Manuscript of the United States Corps of Cadets anthem 'Benny Havens, Oh!', dated 'As sung by the U.S. Corps Cadets | 1864'. With explanatory introduction in manuscript, and with the '22nd. verse written at the beginning of the [American Civil] war'.

Lieutenant Lucius O'Brien; Ripley Allen Arnold (1817-1853) [Corps of Cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point; Benny Havens (c.1787-1877)]
Publication details: 
[On West Point letterheads?] 1864.
SKU: 11507

8pp., 12mo. On four bifoliums, placed inside one another to make a booklet. Each bifolium with embossed [West Point?] letterhead of a letter 'W' within a shield. A fair copy, with the title reading: 'Benny Havens, Oh! | as sung | by the | U.S. Corps Cadets - | 1864.' The twenty-two line introduction covers the whole of the second page. The first paragraph reads 'Benny Havens was a contraband seller of liquors to the Cadets, and, in course of time was expelled from the immediate vicinity of the "Point." He then opened a regular establishment a mile or two below, which still remains a favorite resort of cadets on convivial parties (sans permission.)' The second paragraph goes on to explain how 'The lamented O'Brien, formerly a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, was commissioned a Lieutenant in the 8th. Infantry. Before joining his regiment he stopped at West Point to visit an early friend, Major Ripley A. Arnold, then a first-classman residing at No. 32 "Rue de Cockloft" in the old North Barracks, and they made many excursions to "Benny's." The song was composed by OBrien and Others and became as it "is and ever shall be" extremely popular with all who have learned the way to Benny's. The 21st verse relative to the death of OBrien was written afterwards! He was killed at Tampa Bay - Florida. The 22nd. verse was written at the beginning of the war. The 23rd. will be (?) written at its end -'. The song 'Benny Havens, Oh!' exists in dozens of versions, with in excess of one hundred stanzas. The first stanza of the present version reads: 'Come tune your voices fellows and stand up in a row, | For to singing sentimentally we're going for to go; | In the Army there's sobriety, promotion's very slow. | So we'll sigh our reminiscences of Benny Havens, Oh! | Chorus. - Oh. Benny Havens Oh - | Oh. Benny Havens Oh! | So we'll sigh our reminiscences of Benny Havens Oh'. The twenty-second verse, apparently unrecorded, reads 'There's a voice borne on the breezes from the distant Southern shore | That rings upon the startled ears, "The Union is no more" - | Then to her departed glories here's a bumper ere we go | With three cheers for the Stars and Stripes and Benny Haven Oh!' The last stanza reads: 'To our kind old "Alma Mater," our rockbound Highland home - | We'll cast back many a kind regret as our life's sea we roam. | Until on our last battlefield we're all of us laid low | We'll never fail to drink to her and Benny Havens, Oh!'