Civil War Wiki

Template:Infobox Standard "Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! (The Prisoner's Hope)" was one of the most popular songs of the American Civil War. George F. Root wrote both the words and music and published it in 1864 to give hope to the Union prisoners of war.[1] The song is written from the prisoner's point of view. The chorus tells his fellow prisoners that hope is coming.

First Verse:

In the prison cell I sit,
Thinking Mother dear, of you,
And our bright and happy home so far away,
And the tears they fill my eyes
Spite of all that I can do,
Tho' I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.


Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,
Cheer up comrades they will come,
And beneath the starry flag
We shall breathe the air again,
Of the freeland in our own beloved home.[2]

The song has been parodied numerous times. It also lends the music to an Irish patriotic song, "God Save Ireland", as well as the children's song "Jesus Loves the Little Children."


  1. Smith, Stories of Great National Songs, p. 127: "As the soldier was nerved for the shock of battle by the inspiration n the 'Battle Cry of Freedom,' so in his prison cell his heart was fired with hope by the cheering strains of—'Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching.' And how to the sound of that music the blod still thrills with the enthusiasm of '65. There is forcible suggestion of the solid march of Union armies in the words and music of that familiar song. It was composed by Dr. Root—both words and music—quite early in the war. Its purpose was to give a more hopeful view of the conditions of the country, and more particularly to cheer the boys who had been captured by the enemy and placed in prison pens."
  2. Root, "Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!".


  • Root, George R. "Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!" (Sheet music). Chicago: Root & Cady (1864).
  • Smith, Nicholas, Col. Stories of Great National Songs. Milwaukee, Wis.: The Yound Churchman Co. (1899).

External links[]


de:Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!