Battle Cry of Freedom

Words & Music by George F. Root

“And although he may be poor, not a man shall be a slave….”

Noah Brooks

Written by the most successful songwriter and song publisher of the war in 1862. George F. Root was a veritable one-man factory for the production of Civil War songs. According to Richard Crawford, “Battle Cry of Freedom” was the only famous patriotic song of either side which had both fresh words and fresh music–all the others used either tunes or words that already existed. No song had a greater impact on the northern side, defining the war as not only a fight to preserve the Union, but a crusade by free men against slavery. Unlike “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” this song was popular not only with civilians, but with the soldiers themselves. There is at least one account of a Union soldier actually stopping a retreat by launching into the “Rally ’round the flag” chorus of “Battle Cry of Freedom.”

In Reunion, “Battle Cry of Freedom” is combined with the spiritual “Heaven Bound Soldier.”

Lyrics

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!

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.

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 the best,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.

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 of our brothers gone before,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.
And we’ll fill the vacant ranks with a million freemen more,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.

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 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!

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.

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