“Marching Through Georgia”


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."

Supplemental text

Marching Through Georgia
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

From sheet music published 1865 by Root & Cady
Title page inscribed
    To Cousin Mary Lizzie Work   Of New Washington, Indiana
                               G                 A
                             N     T           I
                           I         H       G
                         H             R   R
                       C                 O
                     R                 E   G
                   A                 G       H
                       SONG AND CHORUS
In Honor of Maj. Gen. SHERMAN'S FAMOUS MARCH "from Atlanta to the Sea."
                     WORDS AND MUSIC BY
                      HENRY CLAY WORK

1. Bring the good old bugle boys! we'll sing another song --
   Sing it with a spirit that will start the world along --
   Sing it as we used to sing it, fifty thousand strong,
   While we were marching through Georgia.

"Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the Jubilee!
Hurrah! Hurrah! The flag that makes you free!"
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea,
While we were marching through Georgia.

2. How the darkeys shouted when they heard the joyful sound!
   How the turkeys gobbled which our commissary found!
   How the sweet potatoes even started from the ground,
   While we were marching through Georgia.

3. Yes, and there were Union men who wept with joyful tears,
   When they saw the honor'd flag they had not seen for years;
   Hardly could they be restrained from breaking forth in cheers,
   While we were marching through Georgia.

4. "Sherman's dashing Yankee boys will never reach the coast!"
   So the saucy rebels said, and 'twas a handsome boast,
   Had they not forgot, alas! to reckon with the host,
   While we were marching through Georgia.

5. So we made a throroughfare for Freedom and her train
   Sixty miles in latitude --  three hundred to the main;
   Treason fled before us, for resistance was in vain,
   While we were marching through Georgia.

          *** B ***

The Battle Cry of Freedom

A composite version, with parts from this song and from "The Battle
Cry of Freedom." From John Meredith & Hugh G. Anderson, Folk Songs of
Australia [Volume 1], p. 34. From Ina Popplewell, of Darlington,
Australia. Collected 1954.

How the darkies gobbled when they heard the distant sound,
And how the new potatoes they kept sprouting through the ground.
And now we'll sing the chorus from the land unto the sea,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

   Hurrah! Hurrah! We'll sound the jubilee.
   Hurrah! Hurrah! For the flag that sets us free.
   And now we'll sing the chorus from the land unto the sea,
   Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

The Union for ever, then, hurrah, boys, hurrah!
We will up with the traitor and down with the star,
And we'll rally from the inside and we'll rally from the out,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom.


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

Historical references

  • 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

Same tune

  • Marching to Cuba (File: BrII237)
  • The Workingmen's Army (Greenway-AFP, pp. 59-60)
  • Coxey Army (Greenway-AFP, pp. 62-63)

Cross references


  • [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)


  1. RJackson-19CPop, pp. 126-129, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. 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")
  3. Dean, pp. 119-120, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text)
  4. Silber-CivWar, pp. 78-79, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Hill-CivWar, pp. 207-208, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text)
  6. Silber-FSWB, p. 278, "Marching Through Georgia" (1 text)
  7. Fuld-WFM, p. 349, "Marching Through Georgia"
  9. ST MA034A (Full)
  10. Roud #9596
  11. BI, MA034A


Author: Henry Clay Work
Earliest date: 1865 (copyright)
Keywords: Civilwar patriotic
Found in: US(MW) Australia