Skip to main content

Heaven Help Us

July 2024
1min read

Author John Malcolm Brinnin’s description of Fiddler’s Green as “the mythical sailor’s heaven” (“The Sway of the Grand Saloon,” October, 1971) was “too much for an old cavalryman to bear,” according to James C. McBride, of Wichita Falls, Texas. He writes: I shouldn’t hope to find a sailor there, but the shades of Stuart, of Sheridan, and of Jonathan M. Wainwright, who named his retirement home in San Antonio “Fiddler’s Green.”

The War Department’s 1948 history of the Medal of Honor quoted a song of the Sixth Cavalry:

None but the shades of Cavalrymen Dismount at Fiddler’s Green. … when … the hostiles come to get your scalp Just empty your canteen, And put your pistol to your head And go to Fiddler’s Green.

In all justice to Mr. Brinnin, the Oxford English Dictionary describes Fiddler’s Green as being of nautical derivation and defines it as: “A sailor’s elysium, in which wine, women, and song figure prominently.”

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.