Question of the Week: 6/22-6/28/20

It’s been a while since we’ve asked this question…

What’s your favorite Civil War era song?

21 Responses to Question of the Week: 6/22-6/28/20

  1. I’ll be your Huckleberry. Dixie, of course! Naturally, Confederate Soldiers preferred it on the march, in battle and in camp. Oddly enough, Union Bands also played it, and it was reportedly Lincoln’s favorite song.

  2. “The Cuckoo”. The character Martin from the movie Andersonville sings it while playing his banjo.

  3. Aiosken Farewell, it might as well be a Civil war era song as it opened every episode of Ken Burn’s Civil War. Chokes me up every time I hear it.

    1. Jay Ungar and Molly Mason are dear friends of mine. We worked together to save an outdoor education and traditional music center in New York’s Catskills called Ashokan Center.
      Jay always chuckles when people call it a Civil War song.
      He actually wrote it one weekend after one of the week long music camps he and Molly ran, and run, at Ashokan in Olivebridge. He was feeling melancholy at the end of camp, and Ashokan Farewell was the result. When Molly and Jay were consulted by their friend Ken Burns about music for Ken’s Civil War series, they played him a bunch of their original music. Ken chose Ashokan Farewell as the theme of the series.
      For years Jay was firm that there would be no words to the song. He has mellowed on this stance a little, so if you really love the song, you could, using your Civil War expertise, consider writing the words.

  4. I’ve always been partial to the tune “Garryowen”. However, I don’t know if it was ever adopted by any unit that participated in the Civil War. It WAS played by the New York militia unit that became the fabled “Fighting 69th”, but the only references I can find about that is the tune was their unit’s musical banner through parts of the 1850s.

  5. Lorena, not only because it is beautiful and nostalgic, but because it reminded the combatants of the beauties of peace and impelled them to strive for that noble goal.

  6. The Boys Who Wore the Green
    On the 21st of July, beneath a burning sun,
    McDowell met the Southern troops in battle at Bull Run.
    Above the Union vanguard, was proudly dancing seen
    Beside the starry banner, ’twas old Erin´s flag of green.

    Col. Corcoran led the 69th on that eventful day,
    I wish the Prince of Wales were there to see him in the fray.
    His charge upon the batteries was a most glorious scene,
    With the gallant New York firemen and the boys that wore the green.

    In the hottest of the fire, there rode along the line
    A captain of the Zouave band, crying, “Now, boys, is your time.”
    Ah, who is he so proudly rides with the bold and dauntless men?
    ´Tis Thomas Francis Meagher of Old Erin´s isle of green.

    Now the colors of the 69th, I say it without shame,
    Were taken in the struggle to swell the victor´s fame;
    But Farnham´s dashing Zouaves, that run with the machine,
    Retook them in a moment, with the boys that wore the green.
    Being overpowered by numbers, our troops were forced to flee.
    The Southern Black Horse Cavalry on them charged furiously,
    But in that hour of peril, the flying mass to screen,
    Stood the gallant New York firemen with the boys that wore the green.

    Farewell, my gallant countrymen who fell that fatal day.
    Farewell, ye noble firemen, now mouldering in the clay.
    Whilst blooms the leafy shamrock, whilst runs the old machine
    Your deeds will live, bold Red Shirts! and boys that wore the green.

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