Before the Battle Mother
X:1 T:Before the Battle, Mother M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Air B:Stephen Grier music manuscript collection (Book 3, c. 1883, No. 206, p. 63) B:http://grier.itma.ie/book-three#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=62&z=116.5801%2C109.8861%2C3098.831%2C1290.4289 N:Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894) was a piper and fiddler from N:Newpark, Bohey, Gortletteragh, south Co. Leitrim. Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G GA BD|GGFE|FGAG|FE D2|GA BD|GGFE|FGAc|BA G2:| |:BBcB|AGFA|ABAG|FE D2|GA BD|GGFE|FGAc|BA G2:|
BEFORE THE BATTLE, MOTHER. AKA - "Just before the Battle, Mother." American, Air (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Just before the Battle, Mother" was written by George Fredrick Root (1920-1895), a New England musician, songwriter and composer who moved to Chicago in 1859 to further his career in his brother's music publishing house. His many conflict-related songs were popular during the American Civil War, particularly with troops from the Union Army. This one begins:
Just before the battle, mother,
I am thinking most of you,
While upon the field we're watching
With the enemy in view.
Comrades brave are 'round me lying,
Filled with thoughts of home and God
For well they know that on the morrow,
Some will sleep beneath the sod.
Farewell, mother, you may never
Press me to your heart again,
But, oh, you'll not forget me, mother,
If I'm numbered with the slain.
The song was popular with adherents of the Primrose League in Great Britain, an organization for spreading Conservative principles founded in 1883. This date coincides with the entry of the air in County Leitrim piper and fiddler Stephen Grier's (c. 1824-1894) large music manuscript collection, but there is no way to know if the inclusion of "Before the Battle Mother" had anything to do with Grier's politics.