Fiddler’s Green is the legendary afterlife imagined by Cavalrymen. Its origins are obscure, although some point to the Greek myth of the “Elysian Fields” as a potential inspiration. Like most warrior afterlives, the focus of Fiddler’s Green seems to be camaraderie and drinking and continuing the lives they loved as Cavalrymen. What is particularly unique about Fiddler’s Green is that it is an exclusive afterlife. While most such military afterlives such as Valhalla, the Elysian Fields, etc. are open to all soldiers who die honorably, Fiddler’s Green is only open to Cavalry Troopers and “Marching past straight through to Hell the Infantry are seen, accompanied by the engineers, artillery and Marines. For none but the shades of Cavalrymen dismount at Fiddler’s Green.”
Its first known appearance in published form was in a 1923 Cavalry Journal. Before then, its history with the U.S. Cavalry is pretty vague. Its concept was also popular among 17th and 18th century sailors and soldiers in Europe, who knew that they would not qualify for Heaven, but trusted that a merciful God would agree with their motto that, “To live hard, to die hard, and to go to Hell afterwards would be hard indeed.” This again emphasizes the esprit de corps and love for the Cavalry that Troopers have. To be willing to give up a chance at Paradise in order to live as Cavalrymen is a very noble sacrifice, a sacrifice that is rewarded, in part, by the existence of Fiddler’s Green. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than the alternative. In fact, it may even be looked upon as redemption for some Cavalrymen, those who “go curving down the trail to seek a warmer scene.” In other words, those who were bound for Hell are saved by the fact that they were Cavalrymen.
According to the Cavalry Journal, “Fiddler’s Green” was inspired by a story told by Captain “Sammy” Pearson at a campfire in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming. Having mentioned Fiddler’s Green and found that no...