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Song of the First of Arkansas

For other versions of this work, see Marching Song of the First Arkansas.




The following song was written by Captain Lindley Miller, of the First Arkansas Colored Regiment. Captain Miller says the "boys" sing the song on dress parade with an effect that can hardly be described, and he adds that "while it is not very conservative, it will do to fight with." Captain Miller is a son of the late Senator Miller, of New Jersey.

Oh, we're de bully soldiers of de "First of Arkansas."
We are fightin' for de Union, we are fightin' for de law;
We can hit a Rebel furder dan a white man eber saw,
As we go marching on.
Glory, glory hallelujah, &c.

See dar! above de centre, where de flag is wavin' bright;
We are goin' out of slavery; we are bound for freedom's light;
We mean to show Jeff. Davis how the Africans can fight,
As we go marching on.

We hab done wid hoein' cotton, we hab done wid hoein' corn,
We are colored Yankee soldiers now, as sure as you are born;
When de Massas hear us yellin' dey'll tink it's Gabriel's horn,
As we go marching on.

Dey will hab to pay us wages, de wages ob their sin,
Dey will hab to bow their foreheads to their colored kith and kin,
Dey will hab to gib us house-room, or de roof shall tumble in,
As we go marching on.

We heard the proclamation, massa hush it as he will;
De bird he sing it to us, hoppin on de cotton hill,
And de possum up de gum tree, he couldn't keep it still,
As he went climbing on.

Dey said, "Now colored brethren, you shall be forever free,
From the first of January, Eighteen hundred and sixty-three;
We heard it in de riber goin' rushin' to de sea,
As it went sounding on.

Father Abraham has spoken, and de message has been sent,
De prison doors he opened, and out de pris'ners went,
To join de sable army of de "African descent,"
As we go marching on.

Den fall in colored brethren, you'd better do it soon,
Don't you hear de drum a beatin' de Yankee Doodle tune?
We are wid you now dis mornin', we'll be far away at noon,
As we go marching on.

Published by the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.