Thomas Greeley Stevenson isn’t a name most Civil War buffs recognize these days, but he’s someone near and dear to my own heart because of my affiliation with Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania Battlefield named for Stevenson. Stevenson was killed just across the road from us on the morning of May 10, 1864. I’ve been prepping a talk for our Symposium this weekend about Stevenson’s death.
Stevenson was a beloved son of his home city of Boston. Before his death composers wrote at least two song in his honor: “Col. Stevenson’s Quick Step” by a composer I’ve only been able to identify as “Rodwitska” and, after Stevenson’s promotion, the “General Stevenson Quick Step” by composer Gustave Krebs.
Here’s Krebs’ tune, performed by my oldest son, Jackson Mackowski:
Martial airs inspired by hometown heroes were not uncommon, especially early in the war. There was a whole genre of such ditties. Many can be found at the library of Congress under “notated music,” although don’t limit your search there. I found the “Colonel” quickstep at Brown University. Try a search sometime and see if you can find a tune about your own favorite officer.
I’ll try and convince Jackson to record the “Colonel” quick step for us down the road.