“We Have the Navy”


A parody of the Federal "On to Richmond"; both begin "Well, we have the navy an' we have the men...." The song catalogs the various Southern generals and troops who fought McClellan in the Peninsula


Although details about the battle are lacking in this song, the generals mentioned clearly indicate that it refers to the Peninsular Campaign (and the fact that it quotes "On to Richmond" demonstrates that it is a parody).

The generals listed include:

Lee - Robert E. Lee, the Confederate commander. Although his tactical performance was imperfect (the Confederates took nearly 25% casualties in the Seven Days' Battle; the Federals less than 15%), his strategy was brilliant

Jackson - Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, who had just fought a brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley but performed poorly when recalled to Richmond

Longstreet - James Longstreet, Lee's second in command and leader of one of his largest divisions. His performance was not inspired, but he went on to serve as one of Lee's best corps commanders

McGruder - John Bankhead Magruder, commander of the Department of the Peninsula His division had done a fine job of slowing McClellan's advance up the Peninsula (mostly through playacting), but his performance in combat was poor; he was soon sent off to Texas.

"Butler was the Cry" - Refers to the brutal Union general Benjamin F. Butler, who commanded occupied New Orleans and came to be called "Beast Butler"

McClellan - George B. McClellan, the Federal commander, who did a fine job of training and inspiring his troops but was too cautious to lead them effectively. - RBW

Historical references

  • Mar 17, 1862 - General George McClellan moves the first troops of the Army of the Potomac to Fort Monroe, inaugurating the "Peninsular Campaign" (the attempt to capture Richmond by proceeding up the "Peninsula" between the York and James Rivers)
  • May 31-June 1, 1862 - Battle of Fair Oaks/Seven Pines. Confederates under Joseph E. Johnston attack McClellan's army. The battle is roughly a draw (McClellan continued his advance), but Johnston is wounded and Robert E. Lee appointed in his place
  • June 25-July 1, 1862 - Seven Days' Battle - In a series of battles, Lee induced McClellan to abandon the attack on Richmond

Cross references

  • cf. "On to Richmond! (I)"


  1. Randolph 212, "We Have the Navy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BrownIII 382, "Never MindYour Knapsack" (1 short text)
  3. Scott-BoA, pp. 231-232, "On to Richmond!" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Roud #7702
  5. BI, R212


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1866 (manuscript known to Randolph)
Found in: US(SE,So)