Marching Through Georgia
DESCRIPTION: Sundry boasts, mostly too optimistic, about Sherman's march to the sea: "How the darkeys shouted when they heard the joyful sound.... Yes, and there were Union men who wept with joyful tears... While we were marching through Georgia."
AUTHOR: Henry Clay Work
EARLIEST DATE: 1865 (sheet music published by S. Brainerd's Sons)
KEYWORDS: Civilwar patriotic
Nov 15, 1864 - William T. Sherman splits his army (which had conquered Atlanta on September 1) into two parts. One, under Thomas, is to defend Atlanta, while Sherman takes nearly 60,000 men on the "March to the Sea"
Dec 10, 1864 - Sherman's forces reach Savannah
Dec 21, 1864 - Sherman captures Savannah
FOUND IN: US(MW) Australia
REFERENCES (14 citations):
WorkSongs, pp. 17-20, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text, 1 tune, a copy of the original sheet music)
RJackson-19CPop, pp. 126-129, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Meredith/Anderson, p. 34, "The Battle Cry of Freedom" (1 text, 1 tune, composed of equal parts of this song and "The Battle Cry of Freedom")
Dean, pp. 119-120, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text)
Lawrence, p. 423, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text, from a broadside by Johnson & Cartlitch, plus a copy of the Root & Cady sheet music cover)
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 306-308, "Marching Through Georgis" (1 text plus a sheet music cover)
Silber-CivWarFull, pp. 43-45, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-CivWarAbbr, pp. 78-79, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text, 1 tune)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #1381, p. 94, "Marching Through Georgia" (3 references)
Emerson, pp. 122-124, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text)
Hill-CivWar, pp. 207-208, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 278, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, p. 349, "Marching Through Georgia"
ST MA034A (Full)
[Byron G.] Harlan & [Roba] Stanley, "Marching Through Georgia" (CYL: Edison 8606, 1904) (Columbia 1776, 1904) (Victor 4217, 1905)
J. W. Myers, "Marching Through Georgia" (Victor 4289, 1905)
Pete Seeger & Bill McAdoo, "Marching Through Georgia" (on PeteSeeger28)
cf. "The Golden Gullies of the Palmer" (tune & meter)
cf. "The Workingmen's Army" (tune & meter)
cf. "Coxey Army" (tune)
cf. "Marching to Cuba" (tune)
cf. "All Are Talking of Utah" (tune)
Marching to Cuba (File: BrII237)
Marching for Freedom (File: Wels060)
The Workingmen's Army (Greenway-AFP, pp. 59-60)
Coxey Army (Greenway-AFP, pp. 62-63)
The People's Choice (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 126)
All Are Talking of Utah (File: CAFS2601)
NOTES: Although Work can hardly be blamed for his cheerful view of the March to the Sea, it was in fact little better than terrorism. Sherman's expressed goal was to "make Georgia howl," and he certainly succeeded; a region some fifty miles across was devastated. (Sherman was, in fact, reviving the chevauchee, the method by which the armies of the Middle Ages destroyed their enemies' agricultural base).
Even if there had been Union men in the region before, there were none left afterward.
"Marching Through Georgia" has been called "the most hated song in the south."
The one other person who hated the song was none other than Sherman himself; he reportedly said, "If I had thought when I made that march that it would have inspired anyone to compose the piece, I would have marched AROUND the state."
Sherman became the most hated man in the south for the rest of his life. It's ironic to note that, when Joseph E. Johnston surrendered the last real southern army to Sherman, Sherman gave such generous terms (to Johnston and anyone else willing to take them) that the North instantly repudiated them. There were loud calls for his removal -- as being too soft! - RBW
Last updated in version 4.0
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.