"Garryowen" is an old Irish quick-step that can be
traced back to the early 1860's. In 1867, "Garryowen"
was adopted by the 7th Cavalry Regiment as the official
Air (tune) of the Regiment, and the historical nickname
given to the 7th Cavalry Regiment and Troopers. It
became the Official tune of the 1st Cavalry Division in
1981. "Garryowen" has become undoubtedly the most
famous of all the regimental marches in the Army.
The word garryowen is derived from Irish, the proper
name Eóghan ("born of the yew tree") and the word for
garden garrai - thus "Eóghan's Garden". The term refers
to an area of the town of Limerick, Ireland.
"Garryowen" is known to have been used by Irish
regiments as a drinking song. As the story goes, one of
the Irish "melting pot" Troopers of the 7th Cavalry,
under the influence of "spirits", was singing the song.
By chance Custer heard the melody, liked the cadence,
and soon began to hum the tune to himself. The tune has
a lively beat, that accentuates the cadence of marching
horses, and for that reason was adopted as the
regimental song soon after Custer arrived at Fort
Riley, Kansas to take over command of the 7th Cavalry
Regiment. It was the last song played for Custer's men
as they left General Terry's column at the Powder River
and rode into history.
I created this arrangement for Woodwinf Trio (Flute,
Oboe & Bassoon) at the request of my friend Rick.