"When Johnny Comes Marching Home" was written by Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore under the pseudonym Louis Lambert. Gilmore was bandmaster of the Ben Butler's Union Army of occupation in New Orleans at the time. Although Gilmore was heard on several occasions to claim that the melody was a Negro spiritual he had adapted, it was actually a traditional Irish air entitled "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye."

Gilmore himself was born in Ballygar in Galway County, Ireland, on December 25, 1829, and early on displayed an obvious musical aptitude. His family emigrated to America in the 1840's just one step ahead of the famine. He was bandmaster for the U.S. Army when the War broke out and remained loyal to the Union. In the postwar era, he was responsible for organizing "Monster Peace Jubilees" involving orchestras of a thousand musicians and over 10,000 voices.

"When Johnny Comes Marching Home" is Gilmore's sole claim to lasting musical fame.

"When Johnny Comes Marching Home"

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Last modified 16-April-2001