"Just Before the Battle, Mother," by George F. Root, was one of the most-sung songs composed during the War Between the States. It enjoyed great popularity on both sides of the lines, being a great favorite of both Billy Yank and Johnny Reb. It was, like many songs of that time period, a very sentimental piece of music, and like many such, attracted parody-writers who lampooned the song's sentimental lyrics. Below are the original lyrics by George F. Root, as well as the lyrics to one of the more entertaining parodies.
1. 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,
Fill'd with tho'ts of home and God;
For well they know, that on the morrow,
Some will sleep beneath the sod.
Farewell, Mother, you may never (you may never Mother)
Press me to your breast again;
But O, you'll not forget me, Mother, (you'll not forget me,)
If I'm numbered with the slain.
2. Oh, I long to see you, Mother,
And the loving ones at home;
But, I'll never leave our banner,
Till in honor I can come.
Tell the traitors all around you,
That their cruel words, we know,
In ev'ry battle kill our soldiers
By the help they give the foe.
3. Hark! I hear the bugles sounding,
Tis the signal for the fight,
Now, may God protect us, Mother,
As He ever does the right.
Hear "The Battle-Cry of Freedom,"
How it swells upon the air;
Oh, yes we'll rally round the standard,
Or we'll perish nobly there.