On Disbanding the Army | American Revolution War Song

About the author

Frank Moore
Frank Moore

Frank Moore was a journalist and Revolutionary historian. He published a number of books on the American Revolution during his career in the mid-19th century, including Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution, Diary of the American Revolution and The Patriot Preachers of the American Revolution.

The author of these verses, Colonel David Humphreys,* “the soldier-poet of the revolution,” was born at Derby, Connecticut, in the year 1752, and graduated at Yale College in 1771.

On Disbanding the Army**

YE brave Columbian bands ! a long farewell !
Well have ye fought for freedom – nobly done
Your martial task – the meed immortal won –
And Time’s last records shall your triumphs tell.

Once friendship made their cup of suff ‘rings sweet
The dregs how bitter, now those bands must part !
Ah ! never, never more on earth to meet;
Distill’d from gall that inundates the heart,
What tears from heroes eyes are seen to start !

Ye, too, farewell, who fell in fields of gore,
And chang’d tempestuous toil for rest serene;
Soon shall we join you on the peaceful shore,
(Though gulfs irremeable roll between),
Thither by death-tides borne, as ye full soon have been.

  • *David Humphreys. Soon after Humphreys graduated, he went to reside with Colonel Phillips, of Phillips Manor, New York. He Joined the Continental army, and in 1778 became one of General Putnam’s aids, with the rank of Major. In 1780 he was promoted to be aide-de-camp to Washington, with the rank of Colonel. He continued in the family of the Commander-in-Chief during the war, and after the resignation of the General, accompanied him to Mount Vernon. For his valor at Yorktown, Congress honored him with a sword. On the appointment of Mr. Jefferson, as ambassador to France, Col. Humphreys was nominated as Secretary to the Legation, and for the first time left his native country, in 1784. In 1786, be was a member of the Connecticut Legislature, and about that time he, Barlow, and Hopkins wrote the Anarchiad. In 1790, he was appointed Minister to Portugal, and afterwards Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain. His literary attainments were considerable. Besides several poems, he wrote various political pamphlets, and completed a life of General Putnam, which is included in a volume of his works.
  • **On disbanding the army. It will be difficult for any person who was not present with the troops at the conclusion of the war, to form an adequate idea of the affecting circumstances which attended the disbanding of the army. Note by the author of the sonnet.

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