From the recording The Music of Two American Centuries
Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910)
William Steffe (1830-1890)
Julia Ward Howe, advocate for abolitionism and activist for women’s suffrage, wrote the lyrics in November 1861 to the tune of John Brown’s Body. William Steffe is credited with collecting and editing the musical tune for a camp-meeting song with the traditional "Glory Hallelujah" refrain in about 1856. First published in the Atlantic Monthly in February 1862, the Battle Hymn quickly became one of the most popular songs of the Union during the Civil War.