so much fuss,"


      Many years has sweet peace blessed our land,
      Gone forever the war's deadly tugs;
      But among thoughts of war days will stand,
      Keen remembrance of those army bug.


      {Return to Top of List}

      Sing Sweet Liberty
      Tune - The Sword of Bunker Hill

      Why may we not today rejoice,
      All hearts, from sea to sea?
      Let patriots join with ringing voice
      And sing sweet liberty.

      'Twas by our heroes' valor won,
      And woman's faith and tears,
      Its glory has just begun,
      "Twill grow for countless years.

      {Return to Top of List}

      The Old Veterans
      Tune - Webb

      They do not dress with splendor,
      No braid their breast with gold,
      No does their step to music
      Keep time as once of old.
      But Hist'ry guards their story,
      Which Fame has chisel'd deep,
      In many a snowy monument,
      Where thousands of them sleep.

      The Nation's proudest daughter,
      Need feel no tinge of shame,
      Because their footsteps falter,
      And stirred men's souls to do,
      And wounded and the dying
      Had heard their last tattoo.

      hese men now bowed with serving,
      We lithe, and straight, and bold,
      And form'd the lines unswerving,
      Where deadly volleys rolled.
      Their eyes were bright and gleaming,
      With youth and strength endowed,
      The shells with terror screaming
      Ne'er shook their purpose proud.

      Still, in their soul is burning,
      That old heroic flame;
      A patriot's love and yearning
      for an unsullied name.
      Through age, and wounds, and pallor
      Have left their rugged trace,
      Ho time can dime their valor,
      Or sacrifice efface.

      And how they won the glory-
      Shall nation saved proclaim,
      Tell oft the gallant story,
      Recovered their deathless fame,
      Preserved their names forever,
      And bless them every day!
      Their sacrifice shall never
      From mem'ry pass away.

{Return to Top of List}


(a) Redington, J.C.O. 1891. The ACME Haversack of Song and Patriotic Eloquence, Vol.5, No.5, The GAR Silver Anniversary Souvenir of Song, September 1891. Grand Army of the Republic Post #436. Syracuse, New York.

Submitted by:
Jerome Orton, PDC
New York Department
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Lorraine Orton, PDP
New York Department
Woman's Relief Corps
February 2001

Return to SUVCW Home Page
Return to SUVCW Web Site Index
Return to SUVCW Patriotic Recollections Index