September 1862
a memorial to the battle of Antietam
Words and music by Tom May, copyright June 2016
©Blue Vignette Music, ASCAP

1. Johnny, my Johnny, now what's that sound I hear?
see the rows of the ragged men marching northward with no fear
only 50 miles from Washington, see the glint of their polished steel
I hope that they don't spot us, before we finish our breakfast meal

It's warm here close to Sharpsburg, but summer's almost done
perhaps we will be spared, if this battle can be won
we crushed them again at Bull Run, and Shenandoah in the east
if we rout them this far north, perhaps they just might sue for peace


So c'mon boys, build up that fire, the nights are chilly now
forget your homes and your sweethearts far away
break the coffee beans with the rifle butts, add some turnips to the stew
we're camped beside Antietam Creek, it's September 1862

2. Burnside moves so slowly-McClellan's even worse
even knowing Robert Lee's plans, these generals are a curse
to the brave men dressed in blue, who outnumber confederates 2 to 1
who will die in bloody lanes, before this battlefield is done

McClellan lacks resolve, but Lee has resolve to spare
so much so that he leaves but one way, for us to escape and get out of there
the two great armies blunder, 'til they meet on that gruesome day
if the rebels can somehow triumph, France and Britain might join the fray

repeat chorus

3. Stonewall Jackson takes Harpers Ferry, then joins Longstreet in the field
gallant men fall to minie balls and calvary swords of tempered steel
the carnage of the shrapnel, from the cannons relentless fire
makes countless women widows, dressed in funeral attire

advantage gained and lost, until the bridges finally fall
to the overwhelming force of the Union, until no ground is gained at all
The order for retreat is heard, in Lee's reluctant voice
atop his grey mare "Traveler", he can see he has no choice

repeat chorus

4. No day in our short history, has cost so many brave men's lives
given grudgingly on both sides, so that the nation could survive
so that Lincoln could proclaim, the sin of slavery was at an end
with a prayer to our better angels, that we could unite again

Now 150 years have passed and the country is restless still
hear the echoes of Jim Crow, feel the ghost of Emmit Till
across the land folks are voting again, out of ignorance and fear
against that battle cry of freedom, they no longer seem to hear.........

chorus X2