The Ballad of America: The History of the United States in Song and Story

By John Anthony Scott | Go to book overview

V

THE
CIVIL
WAR

THE CIVIL WAR resembled the Revolution and the War of 1812 in that it produced many topical songs designed to meet the urgent needs of the moment: to celebrate victory, fortify convictions, taunt the enemy, steel the soul for battle, and provide solace. It was a time when literary and musical activity flowered with a great intensity.

Thousands of ordinary, anonymous Americans—soldiers, civilians, nurses, housewives, and ministers—wrote these songs and verses, which were often sung to traditional ballad tunes. Numbers of these songs were printed as broadsides and circulated in factory, field, and camp by the tens of thousands of copies. Here, the Civil War continued and enriched the broadside ballad tradition of colonial and early national times. Professional songwriters also turned to writing war songs and found a wide and ready market for their compositions. Much money was made by publishers, especially in New York and Philadelphia, from the distribution and sale of low-priced popular songbooks and sheet music.

Notwithstanding its grandeur, much of this Civil War material has vanished from popular tradition. It is obscurely preserved in the music files, broadside, songster, and manuscript

-216-

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The Ballad of America: The History of the United States in Song and Story
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Ballad of America - The History of the United States in Song and Story *
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Note on the Music xiii
  • I - The Colonial Period 1
  • The British Heritage 7
  • Colonial Songs and Ballads 30
  • II - The American Revolution 53
  • III - The Early National Period 91
  • IV - Jacksonian America 124
  • Sea and Immigration 126
  • The Westward Movement 159
  • Slavery Days 190
  • V - The Civil War 216
  • VI - Between the Civil War and the First World War 253
  • Farmers and Workers 257
  • Immigrants 284
  • The Negro People 301
  • VII - Between Two World Wars 324
  • VIII - Since the War 362
  • Sources 381
  • Recordings 400
  • Afterword 419
  • Index of Titles and First Lines 429
  • General Index 433
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