Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth
on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and
dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Today and this year, we celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. He is a man whose greatness inspires awe, both in what he achieved during his lifetime and presidency, and by the great things that flowed from those achievements to our nation and the world.
…that we here
highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain;
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of
freedom; and that government of the people, by the people,
for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
The song I have picked to commemorate this day is “We Are Coming Father Abra’am.”
On July 1, 1862, Lincoln put out a call for 300,000 more volunteer soldiers to fight in the Union army. Quaker abolitionist James Sloan Gibbons quickly penned the poem “We Are Coming Father Abra’am (300,000 More),” which was printed in the New York Evening Post on July 16. Several composers just as quickly set the poem to music, including Stephen Foster and L.O. Emerson. The Emerson version is the most famous.
We are coming, Father Abra’am, three hundred thousand more,
From Mississippi’s winding stream and from New England’s shore;
We leave our plows and workshops, our wives and children dear,
With hearts too full for utterance, with but a silent tear;
We dare not look behind us, but steadfastly before–
We are coming, Father Abra’am, three hundred thousand more!
We are coming, we are coming, our Union to restore;
We are coming, Father Abra’am, with three hundred thousand more;
We are coming, Father Abra’am, with three hundred thousand more.
The video begins with a brief historical monologue. The song begins at about 1:30. It is performed by Frederick Fennell & The Eastman Wind Ensemble, and apparently is an accurate rendition of how the song would have been performed by soldiers in 1862.
(lolLincoln borrowed from I’ve Been Reading Lately.)