A self-taught musician, New Hampshire native Walter Kittredge (1834–1905) is best known for the war-themed songs he wrote during the Civil War, when illness kept him from fighting. Before the war, he traveled as a minstrel throughout the Northeast both alone and with the famous Hutchinson Family Singers. Kittredge wrote over 500 songs and ballads, the most famous of which include “Tenting on the Old Camp Ground” (1863) and “When They Come Marching Home” (1864). Unlike other war songs of the time, many of Kittredge’s compositions were sung by both the North and the South. Kittredge was also known for his opposition to slavery and as a supporter of the temperance movement. At home in Reed’s Ferry, he was active in his local community, holding both public and church offices.
Author: Walter Kittredge
This famous Civil War song was written in 1863, by which time the casualties and miseries of the protracted conflict had become well known throughout the land. It was composed by Walter Kittredge (1834–1905), a traveling singer and songwriter from New Hampshire, on the evening before he was to be inducted into the Union Army, for which he had been drafted.