Some of Our Favorite Confederate Poems, Quotations, & Songs


THE CONFEDERATE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: "I am a Loyal Confederate Southern in the service of the just and honorable cause of the South, in behalf of the Citizens of the Confederate States of America. It is my purpose and mission to reclaim the honor of our forefathers who fought, suffered, bled and died in agony in our nation’s defense. Unfurl and raise our Confederate States National Flag to it’s rightful place and glory. Duty, responsibility and my own personal honor require of me to do whatever is lawful, peaceful and honorable, in order to restore the Confederate States Constitution to power, re-seat the Confederate State Government, and reinstate the Confederate States of America to it’s rightful independence. With these words I swear my pledge of loyalty forever!” Deo Vindice!

"I am not now nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way the social or the political equality of a White and Black races. I am not now, nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor of intermarriages with white people. There is a physical difference between the white and black races, which will forever forbid the two races from living together on social or political equality. There must be a position of superior and inferior and I am in favor of assigning the superior position to the white man." Abraham Lincoln
"GOD SAVE THE SOUTH" by George Henry Miles

I. God save the South, God save the South,
Her altars and firesides, God save the South!
Now that the war is nigh, now that we arm to die,
Chanting our battle cry, "Freedom or death!"
Chanting our battle cry, "Freedom or death!"

II. God be our shield, at home or afield,
Stretch Thine arm over us, strengthen and save.
What tho' they're three to one, forward each sire and son,
Strike till the war is won, strike to the grave!
Strike till the war is won, strike to the grave!

III. God made the right stronger than might,
Millions would trample us down in their pride.
Lay Thou their legions low, roll back the ruthless foe,
Let the proud spoiler know God's on our side.
Let the proud spoiler know God's on our side.

IV. Hark honor's call, summoning all.
Summoning all of us unto the strife.
Sons of the South, awake! Strike till the brand shall break,
Strike for dear Honor's sake, Freedom and Life!
Strike for dear Honor's sake, Freedom and Life!

V. Rebels before, our fathers of yore.
Rebel's the righteous name Washington bore.
Why, then, be ours the same, the name that he snatched from shame,
Making it first in fame, foremost in war.
Making it first in fame, foremost in war.
VI. War to the hilt, theirs be the guilt,
Who fetter the free man to ransom the slave.
Up then, and undismay'd, sheathe not the battle blade,
Till the last foe is laid low in the grave!
Till the last foe is laid low in the grave!

VII. God save the South, God save the South,
Dry the dim eyes that now follow our path.
Still let the light feet rove safe through the orange grove,
Still keep the land we love safe from Thy wrath.
Still keep the land we love safe from Thy wrath.

VIII. God save the South, God save the South,
Her altars and firesides, God save the South!
For the great war is nigh, and we will win or die,
Chanting our battle cry, "Freedom or death!"
Chanting our battle cry, "Freedom or death!"

The following songs are TRADITIONAL and author(s) unknown.  If author is known, I will, of course, specify it.  Thanks.                                                    

Oh, I seen Big Joe as he got his horse and set himself for a ride.
He wore a coat of blackest black,
And his gun strapped by his side,
And his gun strapped by his side.

And I says, Big Joe, where do you go? Do you go to the Quantrill side?
For the night is black and your coat is black,
And your gun strapped by your side,
And your gun strapped by your side.

And I says, Big Joe, Oh yes I know they stole your fair young bride,
But you lost your wife and you'll lose your life,
If you go to the Quantrill side.
If you go to the Quantrill side.

But not a word did he say to me, and he passed me by with a stride.
And I says, Big Joe, Oh don't you go.
Don't you go to the Quantrill side.
Don't you go to the Quantrill side.

Bitter Creek was bare, and they caught him there, and that was the place where he died.
They killed him in his black, black coat.
And his gun strapped by his side.
And his gun strapped by his side   

The Union folks away up north were one time much afraid,
'Bout something coming from the South, they said it was a raid.
Now I will tell you what it was, if you will just keep cool—
It had long ears, and a long slick tail, and called Jo Shelby's Mule.

