S. H. M. Byers sheet music
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S. H. M. Byers sheet music

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Byers, S. H. M., (Samuel Hawkins Marshall), 1838-1933.
Title: S. H. M. Byers sheet music
Dates: 1865
Extent: 0.05 cubic feet (1 folder)
Identification: MS 1948

Biographical/Historical Note

Samuel Hawkins Marshall Byers was born in Pennsylvania in 1838 and moved to Burlington, Iowa in 1851. Byers had studied law before enlisting as a First Corporal in Company B of the Fifth Iowa Infantry in 1861. By July 1862 he was promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant, he became the regimental adjutant in April 1863, and later that year he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Chattanooga with eighty other members of his regiment. Byers spent the next sixteen months in five different Confederate prison camps. While confined in a Confederate prison in Columbia, South Carolina in December 1864, Byers heard of General William T. Sherman's bold march through Georgia. This inspired Byers and he wrote the poem, "Sherman's March to the Sea," which was a tribute to the Union general. The poem was soon set to music and by the end of the war the song had been published by several different publishers, was set to a variety of different tunes, and became quite popular throughout the northern states.

Byers escaped from prison and joined Sherman's troops as they entered Columbia, South Carolina. He attached himself to the 10th Iowa Infantry, since his original regiment mustered out of service in July 1864. However, General Sherman soon invited Byers to join his staff and this is where Byers served until the end of the war. Following the war, Byers was commissioned as a Brevet Major, served as the United States Consul to Switzerland, and wrote articles and books on his experiences in the Civil War. Byers died in 1933 at the age of ninety five.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the sheet music for "When Sherman Marched Down to the Sea," written by S. M. H. Byers with music composed by E. Mack. This piece of sheet music was published in 1865 by Lee and Walker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and celebrates Sherman's bold march through Georgia.

Index Terms

Byers, S. H. M., (Samuel Hawkins Marshall), 1838-1933.
Sheet music.
Sherman's March to the Sea.
Sherman, William T., (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.

Administrative Information

Processing Information

This collection is processed at the Basic Level (or collection level). There is no detailed inventory for this collection as it is not fully processed. To request that this collection be added to our priority list of collections to be fully processed as staffing and funding allow, please contact the Library and Archives staff.


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Encoding funded by a 2008 Archives-Basic Projects grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List

Item 1: S. H. M. Byers sheet music, 1865 View online.