First Song Developed


“Our Army for the Right Boys!” was the first Phi Delta Theta song. The song was written in 1866 by Captain W. P. Black, Wabash ’64, for the Illinois Alpha Inaugural Festival (installation banquet) held to celebrate Illinois Beta’s installation on January 12, 1866. The song’s air is to the tune of “Benny Havens O!” The original song has six verses and two choruses, and copies of this song were printed and distributed.

The first time the idea of publishing songs for the Fraternity occurred at the Convention of 1871. A committee was appointed at the 1873 Convention to write songs and collect songs already written to present at the 1874 Convention. After this, other chapters pursued writing and composing songs to publish at the Convention of 1874. The committee did not report in 1874, but seven songs were printed and sung, including “Our Army for the Right Boys!”

Our Army for the Right
Air–Benny Havens, Oh!

Come sing a song with me, my friends, before we homeward go:
With steady line and gallant front, bear down upon the foe;
Upon the hosts of vice and wrong opposing us in might,
Charge now with cheery heart and song—an army for the right.


An army for the right, an army for the right;
No fear have we while we may be an army for the right.

We meet to-night with mirth and song the evening hours to speed,
To burnish bright our sword and shield for use in time of need;
Again we promise to protect each loyal brother knight,
And pray the God of grace to bless our army for the right.

Dear brother Phis, join in this song, ring out the notes of glee,
And lift our glorious banner till it waves from sea to sea;
From Atlantic to Pacific it will lead us in the fight,
And cheer each soldier onward in our army for the right.