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[Gen'l Info] U.S. Unit Marches

United States Unit Marches

In the album notes for the Company’s LP recording “The Army in the West, 1870–1890” Founder Harold L. Peterson identifies “The Girl I Left Behind Me” as the regimental march of the 7th U.S. Infantry. He also identifies “Buffalo Soldiers” and “Garryowen” as the regimental songs of the 10th and 7th Cavalry, respectively.

“Buffalo Soldiers” (or “The Buffaloes”) is still the song of the 10th Cavalry. It is played or sung to the tune of Stephen Foster’s “Camptown Races.” I can’t find, however, that it has been musically arranged as a march, official or otherwise. See http://www.first-team.us/journals/10thrgmt/

“Garryowen” became the official “air” of the 1st Cavalry Division in 1981, so it evidently doesn’t belong exclusively to the division’s 7th Cavalry Regiment anymore. Since it is also used as a march it is presumably the official march of the division as well.

“Garryowen” was also the unofficial song and march of the 165th Infantry Regiment (69th New York). It may have been adopted as early as 1851. The 7th Cavalry’s web site informs that the regiment is “now officially the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry (Mechanized), and is part of the 42nd Infantry Division.” I don’t know how or when this reorganization came about. See http://www.us7thcavalry.com/legend.htm

Garryowen (from Garrai Eoin: “John’s Garden”) is a patch of ground near Limerick, Ireland, that became notorious as a gathering point for such rowdy elements as the Garryowen Boys. The song celebrates their dubious achievements.

“Garryowen” was originally used by the British Army’s 18th Royal Irish Regiment, raised in 1684.

Any corrections or additional information to the above would be appreciated.

Also welcome would be information about other U.S. unit marches that are based on familiar, if not strictly traditional, airs rather than original marches composed for specific units. The Marines’ Hymn comes to mind, but that is dealt with elsewhere in this Forum.

Eric Manders

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