Guest Author - Chris Curtis
Julia Ward Howe wrote the words to this song in 1861 after a visit to a Union army camp. She wrote the words to the tune "John Brown's Body" in reponse to a challenge by her friend, Rev. James Freeman Clarke. "John Brown's Body" was sung by Union soldiers as an unofficial anthem, while Confederate soldiers had their own version of the song. Once her uplifting words were added to this tune, it became the most well-known song of the Civil War. "Battle Hymn" remains as one of the most inspiring patriotic songs ever written.
Battle Hymn of the Republic
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on."
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment-seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.