The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing
2013, Volume 34
"Will not these days be by thy poets sung": Poems of the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard, 1863–1864Edited by Elizabeth Lorang and R. J. Weir
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For the Anglo-African.
MARCHING ALONG FOR FREEDOM.
While armies and navies are gathering for war, The friends of the Slaves hear a voice from afar. "Go, break every yoke! bid the feeble be strong, Gird on your bright armor, and go marching along." Marching along! we are marching along, To break every yoke, we are marching along; The conflict with Slavery may be fearful and long, But gird on your armor and go marching along.
"Go, ransom the Slaves!" saith Jehovah again, "Fear not to contend 'gainst oppression and sin, Proclaim ye Liberty throughout all the land, Thus marching along, you'll obey my command." Marching along! we are marching along, To bring forth the jubilee, we're marching along; The conflict with Slavery may be fearful and long, But gird on your armor, and go marching along.
The foe is before us in battle array, Yet ne'er will we falter, nor turn from our way; The Lord is strength! Oh, let this be our song, As for Justice and Liberty we are marching along. Marching along! we are marching along, In the strength of Jehovah we're marching along; The conflict with Slavery may be fearful and long, So we gird on our armor, and go marching along.
Through conflicts and trials our crowns must be won, But we ask no discharge till our work is well done; For of this we are assured that we shall not go wrong, While for Freedom and Justice we are marching along. Marching along! we are marching along, For Justice and Freedom we are marching along; The conflict with Slavery may be fearful and long, So we gird on our armor, and go marching along.
Press onward! Press onward! and hope to the end, When we battle for the Truth, we have always a Friend, Soon, soon shall we join in the conqueror's song, For the Lord is our Leader, as we're marching along. Marching along! we are marching along, The Lord is our Leader, as we're marching along; The conflict with Slavery may be fearful and long, So we gird on our armor, and go marching along.
- Lewis Conger Lockwood (1815–1904). Ordained by the Cincinnati Presbytery in 1842, Lockwood held pastorates in Ohio, New York, and Connecticut during the 1850s (William I. Chalmers, A History of the Congregational Church in Aquebogue, Long Island, N.Y. [Aquebogue, NY: n.p., 1910], 62–63). In August 1861, the American Missionary Association appointed him as "their first missionary to the freedmen" at Fortress Monroe, Virginia ("Appendix: Mission to the Freedmen," in Mary S. Peake: The Colored Teacher at Fortress Monroe by Lewis C. Lockwood [Boston: American Tract Society, 1862], 54). For just over a year, he participated in the relief effort and ran church meetings and schools. Christian McWhirter notes that Lockwood also made an early attempt to transcribe and publish a slave song in antislavery newspapers and as sheet music. "Let My People Go!" ("Go Down Moses") was noticed and praised in the National Anti-Slavery Standard and the Liberator (Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012], 155–56). Lockwood's acquaintance with "devoted teacher" Mary S. Peake resulted in a brief biography, Mary S. Peake: The Colored Teacher at Fortress Monroe (1862). According to the New York Independent of August 13, 1863, Lockwood next "[undertook] to form a colony of Congregationalists to settle in the state of Delaware, now virtually a free state" ("Congregational Emigration to Delaware"). A year later, a letter from Lockwood appeared in the Independent of August 11, 1864, encouraging emigration to Delaware and describing plans for communities there ("Emigration to Delaware").
- References to a cluster of biblical commands. See Isaiah 58:6: "Is this not the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?" Also, Joel 3:10: "Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong." Lockwood's "bright armor" was probably inspired by the famous metaphors in Ephesians 6:13–17.
- Lockwood transcribed or adapted a set of lyrics to William B. Bradbury's "Marching Along" (1861). Originally a tribute to George McClellan, the popular army song continued to circulate in a variety of forms after the general's removal. Thomas Wentworth Higginson's Second South Carolina Volunteers claimed it for their own during the Emancipation Day celebrations at Port Royal (Christian McWhirter, Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012], 88, 158–59).