Lyrics to Die To

Caine’s got a heartbreaking post over at Affinity.

Apparently some rather tone-deaf idiots think it’s a good idea to celebrate the history of the 7th Cavalry, and teach kids how to “enlist” in the unit that massacred between 150 and 300 Indians at Wounded Knee. You can comment on the event’s Youtube blurb or facebook page if you like. It’s sponsored by a bank, which probably hasn’t thought through the implications of where their money is being spent. You can write them a letter, too.

During the course of researching a bit about Fort Abraham Lincoln, I learned that “Garryowen” is the 7th’s official march song; it was what Custer’s men kept beat to as they marched into the history of military incompetence. I’m surprised to learn that the US Army still has songs like these as unit battle music:

Let Bacchus’ sons be not dismayed
But join with me each jovial blade
Come booze and sing and lend your aid
To help me with the chorus

Instead of spa we’ll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail
For debt no man shall go to gaol (jail)
From Garryowen in glory

We are the boys that take delight in
Smashing the Limerick lamps when lighting
Through the street like sportsters fighting
And tearing all before us

We’ll break the windows, we’ll break the doors
The watch knock down by threes and fours
Then let the doctors work their cures
And tinker up our bruised

We’ll beat the bailiffs out of fun
We’ll make the mayor and sheriffs run
We are the boys no man dares dun
If he regards a whole skin

Our hearts so stout have got us fame
For soon ’tis known from whence we came
Where’er we go they dread the name
Of Garryowen in glory


  1. says

    Jesus. I’m not sure what to say about that. “Hey, let’s get drunk and go full on destructive, boys!” I guess all things British weren’t eschewed.

    Thanks for posting about this, Marcus.

  2. says

    No, I guess not. It’s amazing, really, all the things that are considered just fine to do when you’re part of the ruling class (and their enforcement troops), but are big old no-nos when you’re part of the rabble.

  3. says

    big old no-nos when you’re part of the rabble

    That’s a topic I mean to write on one day. I believe that power has no value except if you abuse it. So by definition, the powerful are storing up opportunities for abuse that they eventually may exploit. That’s why anyone who’s not a bootlicker for the powerful ought to fear them: they’re all of our enemies.

    I get mad when I see kids being indoctrinated into the US’ militarism. Something like the Fort Lincoln is just an illustration that it goes back a long way and how pervasive it is at every level of our society. There are civil war reenactors. Civil War Reenactors. People who think it is fun to dress up and play as if they are participating in one of the greatest and most obvious failures of republican/democracies, ever. “Hey, look, let’s celebrate how our stupid republic blew itself apart over an issue that the rest of the world had already figured out!!! And we killed 900,000 of our brothers and sisters! We even had families shooting at eachother! USA! USA!” The mind boggles so hard it runs out of boggling fluid.

  4. Owlmirror says

    I heard this version about . . . a decade ago, now? Maybe more?

    (via and
    (Lyrics by Tim O’Brien; tune of Garryowen)

    Mick Ryan's Lament
    From Two Journeys
    (1999 by Robert Lee Dunlap, Prodigal Salmon Music/ASCAP)

    Well my name is Mick Ryan, I'm lyin still
    In a lonely spot near where I was killed
    By a red man defending his native land
    In the place that they call Little Big Horn

    And I swear I did not see the irony
    When I rode with the Seventh Cavalry
    I thought that we fought for the land of the free
    When we rode from Fort Lincoln that morning

    And the band they played the Garryowen
    Brass was shining, flags a flowin
    I swear if I had only known
    I'd have wished that I'd died back at Vicksburg

    For my brother and me, we had barely escaped
    From the hell that was Ireland in forty eight
    Two angry young lads who had learned how to hate
    But we loved the idea of Amerikay

    And we cursed our cousins who fought and bled
    In their bloody coats of bloody red
    The sun never sets on the bloody dead
    Of those who have chosen an empire

    But we'd find a better life somehow
    In the land where no man has to bow
    It seemed right then and it seems right now
    That Paddy he died for the union

    Ah, but Michael he somehow got turned around
    He had stolen the dream that he thought he'd found
    Now I never will see that holy ground
    For I turned into something I hated

    And I'm haunted by the Garryowen
    Drums a beating, bugles blowin'
    I swear if I had only known
    I'd lie with my brother in Vicksburg

    And the band they played that Garryowen
    Brass was shin, flags a flowin'
    I swear if I had only known, I'd lie with
    my brother at Vicksburg

  5. Owlmirror says

    Sorry, it even says that the lyrics were by Robert Lee Dunlap — the song was sung by Tim O’Brien.

