Skip to main content

Heaven Help Us

May 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.”

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate