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Mar 9, 2021

It’s not every day that a poet sits down and writes a poem that becomes a national hymn. But that’s what happened to Julia Ward Howe in November 1861. The country was a year and a half into the Civil War when she and her husband visited Union Army camps with a friend, passing time in the carriage singing army marching songs, including the popular “John Brown’s Body.” The friend suggested that Mrs. Howe consider writing her own, more elevated, lyrics to the song. And she did.