Singing the Songs of Zion
Soldiers' Hymn Collections and Hymn Singing
in the American Civil War

Mark D. Rhoads

"Every night the holy songs of Zion go up on this balmy spring air, a sweet incense, I think,
to the throne of the Eternal.
" Rev. William Hauser, chaplain of the 48th Georgia

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All hail the power of Jesus' name C.M.
Edward Perronett, 1780

CORONATION
MILES LANE

Preface

Hymns

A charge to keep I have
All hail the power of Jesus' name
Am I a soldier of the cross
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
Come thou fount of every blessing
Come we that love the Lord
Gently Lord O gently lead us
Guide me O thou great Jehovah
How firm a foundation
I would not live always
I'm a pilgrim and I'm a stranger
Jesus lover of my soul
Just as I am without one plea
Mid scenes of confusion
My days are gliding swiftly by
Nearer my God to thee
O happy day that fixed my choice
O sing to me of heaven
Rock of ages cleft for me
Say brothers will you meet us
There is a happy land
There is a fountain filled with blood
There is land of pure delight
When I can read my title clear
When I survey the wondrous cross
Why should we start and fear to die


As in the Confederate Hymns for the Camp

All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall:
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.

Ye chosen seed of Israel's race,
A remnant week and small!
Hail Him who saves you by his grace,
And crown Him Lord of all.

Ye Gentile sinners ne'er forget
The wormwood and the gall;
Go, spread your trophies at his feet
And crown him Lord of all.

As in the Union The American Sunday School Hymn-Book

All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall:
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.


Crown him, ye martyrs of our God,
Who from his alter call;
Extol the stem of Jesse's rod,
And crown him Lord of all.

Ye chosen seed of Israel's race,
Ye ransom'd from the fall,
Hail Him who saves you by his grace,
And crown Him Lord of all.

Sinners whose love can ne'er forget
The wormwood and the gall,
Go, spread your trophies at his feet
And crown him Lord of all.

Let every kindred, every tribe
On this terrestrial ball
To Him all majesty ascribe
And crown Him Lord of all.

(Other verses and verse variants exist as well.)

We went down from Helena to Milliken's Bend, on a boat crowded to its utmost capacity with soldiers and a wicked set of officers, returning to the army. They spent their time in drinking and gambling. Mr. Bumell and I, as we found, were the only Christians on the boat. We felt as if somehow we must plant the cross right in the midst of the scene. Immediately after supper, the tables were cleared away and nearly all began playing cards. We went into our state-room and knelt down to ask God's help, for it seemed to me at least that anything we could do was useless. Coming out, we stationed ourselves in the center of the room; all around us were men intent upon their games, cursing bitterly at losses, laughing loudly over success, and relating abominable stories. It seemed the very mouth of hell. I began by singing the hymn — "All hail the power of Jesus' name." If a thunderbolt had fallen into their midst, the astonishment could not have been greater. For a moment every man stopped and looked at us in perfect amazement. After singing two verses alone, Mr. Burnell stated that we were Delegates of the Christian Commission on our way to the army at Milliken's Bend for the purpose of preaching Christ and ministering to soldiers in distress. He then addressed a few earnest words to the officers, reminding them of the influence of their example on their commands, — how demoralizing it sometimes was, and beseeching them to care more for their men's eternal welfare. He reminded them how many sons, given to the army by devoted Christian mothers, had been ruined through the example of wicked officers. For a moment it seemed to make an impression, but all were soon again engaged in their gambling games. (from Smith, Rev. Edward P. Incidents of the  United States Christian Commission. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippencott & Co., 1869, p.111