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Walter Kittredge (1834-1905)
Walter Kittridge, a self-taught American musician and songwriter, wrote more than 500 songs over his career, mostly on Civil War themes. Born in Merrimac, New Hampshire, he was a noted abolitionist. This, his most famous song, was sung by both sides of the war and is known throughout the world. Kittredge had offered the song to a Boston publisher for $15 and been rejected; but when it was published several months later, ten thousand copies were sold within the first three months. According to Irving Silber’s Songs of the Civil War, the song’s universal appeal for peace lasted long after the war ended and “became one of the most popular songs of reminiscence at GAR [Grand Army of the Republic] reunions.”