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The Battle of Alma

[ Roud 1221 ; Ballad Index DalC216 ; trad.]

The Cruel Wars

The Battle of Alma is a song from the repertoire of the Copper Family. It is printed in The Copper Family Song Book. Bob and John Copper sang it in 1971 on their Leader box set A Song for Every Season. John Copper and Jon Dudley recorded in in 1987 for the Copper Family’s EFDSS LP Coppersongs: A Living Tradition.

See also the related song The Heights of Alma [Roud 830; Laws J10; G/D 1:158; Henry H123].


Bob and John Copper sing The Battle of Alma

A jolly young soldier a letter did write
To his own dearest jewel, his joy and heart’s delight,
To tell her of the dangers that he had entered in
At the Battle of Alma where thousands were slain.

Our soldiers and sailors were all prepared for war
To fight those lofty Russians where thousands must fall,
They were commanded by Lord Raglan that man of courage bold,
They fought them sword in hand, my boys, and forced them to yield.

It was the bravest battle that did this world surprise
To see our brave soldiers to stare them in the face,
They marched up to their guns, my boys, and soon they let them know,
They showed to them their needle work and forced them to yield.

The drums they did beat and the trumpets did sound
While thousands of soldiers lay dead on the ground.
There were rifle balls and musket came a-screeching by their ears
And the bomb shells a-bursting and loud cannon roar.

And now let us hope that these wars are all o’er,
While thousands of soldiers lie bleeding in gore.
May the Lord have mercy on them and save their poor souls,
May the sweet heavens protect them and God be their guide.