File:Battle Cry of Freedom - Project Gutenberg eText 21566.png

Cover of the 1862 sheet music for "Battle Cry of Freedom"

Battle Cry of Freedom is a song written in 1862 by American composer George F. Root (1825–1895) during the American Civil War. A patriotic song advocating the cause of the Union, it became so popular that composer H. L. Schreiner and lyricist W. H. Barnes adapted it for the Confederate States of America. The Union version was used as the campaign song for the Lincoln-Johnson ticket in the 1864 presidential election. The song was so popular that the music publisher at one time had 14 printing presses going at one time and still could not keep up with demand. It is estimated that over 700,000 copies of this song were put in circulation. Charles Ives quoted the song in his own patriotic song, "They Are There."

There are two lyrics, a Union and a Confederate version. This is notable, because their citizens were enemies but sung the same patriotic song.

Lyrics (Union version)[edit | edit source]

Yes we'll rally round the flag, boys, we'll rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
We will rally from the hillside, we'll gather from the plain,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

(Chorus)
The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

We are springing to the call with a million freemen more,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we'll fill our vacant ranks of our brothers gone before,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Chorus

We will welcome to our numbers the loyal, true and brave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And although he may be poor, not a man shall be a slave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Chorus

So we're springing to the call from the East and from the West,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we'll hurl the rebel crew from the land we love best,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Chorus

Lyrics (Confederate version)[edit | edit source]

Our flag is proudly floating on the land and on the main,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Beneath it oft we've conquered, and we'll conquer oft again!
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!

(Chorus)
Our Dixie forever! She's never at a loss!
Down with the eagle and up with the cross!
We'll rally 'round the bonny flag, we'll rally once again,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!

Our gallant boys have marched to the rolling of the drums.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
And the leaders in charge cry out, "Come, boys, come!"
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!--

Chorus

They have laid down their lives on the bloody battle field.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Their motto is resistance -- "To tyrants we'll not yield!"
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!--

Chorus

While our boys have responded and to the fields have gone.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Our noble women also have aided them at home.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!--

Chorus

Chorus (1864 election campaign)[edit | edit source]

For Lincoln and Johnson, hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the rebellion and on with the war,
While we rally round the cause, boys, we'll rally in our might,
Singing the holy cause of freemen.

Modern Recordings[edit | edit source]

Ry Cooder performed this song as Rally 'Round the Flag on his Boomer's Story album.

Keith and Rusty McNeil perform both the Battle Cry of Freedom and Southern Battle Cry of Freedom on "Civil War Songs with Historical Narration" (WEM Records, 1989, ISBN 1-878360-11-6)

Billy Bragg wrote a song based upon the 'Battle Cry of Freedom' with a socialist slant called There is power in a Union on the Talking with the Taxman about Poetry album. For example the chorus goes:

The Union forever defending our rights
Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
With our brothers and our sisters from many far off lands
There is power in a Union

Media[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

de:Battle Cry of Freedom fr:Battle Cry of Freedom

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