Just Before The Battle, Mother

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Melody - George F. Root, 1863; Seq. by Werner Tomaschewski
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George F. Root

Just before the battle, Mother,
I am thinking most of you;
While upon the field we're watching,
With the enemy in view.
Comrades brave around me lying,
Filled with thoughts of home and God;
For well they know upon the morrow,
Some will sleep beneath the sod
Chorus:
Farewell, Mother, you may never
Press me to your heart again;
But, oh, you'll not forget me, Mother,
If I'm numbered with the slain

2. Oh, I long to see you, Mother,
and the loving ones at home;
But I'll never leave our banner,
'till in honor I can come.
Tell the enemy around you
That their cruel words, we know,
In every battle kill our soldiers
by the help they give the foe.
Chorus:
Farewell, Mother, you may never
Press me to your heart again;
But, oh, you'll not forget me, Mother,
If I'm numbered with the slain

3. Hark! I hear the bugles sounding,
'Tis the signal for the fight,
Now may God protect us, Mother,
as he ever does the right.
Hear the "Battle Cry of Freedom",*
How it swells upon the air,
Oh yes, we'll rally round the standard
Or we'll perish nobly there.
Chorus:
Farewell, Mother, you may never
Press me to your heart again;
But, oh, you'll not forget me, Mother,
If I'm numbered with the slain


One of the most popular songs of the War, it lived on in overseas conflicts as well -- the British believed that the song was about the Crimean War and had been authored by an Englishman! The "traitors" mentioned in the second verse of the song were Northern Copperheads, who wished to see the War end through a negotiated peace and recognition of the Confederacy.

* Kind of a self-promotion as Root wrote that song the year before.

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