We Are Coming, Father Abr’am

Words by James Sloan Gibbons, Music by L.O. Emerson

“From Mississippi’s winding stream and from New England’s shore….”

Noah Brooks

Inspired by one of the most famous lines of the war—“We are coming, Father Abr’am, 300,000 more!” The lyrics were first published as a poem in response to Lincoln’s call for more volunteers after the failures of McClellan and Pope. By this time Lincoln had already called on a million volunteers to enlist for 3-year terms—so many, in fact, that Secretary of War Stanton had confidently announced that the Union now had plenty of manpower in uniform. The new call for men was a desperate admission that the war was going to be longer and costlier than the North had imagined—the dream of a quick, decisive war was dead.

In Reunion, the song accompanies the enthusiastic enlistments of recruits representing almost every conceivable background: German, Italian, American Indian. Every group, in fact, except the one that was still forced by the Lincoln government to watch from the sidelines, the group over whom, ultimately, the war was fought.

Lyrics

We are coming, Father Abra’m, three hundred thousand more–
From Mississippi’s winding stream and from New England’s shore.
We leave our plows and workshops, our wives and children dear,
With hearts too full for utterance, with but a silent tear.
We dare not look behind us, but steadfastly before.
We are coming, Father Abra’m, three hundred thousand more!

We are coming, we are coming, our Union to restore!
We are coming, Father Abra’m, with three hundred thousand more,
We are coming, Father Abra’m, with three hundred thousand more.

If you look up all our valleys where the growing harvests shine,
You will see our sturdy farmer boys fast forming into line.
And children at their mothers’ knees are pulling at the weeds,
And learning how to reap and sow against their country’s needs.
And a farewell group stands waiting at every cottage door.
We are coming, Father Abra’m, three hundred thousand more!

We are coming, we are coming, our Union to restore!
We are coming, Father Abra’m, with three hundred thousand more,
We are coming, Father Abra’m, with three hundred thousand more.

Song Excerpt

Listen to “We Are Coming, Father Abr’am” performed by Donna Lynne Champlin, Jonathan Hadley, Don Burroughs and the original New York cast.

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Reunion original cast CD

Get your studio recording featuring 19 songs from Reunion performed by the original off-Broadway cast and orchestra.

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