Sunday, August 24, 2008


The Regimental Song "Garryowen"

came informally into the Army between 1861 and 1866

as a quickstep

, but its use was first documented by the 7th U.S. Cavalry Band

about the time the song became the regimental air.

George Armstrong Custer did not, himself, bring the song to the regiment,

but Brevet Lieutenant Colonel (Captain) Myles W. Keogh

and several other officers with ties to the

Fifth Royal Irish Lancers and the Papal Guard,

two Irish regiments in the British Army,

were believed to be instrumental

in bringing the air to the regiment.

Original Lyrics
The most accurate origin of the song "Garryowen"
is from a small Irish town outside of Limerick,
where the 5th Royal Irish Lancers made their home.
The town's name, Garryowen, means "Owen's Garden"; but the old tune soon came to become associated with the Lancers' drinking.
The Irish poet Thomas Moore wrote the words around 1807:

Lyric 1:
Let Bacchus' sons be not dismayed
We'll break windows, we'll break doors,
But join with me each jovial blade;
The watch knock down by threes and fours;
Come booze and sing, and lend your aid,
Then let the doctors work their cures,
To help me with the chorus.
And tinker up our bruises.

Instead of spa we'll drink down ale,
We'll beat the bailiffs out of fun,
And pay the reck'ning on the nail;
We'll make the mayors and sheriffs run;
No man for debt shall go to jail
And are the boys no man dares run,
From Garryowen in glory.
If he regards a whole skin.

Lyric 2:
We are boys that take delight in
Smashing the Limerick lights when lighting,
Our hearts so stout have got us fame,
Through the streets like Sporters fighting,
For soon 'tis known from when we came;
And tearing all before us.
Where're we go they dread the name
Of Garryowen in glory.


"Sergeant Flynn"

Another song, of unknown origin,

but associated with the 7th Cavalry is "Sergeant Flynn.

" By the verses in the original version,

the song was written after the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Thanks go to Ed Grens, an Infantry Officer from the 1950s,

for contributing the second set of lyrics and his


of the tune.

Mr. Grens stipulates that the phrase

"drive the sabers to the hilt

might indicate an origin after

the introduction of the

Model 1914 Cavalry Saber

, when the manual was changed to

stress thrusting

, rather than slashing, with the saber."

Lyric 1:
All through the night the Sioux keep singing, Sergeant Flynn,
I can hear their tom-toms ringing Sergeant Flynn,
Oh I hear their tom-toms ringing
And I hear the Sioux bucks singing
But they know not yet the tune of Garryowen.

Garryowen, Garryowen, Garryowen
In this valley of Montana all alone
There are better days to be for the Seventh Cavalry
When we charge again for dear old Garryowen

Lyric 2:
There's the forward we're advancing,
Sergeant Flynn,
In the breeze of guidons dancing, Sergeant Flynn,
Trot- ho (yell); Gallop- ho (yell); Charge (yell)
We will drive the cutthroats under
Drive the sabre to the hilt for Garryowen.


Lyric 3:
Ten thousand braves are riding, Sergeant Flynn,
In the Black Hills they are riding, Sergeant Flynn,
Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull
They will get their bellies full
Of lead and steel from men of Garryowen.


Lyric 4:
We'll dismount and fight the heather, Sergeant Flynn,
While they're still a trooper breathing, Sergeant Flynn,
In the face of sure disaster
Keep those carbines firing faster
Let those volleys ring for dear old Garryowen.


Lyric 5:
We are ambushed and surrounded, Sergeant Flynn,
But recall has not yet sounded, Sergeant Flynn,
Tell your men stand fast and rally
Make your last stand in this valley
For the Seventh Cavalry and Garryowen.


Lyric 6 (Slowly):
Oh your bones to dust will crumble, Sergeant Flynn,
In the years out drums will rumble, Sergeant Flynn,
In the annals of the brave
Comes a whisper from the grave,
On the breeze we're singing dear old Garryowen.



John said...

Yes, quite like this one. Though I've no great opinion of Custer. Got lucky in the Civil War, and lived on that ever after until LBH.

StephanieS said...

Custer was an insane maniac with Narcissistic Disorder, in my humble opinion.

John said...

Yes, that just about sums him up.