“The Song of the Southern Volunteers”


"I would not be a conscript a-hiding in the wood; I'd be a volunteer and do my country good. I wouldn't be alone (x3) to weep and moan." Similarly "I wouldn't be a lawyer... I'd rather be a soldier," etc. -- then perhaps shifting to a female soldier!


The extant texts of this song all appear rather messed up. Hudson's text hints at the original: An adaption of "I'll Not Marry at All" in which the singer proclaims his willingness to serve the south -- or, perhaps, a girl proclaims "I would not *marry* a conscript."

In fact, it's possible that both forms existed, then were mixed to produce Hudson's odd gender-bending text, with verses about a conscript, lawyer, doctor, lady/belle, nurse, farmer, and miller.

Scott's song it even more confused; it appears to be a mix of "I Would Not Be a Conscript" and "We Go Walking on the Green Grass" (the latter not to be confused with "Walking on the Green Grass"). It's too complicated for me to disentangle, so I tossed it here.

The original description I wrote of the song is as follows: "'I would not marry a conscript... I'd rather marry a volunteer and do my country good.... We go walking on the green grass, thus, thus, thus....' The girl would rather marry, or even be, a soldier boy, than wed someone who will not volunteer for the South." - RBW

Cross references


  1. Hudson 123, pp. 263-264, "I Would Not Be Alone" (1 text)
  2. Scott-BoA, pp. 221-223, "The Song of the Southern Volunteers" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Roud #4502
  5. BI, SBoA221


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1936 (Hudson)
Found in: US(So)