At a concert last nite, one of the most moving performances was of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Sung by the entire corps of performers on stage, with audience participation, the piece achieved its full potential to move the heart. At a key moment, a soloist gave an emotional rendition of this stanza:
"In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free;
While God is marching on."
Written by Julia Ward Howe in November or December 1861, published on the front page of The Atlantic Monthly in February 1862, the song became the unofficial anthem of the North in the CW.
I had seen somewhere that Sojourner Truth wrote a marching song for African-American regiments in the Civil War, called "The Valiant Soldiers", using the same tune as the "Battle Hymn." According to some quick research, it was written for the First Michigan Colored Regiment. Truth died on November 26, 1883, at her home in Battle Creek MI and was buried there at Oak Hill Cemetery. She had moved to Michigan a few years before the CW.
From the Michigan standpoint, the war was assuredly about freedom.