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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When I can read my title clear C.M.
Isaac Watts, 1707

REMEMBER ME
PISGAH
AULD LANG SYNE

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


When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I bid farewell to every fear,
And wipe my weeping eyes.

Should earth against my soul engage,
And hellish darts be hurled,
Then I can smile at Satan’s rage,
And face a frowning world.


Let cares, like a wild deluge come,
And storms of sorrow fall!
May I but safely reach my home,
My God, my heav’n, my All.

There shall I bathe my weary soul
In seas of heav’nly rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll,
Across my peaceful breast.

" I never felt so much the loss of any earthly blessing. By and by night fell, and the stars shone out clear and beautiful above the dark field, and I began to think of that great God who had given his Son to die a death of agony for me, and that he was up there — up above the scene of suffering, and I above those glorious stars; and I felt that I was going home to meet him, and praise him there; and I felt that I ought to praise God, even wounded and on the battle-field. I could not help singing that beautiful hymn:

“When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I'll bid farewell to every fear,
And dry my weeping eyes.”

". . . there was a Christian brother in the brush near me. I could not see him, but I could hear him. He took up the strain, and beyond him another and another caught it up, all over the terrible battle-field of Shiloh. That night the echo was resounding, and we made the field of battle ring with the hymns of praise to God." (Moore, Frank.  The Civil War in Song and Story 1860-1865. New York: P. F. Collier, 1889, p. 254)