Archive for June 26th, 2011


When I wrote about Custer yesterday, on the 135th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, I forgot to mention the one thing that always comes to my mind when I hear anything about Custer: the song Garryowen.  It’s an old Irish drinking song that was adopted as the marching tune for Custer’s troops and is legendarily regarded as the last song played as they entered battle.  It remains the official song to this day for that same regiment, the US 7th Calvalry.

I was doing some genealogy and found that my grandfather, who had died when I very young and of whom I knew very little, had served as a  Sargeant with the 7th Calvalry during and after WW I.  They were stationed in El Paso so they didn’t see battle overseas but they continued their forays into Mexico in search of Pancho Villa as they had done under Black Jack Pershing before the war.  The first thing that I thought was that he might have heard Garryowen playing as he rode across the Mexican plains. 

And that made me happy.

Here’s a great version of Garryowen by one of my favorite guitarists, Martin Simpson.




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