“We Are Coming, Father Abraham”


"We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more... We leave our plows and workshops Our wives and children dear...." The song describes how those left behind are doing the young men's work so they may put down the rebels

Supplemental text

We Are Coming, Father Abraham
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

From sheet music published 1862 by S. T. Gordon
Title page inscribed
               We Are Coming
               Father Abraam
             Music Composed
            Stephen C. Foster

The name of author James Sloan Gibbons is nowhere listed; the
interior simply lists the song as "By STEPHEN C. FOSTER." The
printing appears to have been hurried, as the number of errors
(see the notes) attest.

We are coming Father Abraam, three hundred thousand more,
From Mississippi's winding stream and from New England's shore;
We leave our plows and workshops, our wives and children dear,
With hearts too full for utterance, with but a silent[1] tear;
We dare not look behind us but steadfastly before,
We are coming, Father Abraam, three hundred thousand more.

  We are coming, coming[2] our union to restore.
  We are coming, Father Abraam, with[3] three hundred thousand more.[4]

If you look across the hilltops that meet the northern sky,
Long moving lines of rising dust your vision may descry;
And now the wind aninstant,[5] tears the cloudy veil aside.
And floats aloft our spangled flag in glory and in pride;
And bayonets in the sunlight gleam, and bands brave music pour,
We are coming, Father Abraam, three hundred thousand more. [6]

If you look all up our valleys, where the growing harvests shine,
You may see our sturdy farmer boys fast forming into line;
And from their mothers (sic.) knees are pulling at the weeds,
And learning how to reap and sow, against their country's needs;
And a farewell group stands weeping at every cottage door,
We are coming, Father Abraam, three hundred thousand more. [6]

You have called us and were (sic.) coming, by Richmond's bloody tide,
To lay us down for freedom's sake, our brother's[7] bones beside;
Or from foul treason's savage group[8] to wrench the murd'rous blade,
And in the face of foreign foes its fragments to parade;
Six hundred thousand loyal men and true have gone before,
We are coming, Father Abraam, three hundred thousand more.

[1] Other versions read "single"
[2] Other versions read "We are coming, we are coming"
[3] Other versions omit "with"
[4] Other versions repeat this line
[5] "aninstant" appears to be the printed reading. The text is
    an-in-stant, with a staff break after "an."
[6] Other versions omit this stanza
[7] Other versions give the more reasonable reading "brothers'"
    for "brother's."
[8] Other versions read "grasp"


This was originally published as a poem, "Three Hundred Thousand More," in the July 16, 1862 edition of the _New York Evening Post_.

It was so popular that at least eight musical arrangements were published, including those by L.O. Emerson (this last may have been the most popular; at least, it's the one Silber quotes), Stephen C. Foster (the Foster sheet music doesn't even mention the name of Gibbons!), and P. S. Gilmore. (For the full list, see the notes to Saunders & Root).

I don't know if this can be considered a traditional song, under the circumstances, but it certainly shows up in a lot of anthologies! - RBW

The attribution to William Cullen Bryan is also on LOCSheet Music #577 [cover only] "We Are Coming Father Abra'am 300.000 More," Oliver Ditson & Co. (Boston), 1862: "Poem by Wm Cullen Bryant Music by L.O. Emerson." Broadside LOCSheet rpbaasm 1180 commentary: "From poem first published in the New York Evening Post, July 16, 1862: We are coming, Father Abraham / James Sloan Gibbons. Cf. BAL, v. 1, p. 346. The words sometimes erroneously attributed to Wm. Cullen Bryant, or J. [!] Cullen Bryant."

Broadside LOCSinging sb40573b: H. De Marsan dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS

Cross references


  • LOCSheet, rpbaasm 1180 ["words from the New York Evening Post ; music composed and arranged by S.J. Adams"], "We Are Coming Father Abraham 3000,000 More," Henry Tolman & Co. (Boston), c.1862; also rpbaasm 1184 ["set to music by P.S. Gilmore"], "We Are Coming Father Abraam Three Hundred Thousand More"; rpbaasm 1185 ["words by William Cullen Bryant music by G. R. Poulton"], "300,000 more!" (tune)
  • LOCSinging, sb40573b, "We Are Coming, Father Abraham," H. De Marsan (New York), 1861-1864; also cw10594a, "Three Hundred Thousand More"


  1. Silber-CivWar, pp. 44-45, "We Are Coming, Father Abr'am" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Saunders/Root-Foster 2, pp. 217-220+436, "We Are Coming , Father Abraam, 300,000 More" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Hill-CivWar, pp. 213-214, "We Are Coming, Father Abraham" (1 text)
  4. ST SCW44 (Full)
  5. BI, SCW44


Author: Words: James Sloan Gibbons
Earliest date: 1862 (New York Evening Post)
Keywords: Civilwar soldier