Shout Boys, make a noise, the Yankees are afraid
That something's up and hell's to pay when Shelby's on a raid.

Once this mule went on a spree, up close to Lexington,
And every time he gave a snort he made the Blue Coats run.
Coming back through “Old Saline” he got into a trap,
He seared Old Brown, kicked up his heels, and came back safe to Pap.

Once I went to see Old Abe and found him in a rage,
Because this mule had started north, and just then crossed “sage.
Indeed, his anger knew no bounds, says I, “Sir, pray keep cool.”
“I can't,” said he, “I've lost so much by Shelby's long tailed Mule.”

“Old Rosy” got a long dispatch, which came from way down East. Saying, “Take some thirty thousand men and try to catch that beast.” To obey orders he was bound, but said Abe was a fool, And hadn't halter strong enough to hold Jo Shelby's Mule.
Some say our State did not secede, but let me tell you now That if she did or if she didn't we'll have her anyhow. Let us alone, we'll do the same, that is the Southern rule; If that won't do we'll pack the State down South on Shelby's Mule.

Missouri! Missouri! bright land of the west!
Where the way worn emigrant always found rest,
Who gave to the farmer reward for his toil,
Expended in turning and breaking the soil.
Awake to the notes of the bugle and drum,
Awake from your slumber the tyrant hath come!

And swear by your honor your chains shall be riven,
And add your bright star to our flag of eleven.

They forced you to join in their unholy fight,
With fire and with sword, with power and with might.
Gainst father and brother, & loved ones so near                                                                                                                                                                      
Gainst women, and children, and all you hold dear;
They've over run your soil, insulted your press,
They´ve murdered your citizens—shown no redress—

So swear by your honor your chains shall be riven,
And add your bright star to our flag of eleven.

Missouri! Missouri! oh, where thy proud fame!
Free land of the west, thy once cherished name,
Now trod in the dust by a despot´s command,
Proclaiming his own tyrant law o´er the land;
Brave men of Missouri, strike without fear,
McCulloch, and Jackson, and Price are all near.

Then swear by your honor your chains shall be riven,
And add your bright star to our flag of eleven.


Up! comrades, up! The moon´s in the west, and the hounds of old Pennock will find out our nest.
We must be gone ere the dawning of day; the Quantrill they seek shall be far, far away.
Their toils after us shall ever be vain. Let them scout through the brush and scour the plain;
We´ll pass through their midst in the dead of the night. We are lions in combat and eagles in flight.

Chorus: Rouse, my brave boys, up, up and away; press hard on the foe ere the dawning of day;
Look well to your steeds so gallant in chase. May they never give o´er till they win in the race.

When old Pennock is weary and the chase given o´er, we´ll pass through their midst and bathe in their gore.
We´ll come as a thunderbolt comes from the cloud; we´ll smite the oppressor and humble the proud.
Few shall escape us and few shall be spared, for keen is our saber, in vengeance ´tis bared;
For none are so strong, so mighty in fight, as the the warrior who battles for our Southern right.

Though the bush is our home, the green sod our bed, our drink from the river, and roots for our bread,
We pine not for more; we bow not the head, for freedom is ever within the green wood.
Tyrants shan´t conquer and fetters shan´t bind, for true are our rifles; our steeds like the wind.
We´ll sheathe not the sword; we´ll draw not the rein, till Pennock is banished from valley and plain.


Come all you bold robbers and open your ears,
Of Quantrill the lion-heart you quickly shall hear;
With his band of bold robbers in double quick time,
They came to burn Lawrence just over the line.


All routing and shouting and giving the yell,
Like so many demons just raised up from hell,
The boys they were drunken on powder and wine,
They came to burn Lawrence just over the line.
They came to burn Lawrence, they came not to stay,
They rode in one morning at the break of the day,
Their arms were a-waving, their horses a-foam,
Quantrill was riding his famous grey roan.
They came to burn Lawrence, they came not to stay,
Jim Lane he was up at the break of the day;
He saw them a-coming, and got in a fright,
He crawled in a out-house to get out of sight.

