On October 4, 1864, just before Sherman began his famous march to
the sea, his army lay camped in the neighborhood of Atlanta.
General Hood’s men very carefully gained control of the rear of
Sherman’s army and began to cut off supply lines, burn blockhouses,
and capture small garrisons of soldiers.
Then General Hood moved swiftly toward the large post at
Allatoona Pass. General
Corse of Illinois was stationed there with fifteen hundred men to
protect the large store of rations. General Hood sent word for General
Corse to surrender, but Corse refused and a terrible battle ensued.
After many had fallen at their post, and a continuation of the
battle seemed fatal, a Union officer caught sight of a white signal flag
a great distance away, on the top of Kennesaw Mountain.
The signal was answered and very shortly from mountain to
mountain this signal was flashed: “HOLD THE FORT; I’M COMING. W. T.
The Union men held on for three more hours until Sherman’s
forces came up and forced the retreat of Hood’s Confederate forces.
Less than twenty-four hours after hearing this story, P. P. Bliss
wrote the song, the title of which is inscribed on his monument at Rom,
—Lindsay I. Terry
Ho, my comrades! see the signal
in the sky!
Chorus “Hold the fort, for
I am coming,”
the answer back to heaven,
Thy grace we will.”
See the mighty host advancing,
men around us falling,
See the glorious banner waving!
the trumpet blow!
our Leader’s name we triumph
Fierce and long the battle rages,
our help is near;
comes our great Commander,
my comrades, cheer!
Paul, Steve Green’s MIDI Hymnal, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos
Research Systems, Inc.) 1998.