Archive for August, 2012


Posted on: August 1st, 2012 by hauleymusic No Comments

Rogue (Webster’s 1913 Dictionary)

n. 1.(Eng. Law) A vagrant; an idle, sturdy beggar; a vagabond; a tramp.

2. A deliberately dishonest person; a knave; a cheat.

“The Rogue’s March” was a well known tune during the American Revolution. The tune used to be played to drum out dishonoured soldiers from the Army. During the playing, they were stripped of rank, badges and buttons, then normally a drummer flogged them on their bare back with a “cat of Nine tails,” ( a wooden handle with nine leather strands with knots on the end). A soldier could receive as many as 100 lashes at one time. The Drum Major counted the number of lashes out loud. Then they were marched out of the camp with dishonour.

The tune was also played when civilian criminals, offenders and various undesirable characters were drummed from camps and cantonments. Sometimes they would be marched with a sign around their necks, stating their crime such as thief, and usually with the final disgrace of a farewell ritual kick in the butt from the youngest drummer.

Some historians say that the actual ceremony was quite impressive. It apparently consisted of the largest number of drummers and fifers possible to muster. The prisoner would be paraded in front of the troops to the Rogue’s March. The coat would be worn inside out as a sign of disgrace, and his hands sometimes were bound behind him as he was marched to the entrance of the encampment and evicted with instructions never to return to the area again.

To make matters public, the sentence would then be published in a local newspaper for all to read and talk about.

The tune was used for the above purpose in the late 18th century, although it was probably used long before that time.

This march was also used when a soldier married the widow of a comrade.

The Rogue’s March

Tuppence I got for selling me cloak,

Tuppence for selling me blanket.

If ever I ‘list for a soldier again,

Devil shall be me sergeant.
Poor old soldier, poor old soldier,

If ever I ‘list for a soldier again,

Devil shall be me sergeant.

Poor Old Soldier – The Rogue’s March

I left my home and I left my job

Went and joined the army

If I knew then what I know now

I wouldn’t have been so barmy.

Chorus: Poor old soldier, poor old soldier

If I knew then what I know now

I wouldn’t have been so barmy.

Gave me a gun and a big red coat

Gave me lots of drilling

If I knew then what I know now

I wouldn’t have took the shilling.


Sent me off on a real old boat

By Christ she was no beauty

Far far across the sea we went

Afore to do my duty


Fought the Russians, or was it the French

Really couldn’t tell, sir

All I know is they fought so hard

They sent us all to hell, sir.


When we got back home again

To desert was my intent, sir

I sold my cot and I sold my coat

And over the wall I went, sir.


Went to a tavern and I got drunk

That is where they found me

Back to barracks in chains I was sent

And there they did impound me.


Fifty I got for selling me coat

Fifty for me blankets

If ever I ‘list for a soldier again

The devil shall be me sergeant.

Camus, Raoul F. Military Music of the American Revolution. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina. 1776.

Winstock, Lewis. Songs and Music of the Redcoats. Harrisburg, PA.: Stackpole Books. 1970.