Oh, Quantrill's a fighter, a bold heart-ed boy,
A brave man or woman he'd never annoy;
He'd take from the wealthy and give to the poor,
For brave men there's never a bolt on his door.


As I roved out one morning
To see what I could see,
I fell in love with a pretty little girl
And her in love with me.
And her in love with me
I fell in love with a pretty little girl
And her in love with me.

She took me to her parlor
She cooled me with her fan,
She whispered low in her mother's ear
I love the guerrilla man...

Oh, daughter, oh dear daughter
How can you treat me so,
To leave your dear old mother
And with the guerrilla go?...

Mother, Oh dear mother,
You know I love you well.
But the love I have for the guerrilla man
No human tongue can tell...

KELLY'S IRISH BRIGADE                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Come all you that hold true communion with southern Confederates bold,
I will tell you of some men who for the Union in the northern ranks were enrolled;
Who came to Missouri in their glory, and thought by their power we´d be dismayed;
But we soon made them tell a different story when they met with Kelly´s Irish Brigade.


Three cheers for the Irish Brigade
Three cheers for the Irish Brigade.
And all true-hearted Hibernians
In the ranks of Kelly´s Irish Brigade!

You call us rebels and traitors, but yourselves have thrown off that name of late.
You were called it by the English invaders at home in seventeen and ninety-eight.
The name to us is not a new one, though ´tis one that never will degrade
Any true-hearted Hibernian in the ranks of Kelly´s Irish Brigade


You dare not call us invaders,´tis but state rights and liberties we ask;
And Missouri, we ever will defend her, no matter how hard be the task.
Then let true Irishmen assemble; let the voice of Missouri be obeyed;
And northern fanatics may tremble when they meet with Kelly´s Irish Brigade


FAVORITE QUANTRILL AND OTHER CONFEDERATE QUOTATIONS                                                                                                       

No one is left to tell us what it was like to fight for and lose the Cause. However, we have some excellent poetry, songs, and quotes from which we can seek understanding. In this section, I will begin with just a few examples.  I hope that others will send me their favorites and I will add them.

A partial quote from a letter written by Julia Hughes Spurr, Sponsor, Ky Division UCV, 1896, Pine Grove, Ky. 

Our poet priest of the South thus speaks to us in the conquered banner -"Touch it not - unfold it never - Let it drop - there unfurled forever - for its people's hopes are dead." We of the dear Southland would never say unfurl those banners - not in war but in peace. Carry them on high - show the world they are dear to us yet - build a memorial faster - more magnificent than any on our Globe.  Say to our people although all was once dark & dear - bright and joyous days have come - & we love "their curse" with a better love, & a fonder devoltion than ever...

"It is well that war is so terrible, else men would learn to love it to much."   

Robert E. Lee, CSA

"If we are to die, let us die like men."                                                                                              

Major General Patrick Cleburne                                                                                                                                          

"[If the South loses] it means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy. That our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers, will learn from Northern school books their version of the war, will be impressed by all of the influences of History and Education to regard our gallant dead as traitors and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision."

Major General Patrick Cleburne                                                                                                                                                                                                         

As most of you know many verses of Southern songs and many stanzas of Southern poems were deleted because they did not pass PC muster, deleted because they did not fit the victor's ideas, or simply "lost" through the ages. When I first put on the first verse of the"Conquered Banner" by Rev. J. A Ryan, I thought that was the entire song!  I recently found the entire six verse song in the book,  Southern War Songs collected by W. L. Fagan in 1890.  Here is the entire song:

Furl that banner, for ‘tis weary,
Round its staff ‘tis drooping dreary,
Furl it, fold it, it is best,
For there’s not a man to wave it,
And there’s not a sword to save it,
And there’s not one left to lave it
In the blood which heroes gave it;
And its foes now scorn and brave it,
--Furl it, hide it, let it rest.

Take that banner down –‘tis tattered,
Broken is its staff and shattered,
And the valiant hosts are scattered
Over whom it floated high.
Oh ! ‘tis hard for us to fold it,
Hard to think there’s none to hold it,
Hard that those who once unrolled it
Now must furl it with a sigh.

