Marching Through Georgia
"Marching Through Georgia" (sometimes spelled Marching Thru' Georgia or Marching Thro Georgia) is a marching song written by Henry Clay Work at the end of the American Civil War in 1865. It refers to U.S. Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea late in the previous year to capture Savannah, Georgia.
Because of its lively melody, the song became widely popular with Union Army veterans after the war. In the southern United States, particularly in Georgia, however, the song came to symbolize the devastation and political domination the north wrought upon the south during and after the war. Ironically, Sherman himself came to dislike "Marching Through Georgia", in part because it was played at almost every public appearance that he attended. Outside of the Southern United States, it had a widespread appeal: Japanese troops sang it as they entered Port Arthur, the British Army sang it in India, and an English town mistakenly thought the tune was appropriate to welcome southern American troops in World War II.
The song remains popular with brass bands, and its tune has been adapted to other popular songs, including "Billy Boys" and "Come In, Come In". It was also sung by a carpetbagger in Gone with the Wind, and Ann Sheridan in 'Dodge City'.
An anglicized version of the song was recorded between 1901 and 1903 during the Second Anglo Boer War. This version, although almost identical, included alternate lyrics and was issued as "Marching On Pretoria" on the Zonophone label.
In 1919 the song was adapted with lyrics by Tomomichi Soeda and Shogetsu Watanabe as Tokyo Bushi (Pai, pai, no pai), which subsequently became a perennially popular shin min'yō standard. The song was featured in the soundtrack to the film The Flower and the Angry Waves by Seijun Suzuki.
The Finnish protest song "Laiva Toivo, Oulu" (English: "The Ship Hope, Oulu") is set to the melody of "Marching Through Georgia", but with Finnish-language lyrics criticizing the actions of the captain of the titular frigate Toivo.
The song is referenced in the title of two alternate history novels, S. M. Stirling's Marching Through Georgia references the title, while that of Ward Moore's Bring the Jubilee references the chorus.
In 1924, guitar and harmonica player Charlie Oaks released "Marching Through Flanders" for the Vocalion label (Vocalion 15104). It bears an identical melody to "Marching Through Georgia", but details the exploits of American troops in Belgium during World War I.
Composer Scott Bradley quoted it in his MGM cartoon scores of the 1940s, including the Oscar-winning Tom and Jerry short "Yankee Doodle Mouse" (1943) and Tex Avery's "King-Size Canary" (1947). In the latter he ironically juxtaposed it with the tune of "Yankee Doodle".
In the classic western movie Shane (1953), ex-Confederate Frank "Stonewall" Torrey (Elisha Cook, Jr.) is goaded by another, harmonica-playing, character with an impromptu rendition of "Marching Through Georgia".
In the 1966 Howard Hawks western El Dorado, the character Bull, in response to being shot at from a bell-laden church tower, proclaims, "Well, just give me another gun and I'll play "Marching Through Georgia."
The Stockton, California band Pavement emphatically reference Sherman's March to the Sea and song "Marching Through Georgia" in their song "Unseen Power of the Picket Fence" from their 1994 album reissue "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins."
At the end of Game 5 of the 1996 World Series, after Paul O'Neill caught the final out of the game by robbing Luis Polonia of a potential game-tying (or winning) hit, Vin Scully, who called the World Series on CBS Radio, announced that the New York Yankees had been "marching through Georgia, and where have we heard that before?"
St George Girls High School in Sydney, Australia has a school song set to the music.
One version of the chorus for Come In is as follows:
- Come in, come in, I'll do the best I can
- Come in, come in, bring the whole bloody clan
- Take it slow and easy, and I'll shake you by the hand
- Set you down, I'll treat you decent, I'm an Ulsterman'
The first verse and chorus from "The Land" is as follows:
- Sound the call for freedom boys, and sound it far and wide,
- March along to victory, for God is on our side,
- While the voice of nature thunders o'er the rising tide:
- "God gave the land to the people."
- The land, the land,'twas God who made the land,
- The land, the land, The ground on which we stand,
- Why should we be beggars with a ballot in our hand?
- God gave the land to the people!
- Sherman's armies in Georgia actually had closer to 62,000 men.
- A biblical allusion to the freeing of the slaves. See Leviticus 25.
- Erbsen 2008, p. 51.
- Eicher 2001, p. 763.
- Kaukiainen, Yrjö (1998). Laiva Toivo, Oulu (in Finnish). Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. pp. 10–13. ISBN 951-746-026-0.
- Eicher 2001, p. 762.
- Eicher, David J., The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War, Simon & Schuster, 2001, ISBN 0-684-84944-5.
- Erbsen, Wayne, Rousing Songs and True Tales of the Civil War, Native Ground Books & Music, 2008, ISBN 978-1-883206-33-8.