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing that. Ow, ow, ow. Good stuff.

    “We barely escaped from the hell that was Ireland in 48” …
    that’s how my great-great-greats fetched up in this land. Ireland and Norway both had the potato blights, so they got on a coffin ship and came here. The death rate on the ship was pretty high – I have my g-g-g-grandpa’s journal of the time and I couldn’t bear to read much of it.

    “The sun never sets on the bloody dead / Of those who have chosen an empire ”


  7. Owlmirror says

    @Rob Grigjanis:

    Thanks for the correction. I copied and pasted from a 2003 web archive of the lyrics page on A little more searching shows that in 2006 or so, the lyrics page was changed to have Robert Emmet Dunlap’s correct middle name.

    FWIW: Youtube of Mick Ryan’s Lament, sung by Tim O’Brien (which, I see now, has the correct attribution for the lyrics). This is probably the version of the song that I originally heard.

  8. Kevin Terrell says

    The children could dress as Iroquois and pretend to torture European or Algonquin prisoners.
    Or as Aztecs and pretend to cut out a POW’s heart.
    Or as a Haida warrior taking part in a slave raid.
    Just think, they’d see how similar we all are!
    It might even alleviate some of the “white guilt” our society works so hard to instill in European- American children!

    I’m sorry did I ruin your day with the truth?
    I don’t know if Caine’s a non-white who loves to wallow in self-pity and enjoy the free pass on being a racist our society gives POC, or a European- American who feels morally superior only so long as he’s flagellating himself and his people over not being morally superior to non-whites, either way he’s a loser.
    I mean come on,there is ongoing genocide, slavery and cannibalism in Africa, and it’s European- American insensitivity that gets his loin cloth in a knot?
    Caine and his blog are a bad joke.

  9. says

    Kevin Terrell@#13:
    Hi Kevin. If you keep posting comments of that quality, you’re not going to last very long on FtB.

    I’m sorry did I ruin your day with the truth?

    You’re going to need to level up a couple levels and probably take a few potions of blog-power, if you want to even come close to impacting my day. And, as far as any great “truth” you’ve conveyed: really? Basic moral equivalence? OK, remedial philosophy 101: because someone says X is bad, you have not refuted them if you point out that Y is also bad. X is still bad. Got that? If you’re going to comment here please try not to fail so hard.

    Lastly, with respect to your comments about Caine – why do you think that’s a topic for this blog? Did you mistake this posting for “open thread about Caine’s blog and let’s all misgender Caine”? Because I’m suspecting that if you came over here to whinge about Caine it’s because you got banned, or something. Right? Well, if you want to be banned over here, feel free to make another comment like that or just raise your hand.

  10. says

    Hi, Kevin! (#13). To clear up your poor confused self, I’m not a man, I’m mixed race, and I don’t wear a loincloth. Hope that helps.

  11. Kevin Terrell says

    “Basic moral equivalence? OK, remedial philosophy 101: because someone says X is bad, you have not refuted them if you point out that Y is also bad. X is still bad. Got that? ”

    The question is, do you get my point that non-whites are as guilty of the same “sins” as those for which Europeans are condemned?
    Yet, somehow they escape condemnation.

    The “sin” for which these European- Americans,mentioned in Caine’s blog are condemned, pales in comparison to the genocide, slavery and cannibalism still occurring in Africa.
    This is typical of the Left.
    I commented on Caine’s blog,saying pretty much what I said in the first paragraph at 13 here.
    Caine garbled it by removing the vowels.
    Since Caine didn’t refute the truth of my statements, I assumed it was due to a lack of testicular fortitude when faced with the truth.
    Seems I was right.
    I do apologize to Caine for the comment about the loin cloth,
    that was overboard.
    Marcus, I read in one of your comments that you’re a Midwestern guy.
    If that’s so you’re probably living on land taken from the Lakota.
    If you’re that torn up about give your land,home, car that tribe and go back to Europe.
    Man up.
    Quit wringing your hands with white guilt and leave.