Furl that banner, furl it sadly ---
Once ten thousands hailed it gladly,
And ten thousands wildly, madly,
Swore it should forever wave,
Swore that foeman’s sword could never
Hearts like their’s entwined dissever,
‘Till that flag would float forever                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
O’er their freedom or their grave.    

Furl it ! for the hands that grasped it,

And the hearts that fondly clasped it,
Cold and dead are lying low;
And the banner, it is trailing
While around it sounds the wailing
Of the people in their woe.
For, though conquered, they adore it,
Love the cold, dead hands that bore it,
Weep for those who fell before it,
Pardon those who trailed and tore it,
And oh ! wildly they deplore it,
Now to furl and fold it so.

Furl that banner ! true ‘tis gory,
Yet ‘tis wreathed around with glory,
And ‘twill live in song and story,
 Though its folds are in the dust;
For its fame on brightest pages,
Penned by poets and by sages,
Shall go sounding down the ages,
Furl its folds though now we must.

Furl that banner ! softly, slowly,
Treat it gently – it is holy –
For it droops above the dead;
Touch it not, unfold it never;
Let it droop there, furled forever,
For its people’s hopes are dead.

After this song was published at the end of the Civil War, an answer to it was published by Sir Henry Houghton, Bart.  Titled FOLD IT UP CAREFULLY. Sir Houghton was obviously disenchanted with his own country, England, for not coming to the Confederacy's aid during the War. Here is the four verse song:

Gallant nation, foiled by numbers,
Say not that your hopes are fled;
Keep that glorious flag which slumbers,
One day to avenge your dead.

Keep it, widowed. Sonless mothers,
Keep it, sisters, mourning brothers,
Furl it with an iron will;
Furl it now, but --- keep it still,
Think not that its work is done.

Keep it ‘till your children take it,
Once again to hail and make it
All their sires have bled and fought for,
All their noble hearts have sought for,
Bled and fought for all alone.
All alone ! aye, shame the story.
Millions here deplore the stain,
Shame, alas ! for England’s glory,
Freedom called, and called in vain.

Furl that banner, sadly, slowly,
Treat it gently, for ‘tis holy:
‘Till that day –yes, furl it sadly,
Then once more unfurl it gladly ---
 Conquered banner – keep it still !

FRANK AND JESSE JAMES                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

On a small Missouri farm
Back when the west was young
Two boys learned to rope and ride
And be handy with a gun

War broke out between the states
And they joined up with Quantrill
And it was over in Clay county
That Frank and Jesse finally learned to kill

Keep on riding, riding, riding
Frank and Jesse James
Keep on riding, riding, riding
'Til you clear your names
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Across the rivers and the range
Keep on riding, riding, riding Frank and Jesse James

After Appomattox they were on the loosing side
So no amnesty was granted
And as outlaws they did ride
They rode against the railroads,
And they rode against the banks
And they rode against the governor, never did they ask for a word of thanks

Keep on riding, riding, riding
Frank and Jesse James
Keep on riding, riding, riding                                                                                                                                                                                                               
'Til you clear your names
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Across the prairies and the plains
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Frank and Jesse James

Robert Ford, a gunman
Did exchange for his parole
Took the life of James the outlaw
Which he snuck up on and stole
No one knows just where they came to be misunderstood                                                                                                                                                                                  
But the poor Missouri farmers knew
Frank and Jesse did the best they could

Keep on riding, riding, riding
Frank and Jesse James
Keep on riding, riding, riding
'Til you clear your names
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Across the rivers and the range
Keep on riding, riding, riding, Frank and Jesse James

Warren Zevon                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
A few Quantrill Quotes:

"But Quantrill and his men were no more bandits than the men on the other side. I've been to reunions of Quantrill's men two or three times. All they were trying to do was protect the property on the Missouri side of the line".

President Harry S. Truman

"We were Wild Beasts, yes,
But we War on Wild Beasts"

John Jarrette 2nd Sergeant Quantrill Guerrilla

"Quantrill's men have no apologies to make to anybody. We were soldiers fighting in a good cause."

