|Benny Havens, OH!
Every mention of General John Gibbon was followed by
applaused. Sometimes by the clapping of hands and stamping of feet,
but oftener by cheers. His absence was deplored. General Gibbon is strongly
intrenched in the hearts of his first brigade. It would have done
him good to hear the cheers which went up for him when
Gen. Bragg read the dispatch which went to
Gibbon and also when his response was received.
The response is as follows:
VAN COUVER BARRACKS, W.T., SEPT. 16TH, 1885 --
Gen. E.S. Bragg.
Health and prosperity to the survivors of the Iron Brigade.
Compel. at the point of this bayonet, Capt. Lloyd G. Harris and
his troops to gather up the stragglers with the following:
"Here's a health to every veteran of the old brigade, you know,
"Who, on the field of battle, taught a lesson to the foe.
"Should our country ever need us in battle for to go,
"We still will fight for Union and for Benny Havens, Oh!"
Iron Brigade Association Reunion
Madison, Wis. 1885
Who and What is Benny Havens, read below
Benny Havens, OH!
West Point Scrap Book, 1871
"For some years prior to 1832, Benny havens, who had served as
first lieutenant of the Highland falls company in the War of 1812,
occupied a one-story cottage a short distance west of the old cadet
hospital. It was here that edgar Allan Poe, who often remarked
that Benny was the "sole congenial soul in the entire
Godforsaken place,"became devoted to him.
At first Benny sold only ale, cider, and buckwheat cakes, but subsequently
dispensed a more potent beverage. As a result, in 1832, he was
expelled from the military reservation.
"Shortly after his expulsion, Benny Havens opened a tavern on the
river's edge below the cliffs of Highland falls, about a mile and a
half from cadet barracks. To this tavern, after taps and against
regulation, came many cadets whose names were later to be sritten
on their country's roll of honor. Many of our famous generals were
fond of recalling the cold winter nights when they had slipped out
of barracks and skated down the river to partake of the good cheer
at benny's. It is even recorded that Cadet Jefferson Davis, in
attempting to evade some officers who had descende upon Benny's
tavern, once fell over a cliff and was nearly killed.
"I suspect that not many of Benny's young visitors during his early
days in Highland Falls knew that their host was something of a
churchman; yet he left proof of this fact in an old legal document
which he signed in 1836 as a trustee of the First Presbyterian
Chuirch of Highland Falls.
"The song that has perpetuated Benny's fame was originally
composed by Lieutenant O'Brien of the Eighth Infantry. He had
been an assistant surgeon in the army, but had just been
commissioned in the infantry when, in 1838, he visited his friend
Ripley A. Arnold of the First Class.Together thy made many visits
to Benny's where O"Brien composed the first few stanzas of the
song and sang them to the tune of "The wearing of the Green"
O'Brien died in a florida campaign a few years later. for many
years after his death each class added a verse to the song. of the
nine given here, the first, fifth, and sixth are those generally sung.
"During the Civil War the song was widely sung in the army, and
many army verses were improvised. during the summer of 1865
when boatloads of returning soldiers were daily passing Benny's,
the bands would strike up 'Benny Havens, Oh!' while hundreds of
voices joined in the song.
"From Nevada's hoary ridges, from stormy coasts of Maine,
From lava beds and Yellowstone the story never waned;
Wherever duty called, they went, their steps were never slow,
With 'Alma Mater' on their lips and 'Benny Havens, Oh.'
"When this life's troubled sea is o'er and our last battle's through.
If God permits us mortals there his blest domain to view,
Then we shell see in glory crowned, in proud celestial row,
The friends we've known and loved so well at Benny Havens'oh!
Come, fill your glasses, fellows, and stand up in a row,
To singing sentimentally we're going for to go;
In the army there's sobriety, promoting's very slow,
So we'll sing our reminiscences of Benny Havens, OH!
Oh! Benny Havens, oh! Oh! Benny Havens, oh!
We'll sing our reminiscences of Benny Havens, oh!
Let us toast our foster-father, the republic, as you know,
Who in the paths of science taught us upward for to go;
and the maidens of our native land, whose cheeks like roses glow,
They're oft remembered in our cups at Benny Haven's, oh!
To the ladies of our Army our cups shall ever flow,
Companions in our exile and our shield'gainst every woe;
May they see their husbands generals,with double pay also,
And join us in our choruses at Benny Havens', oh!
Come fill up to our generals, God bless the brave heroes.
They're an honor to their country, and a terror to their foes;
May they long rest on their laurels, and troubles never know,
But live to see a thousand years at Benny Havens', oh!
To our kind old Alma Mater, our rock-bound Highland home,
We'll cast back many a fond regret as o'er life's sea we roam;
Until on our last battle-field the lights of heaven shall glow,
We'll never fail to drink to her and Benny Havens, oh!
May the Army be augmented, promotion be less slow,
May our country in the hour of need be ready for the foe;
May we find a soldier's resting-place beneath a soldier's blow,
With room enough beside our graves for Benny Havens, oh!
And if amid the battle shock our honore'er should trail,
And hearts that beat beneath its folds should turn or basely quail;
Then may some son of Benny's, with quick avenging blow,
Lift up the flag we loved so well at Benny Havens', oh!
To our comrades who have fallen, one cup before we go,
They poured their life-blood freely out pro bono publico.
No marble points the stranger to where they rest below;
They lie neglected far away from Benny Havens', oh!
When you and I and Benny, and all the others, too,
Are called before the "final board" our course in life to view,
May we never "fess" on any point,but straight be told to go,
And join the army of the blest at Benny Havens', oh!
On May 29th 1877 in his ninetieth year, Benny Havens Died.
A few years later the building of the West Shore railroad
nessitated moving the Benny Havens travern. It was carefully taken
apart and carted about five miles back into the hills to a point near
Long Pond Mountain, where it was reerected. There it stands
today, but little changed from the days when Benny Havens was
its genial host."