The Battle Hymn of the Republic About 1856 William Steffe of South Carolina wrote a camp-meeting song with the traditional "Glory Hallelujah" refrain. It started with the words "Say, brothers, will you meet us on Canaan's happy shore?" The tune had such an infectious swing that it became widely known. In 1861, along with Massachusetts Governor Andrews and a Unitarian Church Pastor, Julia Ward Howe and her husband, Dr. Samuel Ward were invited to watch a military review of federal troops.
Following the inspection, as the Howes were returning to the city of Washington, the streets were filled with soldiers singing "John Brown's Body." This song came about early in the Civil War when a regiment stationed in Boston included a soldier named John Brown. This regiment using Steffe's tune sang about the fiery John Brown of Kansas who shortly before had made his stand against slavery, but directed it as a jest toward their contemporary John Brown.
After arriving home Julia Ward Howe wrote the famous hymn. Following are her accounts of how it came to her: "I awoke in the gray of the morning, and as I lay waiting for dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to entwine themselves in my mind, and I said to myself, 'I must get up and write these verses, lest I fall asleep and forget them!' So I sprang out of bed and in the dimness found an old stump of a pen, which I remembered using the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper." The words for this hymn were first published in the "The Atlantic Monthly" as the "Civil War Battle Song of the Republic".
The impact of the battle hymn was a great on. It both inspired and pushed...