Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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"The death of Warren" was written by Epes Sargent, expressly for the music and singing of William E. Dempster.
General Joseph Warren, then but thirty-live years old, was President of the Provincial Congress, and at the time of the battle of Bunker Hill, had just been made a Major-General. At a meeting of the committee of safety held before the engagement, his friends earnestly strove to dissuade him from exposing himself. " I know that I may fall," said Warren, " but where is the man who does not think it glorious and delightful to die for his country I" He took a musket, and went unattended to the battle-field. General Putnam immediately offered him the command; but he answered, " I have come to take a lesson of a veteran soldier in the art of war. Tell me where I can be useful." " Go to the redOURt," said Put­nam ; u you will there be covered." " I came not to be covered," he replied; u tell me where I shall be in most danger; tell me where the action will be hottest." When Colonel Prescott gave the order to retreat, Warren did not obey. He lingered till the very last, and was re­luctantly retreating, when Major Small, of the British army, called out to him by name, begging him to surrender, and ordering hismen to cease firing. On hearing this demand, Warren turned bis face to the foe disdainfully, received a shot in his forehead, and died instantly. The British General said that Warren's death would offset the loss of five hundred of his own troops.
With all these facts in view, does not the far-famed and much-praised action of Gen­eral Warren seem the merest hardihood and boyish rashness, and the sacrifice of his life most inexcusable? Had he really "learned the art of war from a veteran," the result would have been very different. At that critical time, his life was invaluable to his country^ while nothing whatever was gained by his death.