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Song of the First Arkansas Regiment

The following song of the colored troops was printed in the Missouri Democrat, a strong Union paper of St. Louis, in 1863. (National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, American War Songs 1925, pp.110-111)

Song Of The First Arkansas Regiment

Oh! we're the bully soldiers of the "First of Arkansaw,
We are fighting for the Union, we are fighting for the law;
We can hit a rebel further than a white man every saw.
As we go marching on.

See, there above the center, where the flag is waving bright,
We are going out of slavery, we're bound for freedom's light.
We mean to show Jeff Davis how the African can fight,
As we go marching on.

We are done with hoeing cotton, we are done with hoeing corn;
We are colored Yankee soldiers now, as sure as you are born;
When the massas hear us yelling, they'll think it's Gabriel's horn,
As we go marching on.

They will have to pay us wages, the wages of their sin,
They will have to bow the forehead to their colored kith and kin;
They will have to give us house-room or the roof shall tumble in;
As we go marching on.

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

They said, "Now, my colored brethren, you shall be forever free,
From the first of January, eighteen hundred sixty-three.
We heard it in the river going rushing to the sea,
As it went sounding on.

Father Abraham has spoken and the message has been sent,
The prison doors he opened, and out the prisoners went,
To join the sable army of the African descent,
As it goes marching on.

Then fall in, colored brethren, you'd better do it soon,
Don't you hear the drum a-beating the "Yankee Doodle" tune?
We are with you now this morning, we'll be far away at noon,
As we go marching on.



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