WE ARE COMING, FATHER ABRAHAM

(JAMES SLOAN GIBBONS/STEPHEN FOSTER) (1862)

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The 1862 call for 300,000 volunteers came at a time of Union discouragement, when the army seemed unable to take decisive action in advancing toward the main goal, the capture of Richmond, the Confederate capital. A Northern Abolitionist Quaker, James Sloan Gibbons, at that time wrote one of the most stirring of all calls to arms and called it "We Are Coming, Father Abraham"....

C. A. Browne (revised by Willard A. Heaps), The Story of Our National Ballads, New York, NY, 1960 (originally published in 1919), p 208.

We are coming, Father Abraham, 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 tear;
We dare not look behind us, but steadfastly before,
We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more.
CHORUS:
We are coming, coming our union to restore,
We are coming, Father Abraham, with three hundred thousand more.
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 an instant, 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 Abraham, three hundred thousand more.

If you look all up our valleys, where the growing harvests shine,
You may see our sturdy farmer boys fast forming into line;
And children from their mothers 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 Abraham, three hundred thousand more.

You have called us and we're coming, by Richmond's bloody tide,
To lay us down for Freedom's sake, our brother's bones beside;
Or from foul treason's savage group 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 Abraham, three hundred thousand more.

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