Marching Song of the First Arkansas

Something for the weekend.  Tennessee Ernie Ford gives a stirring rendition of the Marching Song of the First Arkansas Colored Regiment, one of the more famous endless variants of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

1. Oh, we’re the bully soldiers of the “First of Arkansas,”

We are fighting for the Union, we are fighting for the law,

 We can hit a Rebel further than a white man ever saw,

 As we go marching on.

Chorus:

Glory, glory hallelujah.

 Glory, glory hallelujah.

 Glory, glory hallelujah.

 As we go marching on.

 2. See, there above the center, where the flag is waving bright,

 We are going out of slavery; we’re bound for freedom’s light;

We mean to show Jeff Davis how the Africans can fight,

 As we go marching on!

(Chorus)

3. We have done with hoeing cotton, we have done with hoeing corn,

We are colored Yankee soldiers, now, as sure as you are born;

When the masters hear us yelling, they’ll think it’s Gabriel’s horn,

 As we go marching on.

 (Chorus)

 4. They will have to pay us wages, the wages of their sin,

They will have to bow their foreheads to their colored kith and kin,

They will have to give us house-room, or the roof shall tumble in!

 As we go marching on.

(Chorus)

 5. We heard the Proclamation, master hush it as he will,

The bird he sing it to us, hoppin’ on the cotton hill,

And the possum up the gum tree, he couldn’t keep it still,

 As he went climbing on.

(Chorus)

6. They said, “Now colored brethren, you shall be forever free,

From the first of January, Eighteen hundred sixty-three.”

 We heard it in the river going rushing to the sea,

 As it went sounding on.

(Chorus)

 7. Father Abraham has spoken and the message has been sent,

The prison doors he opened, and out the pris’ners went,

 To join the sable army of “African descent,”

As we go marching on.

(Chorus)

8. Then fall in, colored brethren, you’d better do it soon,

Don’t you hear the drum a-beating the Yankee Doodle tune?

 We are with you now this morning, we’ll be far away at noon,

 As we go marching on.

(Chorus)

Published in: on February 23, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Marching Song of the First Arkansas  
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