Scholla: A Civil War Song 1/21/1944

More than a year ago we published the song entitled “The Blue Juniata,” requesting readers to supply the music. To our delight we received several versions of the musical score which accompanied the poem. Now we publish another song of the same period. Again we have only the words. Because the author was a citizen of Reading for one period of his life and lived in Lancaster and Easton, we are in hopes that someone has preserved the music, just as we have found the words after 79 years.

The author was Rev. Thomas Conrad Porter, one-time pastor of First Reformed Church, Reading and for many years a member of the faculty of Franklin and Marshall College. The song was sung at a soldier’s concert in Lancaster, February 22, 1864, dedicated to the Army of the Potomac. The music was written by J.B. Kevinski.

The Rocky Hills of Gettysburg

Oh dark the day and dark the hour,

When Treason in her height of power,

With all her gathered legions came,

To waste the North with Sword and Flame,

Right onward, swift, exultant,


With burning wrath and curses


Up to yon chain of hills they crowd,

The rocky hills of Gettysburg.

In vain their utmost strength is hurled

‘Mid Thunders what might shake

The world;

Back from Adamantime wall

Their broken ranks in terror fall,

And slow retire with sullen mein,

While slaughtered thousands

strew the scene

The vale of death that lies between

The rocky hills of Gettysburg.

The Lord hath heard his people’s


And Blessed the starry banner


For Soon as Freedom’s soil was red

With freemen’s blood in battle


By Rebel hands – their doom was


The sacrifice to heaven appealed,

The Altar, that ensanguined field,

The Rocky Hills of Gettysburg.

In nameless grave the traitors


Where non shall ever come to


But for her martyred sons, with


A monument of the nation rears,

And, age to age, shall pass it down,

The story of their bright renown,

And everlasting fame shall crown

The rocky hills of Gettysburg.

— Thomas Conrad Porter, 1864


Little Round Top, Gettysburg, PA. Taken in July, 1863.


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