The Civil War Connections Blog

“Our Grog Must Stop, Our Spirits Drop…”

As you recall, on July 14, 1862, the US Congress issued a statement that cast a pall on many serving in the US Navy. This cessation of liquid courage, slated for the first day of September, 1862, prompted one unnamed tar to pen the following for the 31st of August, 1862.  The melody is unknown – but the words are timeless:

 

FAREWELL TO GROG IN THE U.S. NAVY

Wardroom of the U.S.S. ______. Time – August 31, 1862.

 

(Officer Sings.)

Oh! Messmates, pass the bottle around,

Our time is short, remember;

For our grog must stop, our spirits drop

On the first day of September.

 

Farewell old rye! ‘tis a sad, sad word

But alas it must be spoken

The ruby cup must be given up

And the demijohn be broken!

 

Jack’s happy days will soon be past,

To return again, no, never

For they’ve raised his pay five cents a day

And stopped his grog forever.

 

(The boatswain’s mate pipes: “All hands splice the main brace.”)

All hands to splice the main brace call

But splice it now in sorrow

For the spirit-room key will be laid away

Forever on to-morrow.

 

From the Army and Navy Journal, February 3, 1866, p 376