Words by: Julia W. Howe (1819-1910) in 1861

Music by: American melody att. to William Steffe (1852-??) in 1856

"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is a hymn by American writer Julia Ward Howe using the music from the abolitionist song "John Brown's Body". Howe's more famous lyrics were written in November 1861 and first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. It became popular during the American Civil War. Since that time it has become an extremely popular and well-known American patriotic song.

History

The tune was written around 1856 by William Steffe. The first known lyrics were called "Canaan's Happy Shore" or "Brothers, Will You Meet Me?" and the song was sung as a campfire spiritual. The tune spread across the United States, gaining a reputation as the best song of its time.

Julia Ward Howe heard this song during a public review of the troops outside Washington on Upton's Hill, Virginia. Howe's companion at the review, the Reverend James Freeman Clarke,  suggested to Howe that she write new words for the fighting men's song. Staying at the Willard Hotel in Washington on the night of November 18, 1861, Howe awoke with the words of the song in her mind and in near darkness wrote the verses to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic".  Of the writing of the lyrics, Howe remembered:

I went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, 'I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them.' So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_Hymn_of_the_Republic

http://womenshistory.about.com/library/etext/bl_howe_battle_hymn.htm

Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy,  William L. Simon, editor.   Montreal, QC:  The Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd, 1975.

Hymns of Glorious Praise, Springfield, Missouri:  Gospel Publishing House, 1969.

 As originally published 1862 

in The Atlantic Monthly

Cover of the 1862 sheet music for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"

Julia Ward Howe

LYRICS:  Battle Hymn of the Republic 

1. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

2. I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.

3. He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.