Song – John Wiggins, 20 May 1861

2015.002.103e

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Fragment of a song/poem written by John W. Wiggins on May 20th, 1861, entitled “A Short But Knowing Song.” The lyrics express Wiggins’ frustration at being too young to enlist in the Confederate army.


A Short But Knowing Song

I am a [???] blade

I am a [???] blade

I am a [???] blade

And follow country for my trade

All on my breast I wore a star

The golden pearls of the thundering war

O kind miss wont you list and go

O kind miss wont you list and go

O kind miss wont you list and go

And follow the [???]

I am two [too] young I cannot go

I am two young I cannot go

I am two young I cannot go

I cannot leave my [???]

[line illegible]

your old enough some where youll do

you old enough some where youll do

We take 16 and twenty two

Wrote May 20th 1861

By John W. Wiggins


John W. Wiggins, age 19, from Cherokee County, NC, enlisted in Company F, of the 39th NC Infantry, circa February 23, 1862. He is listed as a sergeant as of November 25, 1862, and was wounded at Stones River on December 31, 1862, but returned to duty the next day. He was promoted to 1st Sergeant of Company F on March 1, 1863. He was fatally wounded at Chickamauga on September 19, 1863, and died in the hospital on September 21st. He was twice reported on the Confederate Honor Roll for valiant service, at Stones River and Chickamauga.

Song – J.P. Graves, 1864

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Fragment of a a song composed by Private J. P. Graves, Warren County MS Light Artillery, believed to have been written the night before he joined the Army of Tennessee in 1864. The lyrics speak of leaving home to fight for one’s freedom and liberty.


-Page 1-

Ho for liberty freedom or death be

Thats the watchword away let us go

To the Sound of the drum and the bugle

March to vanquish the Ruffless [Ruthless] foe

Farewell to the scenes of my Childhood

To my mother whos praying for me

She would weep if the son of her bosom

From the face of the foe man should flee

Farewell to the home and the hearth

where my sisters are weeping for me

Oh the foot of the spoiler shall never

Stain the home of the brave and the free

Adieu though beloved of my bosom

For your soldier love shed not a tear

But beseech the great lord of the battle

To protect him and all he holds dear

Adie honored father who taught me

[segment missing]

-Page 2-

the ruffian can sweep from the earth

Adieu to the Church where the christians

For the soldier each Sabbath will pray

But the bible and chaplain go with us

and Jehovah our god is our stay

When the old british lion oppressed us

He with washington went to the field

unto him we will look in the battle

and will strike till the enemy yield

Composed by J Pen Graves

Note – the chorus is sung to the second part of the air except after the 5th and 6th stanzas


J.P. Graves enlisted on March 20, 1864 in Dalton, GA in Captain Swett’s Company L, the Warren Light Artillery. He survived the war and is shown on a muster roll of Confederate soldiers paroled at Greensboro, NC on April 26, 1865.