Dr. L.C. Miller of Knobnoster, Missouri, one of the oldest surviving  guerrillas at a 1902 Quantrill reunion in Independence, Mo.

"Be True to your friends if the Heavens fall"

Cole Younger Quantrill Guerrilla

"Many have no monuments (The Missouri Guerrillas). They don't need
any. They made their monuments while they lived.  They left a record
for daring courage that the world has not surpassed."

Frank James Quantrill Guerrilla

"The standing side by side till death,The dying for some wounded friend,The faith that failed not to the end, The strong endurance till the breath And body took their ways apart. I only know. I keep my trust, their vices! earth has them by heart. Their virtues! they are with their dust."  

"The warfare of the Guerrilla was the warfare of the fox joined to that of the lion. He crept from the rear, and he dashed to the front."

"Patriotism, such as the Guerrilla was required to profess, could not spring up in the market-place at the bidding of a Red Leg or Jawhawker. He believed, indeed, that the patriotism of Jim Lane and Jennison was merely a highway robbery transferred from darkness to the dawn, and he believed the truth."

"Man for man, he (the Missouri guerrilla) put his life on the cast of the war dice, and died when the need came as the red Indian dies, stoical and grim as stone."

"He (the guerrilla) lifted up the black flag in self-defense and fought as became a free man and a hero."

"Desperate and remorseless as he was, the guerrilla saw shining down upon his pathway a luminious patriotism, and he followed it that he might kill in the name of God and his country."

"His long gallop not only tired but infuriated his hunters. That savage standing at bay and dying always as a wolf dies when bayed at by hounds and bludgeoned by his countrymen made his enemies fear him and hate him."

The seven preceding quotations are from: NOTED GUERRILLAS by  Major John Newman Edwards CSA                                              

"Never say nothing bad about Colonel Quantrill" Marshall Rooster Cogburn, TRUE GRIT.

In 1862, First North Carolina soldier, Cal Jones, was mortally wounded carrying the Confederate battle flag in the Seven Days Campaign. His father rushed to his side as he lay dying in the hospital in Richmond. The following exchange took place: Father:"Son, why did you take up the those colors?" Cal: Why, Father, I would have taken up the flag if I had known that I would be killed on the spot!" Those were his last words.

"Tell my father I died with my face to the enemy!" Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery, CSA, from a note found on the battle field next to his dead body.

"Tell the General my men never failed me at a single point." The boy Colonel, Henry "Harry" King Burgwyn, Jr. Became a Lt. Cononel, CSA, at age 19. KIA, 1862.

"I was a Southern man at the start. I am yet, and will die a Rebel. I believe I was right in all I did. I repeat that I die a Rebel out and out, and my last request is that my body be removed to White County, Tennessee, and be buried in good Rebel soil." These were the last words spoken on October 20, 1865, in Nashville, Tennessee,when  Captain Champ Ferguson, CSA, partisan Ranger, guerrilla, Morgan Ranger was hung for being a partisan fighter.

All of the last four quotes from:  LET US DIE LIKE BRAVE MEN by Daniel W. Barefoot, 2005

The following poem is from a CSA cover printed in Richmond, Va.

On, on to the rescue, the vandals are coming ---------

Go meet them with bayonet, sabre, and spear;

Drive them back to the desolate land they are leaving ------

Go, trusting in God, you'll have nothing to fear!

HERE is another quote from a South Carolina cover circa 1861:

"Southerns, Hear your Country calls you, UP least worse than death befalls you"

Here is a great quote (sent to me by Major Rick Mack) from Cole Younger's autobiography.

"I have lived the gentleman, the soldier, the outlaw, and the convict, living the best years of my life in a felon's cell.  I have no desire to pose as a martyr, for men who sin must suffer, but I will punctuate my remarks with bold statements, for the eagle should not be afraid of the storm."

© Emory Cantey Quantrillsguerrillas.com. "Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay."

                                          MEMBERS ONLY SECTION

Text Size