Soldier's Funeral, The

DESCRIPTION: The singer describes a military funeral attended by the dead soldier's widow, orphan, and comrades. He will be forgotten by his comrades and even his orphan, horse, and dog. His widow will not forget him.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1866 (Musick-Larkin)
KEYWORDS: grief war death funeral music nonballad dog horse orphan wife soldier animal family
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1861 - Death of E. Elmer Ellsworth
FOUND IN: US(MW)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Musick-Larkin 5, "Elsworths Funeral" (1 text)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #2150, pp. 144-145, "The Soldier's Funeral" (8 references)
ADDITIONAL: Wehman's Song Book [of 148 Songs] No. 59 (New York, n.d., digitized by Internet Archive), p. 15, "The Soldier's Funeral" (1 text) [see notes re source]

Roud #4278
BROADSIDES:
LOCSinging, cw105310, "Soldier's Funeral" ("Hark! To the shrill trumpet calling"), J.H. Johnson (Philadelphia), no date; also cw105300, "Soldier's Funeral"; cw104060, "The Officer's Funeral"
PopMusicMTSU, 94-017 Goldstein ID 001399-BROAD, "The Officer's Funeral" ("Hark! to the shrill trumpet calling"), J.H. Johnson (Philadelphia), 1858-1859 and 1863-1876; also 94-017 Goldstein ID 000610-BROAD, "Soldier's Funeral," A.W. Auner (Philadelphia), 1865-1874
VonWalthour, CD Drive>civil war songs>civil war songs(562), "Soldier's Funeral" ("Hark! to the shrill trumpet calling"), J.H. Johnson (Philadelphia), n.d.

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Ellsworth's Avengers" (subject of Elmer Ellsworth)
cf. 'Colonel Ellsworth" (subject of Elmer Ellsworth)
NOTES: The Musick-Larkin song shares a number of lines with the broadsides. Musick-Larkin: "... it appears likely that either the song commemorating Ellsworth's death was closely patterned after some general song of a soldier's death, or, that such a general song was fashioned from a song expressly composed on the death of Col. E.E. Ellsworth." The description follows the broadsides.
According to Broadside PopMusicMTSU, 94-017 Goldstein ID 001262-BROAD, "Assassination of Colonel Ellsworth, at Alexandria, VA., May 24th, 1861" ("Now friends I beg you listen, a sad story I will tell"), J.H. Johnson (Philadelphia), 1858-1859 and 1863-1876, "Ellsworth [commander] of the New York Fire Zouaves" was shot by a rebel in the town of Alexandria after tearing down "the flag of Secession" while "returning to his own brave boys."
Regarding Wehman's Collection Norm Cohen writes, "Songbook #6 was undated, but most likely 1884-5." Each page except the first is headed Wehman's Universal Songster. The first page is undated but states, "Published Quarterly -- January, April, July and October. Norm Cohen's Finding List ... has WE29, Universal Songster as "monthly serial ... [beginning] 1881 (Norm Cohen, A Finding List of American Secular Songsters Published Between 1860 and 1899 (Murfreesboro: Middle Tennessee State University), p. 150).
Broadsides LOCSinging cw105310 and VonWalthour, CD Drive>civil war songs>civil war songs(562) appear to be the same edition.
Broadsides LOCSinging cw104060 and PopMusicMTSU, 94-017 Goldstein ID 001399-BROAD appear to be the same edition. - BS
According to Mark M. Boatner III, The Civil War Dictionary, 1959 (there are many editions of this very popular work; mine is a Knopf hardcover), pp. 263-264, Colonel Ellsworth was one of the first noteworthy casualties on the Union side in the Civil War. Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth was born in 1837, and had organized what amounted to a parade troupe; they had performed at the White House in 1860. He had come to Washington with Lincoln, and when the war broke out, he tried to join the War Department, then went off to raise the 11th New York Regiment -- a fancy outfit of Zouaves, known as the New York Fire Zouves because many of them were firemen.
To the French, Zouaves were an organization with special training, but in America, they merely wore silly uniforms. In other words, they were a bunch of showoffs. Ellsworth himself demonstrated this when he removed the flag flying over the Marshall House Tavern. Having taken down the flag, he was shot by the building's proprietor, James T. Jackson. Private Francis E. Brownell then killed Jackson. A reporter was present, so the incident made headlines throughout the country. Certainly there were many, many children named after him -- I recently did a book search for volumes about Ellsworth, and didn't find anything, but found six different authors named "Elmer Ellsworth (something)" -- e.g. Elmer Ellsworth Brown.
Oddly, the regiment Ellsworth raised was disbanded after only a little more than a year, despite signing up for two (Boatner, p. 594); it thus, relatively speaking, played a small part in the war.
The song may have played a bigger role than Ellsworth's troops. WolfAmericanSongSheets lists eight different broadside prints, by two different publishers, one of them labelled "The Officer's Funeral." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.0
File: MuLa005

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.