In the good old days when the Army’s ways were simple and unrefined,
With a stock to keep their chins in front, and a pigtail down behind,
When the only light in the barracks at night was a candle of grease or fat,
When they put the extinguisher on the light, they called it the Old Tin Hat.
Now, a very great man is the C. in C., for he is the whole of the show —
The reins and the whip and the driver’s hand that maketh the team to go —
But the road he goes is a lonely road, with ever a choice to make,
When he comes to a place where the roads divide, which one is the road to take.
For there’s one road right, and there’s one road wrong, uphill, or over the flat,
And one road leads to the Temple of Fame, and one to the Old Tin Hat.
And a very great man is the man who holds an Army Corps command,
For he hurries his regiments here and there as the C. in C. has planned.
By day he travels about in state and stirreth them up to rights,
He toileth early and toileth late, and sitteth up half the nights;
But the evening comes when the candle throws twin shadows upon the mat,
And one of the shadows is like a wreath, and one like an Old Tin Hat.
And a very proud man is the Brigadier at the sound of the stately tread
Of his big battalions marching on, as he rides with his staff ahead.
There’s never a band to play them out, and the bugle’s note is still,
But he hears two tunes in the gentle breeze that blows from over the hill.
And one is a tune in a stirring key, and the other is faint and flat,
For one is the tune of “My new C.B.” and the other, “My Old Tin Hat.”
And the Colonel heading his regiment is life and soul of the show,
It’s “Column of route”, “Form troops”, “Extend”, and into the fight they go;
He does not duck when the air is full of the “wail of the whimpering lead”,
He does not scout for the deep dugout when the ‘planes are overhead;
He fears not hog, nor devil, nor dog, and he’d scrap with a mountain cat,
But he goeth in fear of the Brigadier, and in fear of the Old Tin Hat.