The Battle Hymn That United The North During The Civil War

History
A photo of a Union Army marching band.
Via Wikimedia Commons

In February 1862, the Atlantic Monthly published Julia Ward Howe’s “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic,” and in doing so, helped cement a national identity in a nation engulfed by civil war.


The poem presents the Union campaign in a way that is deeply religious and near-apocalyptic, relying on a sense of pending doom and zeal to compel listeners or readers to fill with national pride.

Related: Abraham Lincoln’s speech to the 166th Ohio Regiment shows his admiration for the common soldier.

Not much for subtlety, one of Howe’s most striking verses ties the mission of the Union Army, and in particular the struggle of the Union soldier, to that of Jesus Christ.

“As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.”

By using this kind of language the poem “encouraged a sense of providential national identity deeply seductive to American audiences—then and now,” noted Benjamin Soskis in a 2011 article for Slate.

The lyrics came to Howe late at night on Nov. 18, 1861, as she was drifting off to sleep. She sprung from her bed and jotted down the lines in the dark. When Howe awoke in the morning, she couldn't remember the song, but there on a piece of paper were the words she felt compelled to write the night before.

According to the Civil War Trust, Howe became interested in the idea of writing a Civil War song while singing popular war songs while on a camping trip.

Between the deeply religious language and its origin, the hymn became the leading anthem of the Union during the Civil War, and one of the most enduring works of art from that era.

You can read the full poem below.

None

A photo of Julia Ward Howe’s "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic."

(U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephane Belcher)

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.

On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.

Read More Show Less
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove (Lincoln County Sheriff's Office)

A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.

Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.

Read More Show Less
Sailors from USS George Washington (CVN 73) wear-test the I-Boot 5 at Naval Station Norfolk. (U.S. Navy photo by Courtney Williams)

Navy senior leaders could decide whether or not to approve the new I-Boot 5 early in 2020, said Rob Carroll, director of the uniform matters office at the Chief of Naval Personnel's office.

"The I-Boot 5 is currently wrapping up its actual wear test, its evaluation," Carroll told Task & Purpose on Monday. "We're hoping that within the first quarter of calendar year 2020 that we'll be able to present leadership with the information that they need to make an informed decision."

Read More Show Less
Senator Jim Inhofe speaks with local reporters at a press conference held at the 138th Fighter Wing August 2, 2018. (U.S. National Guard/Staff Sgt. Rebecca R. Imwalle)

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn leveled harsh criticism last week at the contractor accused of negligence and fraudulent activity while operating private housing at Tinker Air Force Base and other military installations.

Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, referred to Balfour Beatty Communities as "notorious." Horn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told a company executive she was "incredibly disappointed you have failed to live up to your responsibility for taking care of the people that are living in these houses."

Read More Show Less
U.S. Senator Rick Scott speaks during a press conference at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 29, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Monica Roybal)

The Saudi national who killed three students on a U.S. Naval Air station in Pensacola was in the United States on a training exchange program.

On Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott said the United States should suspend that program, which brings foreign nationals to America for military training, pending a "full review."

Read More Show Less