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Battle Hymn Of The Republic

"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is an American patriotic anthem written by Julia Ward Howe in November 1861 and first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1862 that was made popular during the American Civil War.

A wonderful piece of music!

The tune was written around 1855 by William Steffe. The lyrics at that time were alternately called "Canaan's Happy Shore" or "Brothers, Will You Meet Me?" and the song was sung as a campfire spiritual. The tune spread across the United States, taking on many sets of new lyrics.

Thomas Bishop, from Vermont, joined the Massachusetts Infantry before the outbreak of war and wrote a popular set of lyrics, circa 1860, titled "John Brown's Body" which became one of his unit's walking songs. According to writer Irwin Silber (who has written a book about Civil War folksongs), the original lyrics were not about John Brown, the famed abolitionist, but a Scotsman of the same name who was a member of the 12th Massachusetts Regiment. An article by writer Mark Steyn maintains that the men of John Brown's unit had made up a song poking fun at him, and sang it widely.[citation needed] Though "Canaan's Happy Shore" has a verse and chorus of equal metrical length, "John Brown's Body" has a longer verse to accommodate the words packed into its line.

Bishop's battalion was dispatched to Washington, D.C. early in the Civil War, and Julia Ward Howe heard this song during a public review of the troops in Washington. Whatever the accuracy of Silber's and Steyn's accounts, the lyrics heard by Howe were about John Brown the abolitionist. Her companion at the review, the Reverend James Clarke, suggested to Howe that she write new words for the fighting men's song. Staying at the Willard Hotel in Washington on the night of November 18, 1861, Howe awoke with the words of the song in her mind and in near darkness wrote the verses to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" .

Howe's "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was first published on the front page of The Atlantic Monthly of February 1862. The sixth verse written by Howe, which is less commonly sung, was not published at that time. The song was also published as a broadside in 1863 by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments in Philadelphia. In Howe's lyrics, the words of the verse are packed into a longer line, contrasted with the chorus's short refrain.

Julia Ward Howe was the wife of Samuel Gridley Howe, the famed scholar in education of the blind. Samuel and Julia were also active leaders in anti-slavery politics and strong supporters of the Union.