Singing Soldiers

The BBC recently had a 2 part special narrated by Kris Kristofferson on music and the Civil War, but it seems every war has music playing a role. This is from The Rambling Soldier edited by Roy Porter:

This  was written by a Scots soldier at Badajoz in 1811:

“One evening, as I lay in the woods thinking about home… I heard, at a small distance, music… I soon knew the air. I crept nearer and could distinguish the words. I became riveted to the spot. That moment compensated me of all I had suffered in Spain. I felt that pleasure which softens the heard, and overflows the eyes. The words that first struck my ear, were, ‘Why did I leave you My Jeannie, my daddy’s cot and a’/ to wander from my sweet Caledonia’. Soon as the vice ceased, I looked through the underwood and saw four or more soldiers seated on the turf, who sand in their turn, Scotland’s sweetest songs of remembrance.

John Green, of Louth in the Peninsular War with the 68th Durban Light Infantry was astonished by the cheerfulness of soldiers in adversity.

“I have known them tell tales, sing songs and crack their jokes, in the midst of danger, and when it was uncertain whether they would live to see another day. “

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