Army of the Free

TITLE: The Army of the Free
AUTHOR: Frank Norton
CATEGORY: Author Known, Public Domain
KEYWORDS: civil war,
EARLIEST DATE: In August 1861 August, Fitz-John Porter was promoted to brigadier general, senior enough to receive division command in the Army of the Potomac, under McClellan
HISTORICAL REFERENCES: Army of the Free. Division Song of Porter’s Division, Army of Potomac.

Fitz-John Porter. 1862
Fitz-John Porter. 1862

The Army of the Free was written by an otherwise unidentified Frank H. Horton to the tune of “The Wearing of the Green”. A Civil War songster lists it as the “division Song of Porter’s Division, Army of the Potomac,” and the internal evidence of the song would seem to point to Major General Fitz-John Porter as the commanding officer in question. (from Songs of the Civil War (Silber)

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Army of the Free

In the army of the Union, we are marching in the van,
And will do the work before us, if the bravest soldiers can;
We will drive the Rebel forces from their strongholds to the sea,
And will live and die together in the Army of the Free.

The Army of the Free, The Army of the Free,
We will live and die together in the Army of the Free.

We may rust beneath inaction, we may sink beneath disease
The summer sun may scorch us or the winter’s blast may freeze,
But whatever may befall us, we will let the Rebels see,
The unconquered we shall remain the Army of the Free,

The Army of the Free, The Army of the Free,
Unconquered we shall remain in the Army of the Free.

We are the best division of a half a million souls,
And only resting on our arms till the war cry onward rolls;
When our gallant General Porter calls, why ready we shall be,
To follow him forever with the Army of the Free,

The Army of the Free, The Army of the Free,
We will follow him forever in the Army of the Free.

We have Butterfield the daring and we’ve Martindale the cool,
Where could we learn the art of war within a better school,
Add Morel to the list of names, and we must all agree,
We have the finest Generals in the Army of the Free,

The Army of the Free, The Army of the Free,
We have the finest Generals in the Army of the Free.

Though we live in winter quarters now, we’re waiting but the hour,
When Porter’s brave division shall go forth in all its power,
And when on the field of battle, fighting we shall be,
We’ll show that we cannot disgrace the Army of the Free,

The Army of the Free, The Army of the Free,
We’ll show that we cannot disgrace in the Army of the Free.

Then hurrah for our division, may it soon be called to go,
To add its strength to those who have advanced to meet the foe
God bless it, for we know right well, wherever it may be,
‘Twill never fail to honor our great Army of the Free,

The Army of the Free, The Army of the Free,
‘Twill never fail to honor our great in the Army of the Free.

SOURCES:

  • Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

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