"Having completed this [writing Battle Hymn of the Republic], I lay down again and fell asleep, but not before feeling that something of importance had happened to me."
- Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe, writer, poet, leader for womens suffrage, and author of Battle Hymn of the Republic, was born in New York City on May 27, 1819.
She was born into a wealthy Manhattan family and received her early education from governesses and private schools. In 1841, Ward met her future husband, Samuel Howe on a visit to Boston. The two were married on April 23, 1843 and settled in Boston where they would raise six children. Together, they published the anti-slavery periodical Commonwealth, and worked on political causes centering around abolition and later the Civil War. Dedicated to self-education, Howe studied philosophy, learned several languages and began to get more involved in public life and writing. In the late 1950s, Howes poems and plays began getting attention in national magazines.
Inspired from a 1861 visit to Washington in which Howe and her husband were escorted by President Lincoln to visit a Union Army camp in Virginia, a clergyman familiar with Julias poetry urged her to write a new song for the war effort to replace the slave song John Browns Body. As Howe described the event later: I replied that I had often wished to do so.in spite of the excitement of the day I went to bed and slept as usual, but awoke the next morning in the gray of the early dawn, and to my astonishment found that the wished-for lines were arranging themselves in my brain. I lay quite still until the last verse had completed itself in my thoughts, then hastily arose, saying to myself, I shall lose this if I don't write it down immediately.…