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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Songs for Our Times

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

1. Listen

Listen: with Vocals
John Terrill, Performer. 1898.
Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, Composer.

Listen: Instrumental
Airforce Band of Liberty, Boston, MA. Performers.
Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, Composer.

2. Read Lyrics

When Johnny comes marching home again,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer, the boys will shout,
The ladies they will all turn out,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

The old church bells will peal with joy,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
To welcome home our darling boy,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The village lads and lassies say
With roses they will strew the way,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

Get ready for the Jubilee,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give the hero three times three,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon his loyal brow,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

Let love and friendship on that day,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
Their choicest treasures then display,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
And let each one perform some part
To fill with joy the warrior's heart,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

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3. Learn More

Listen: A Curator's Insights

More than 3 million men and boys fought against their countrymen in the Civil War, and more than 620,000 lost their lives -- 2 percent of the U.S. population. When the survivors of this terrible conflict finally came home, they discovered that their homes and communities had been profoundly transformed by the war, just as they themselves had been. Businesses and households had failed or moved because of missing wage earners, and farmworkers and women had taken a more visible role in business and civic affairs than would have been possible a few years before. Nearly every family had suffered some loss, and the homes that were not in mourning were often consumed with the work of nursing injured and disabled veterans.

Nationally, the upheaval and bloodshed of the war led to a widespread economic depression, especially in the states of the defeated Confederacy, on whose soil nearly all of the fighting had taken place. Throughout the U.S., the postwar years were marked by unemployment and displacement, as well as by the political and racial strife of Reconstruction. Meanwhile, the tens of thousand of African American soldiers who had fought in the Union army were often met with open hostility when they returned home, in North and South alike, and became the targets of vigilantes and lynch mobs.

Although most of the men and boys who marched home in 1865 were welcomed with open arms, their welcome was a complicated one, and was shadowed by the grief, the struggles, and the hope for a new beginning that the war's end brought with it.

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4. Rewrite the Song

1) First Name:

2) Last Name:

3) Title of New Song:

Verse 1 Read Lyrics

Chorus

Verse 2

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