Tuesday, May 13, 2014

1865 Camp Songs

     During the Civil War, music played a prominent role for both the Union and the Confederates. The music helped soldiers get away from the bloodshed and the tensions of war. Also, music helped with homesickness and boredom. Sometimes each side's bands would face off by playing their favorite tunes the night before a battle. Each side had their favorite songs. The song Dixie liked by both the North and the South. Dixie originates from the Blackface Minstrel shows from the 1850s. The song tells the story of a freed black slave pining for the plantation of his birth. The song was the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy. The song was also a favorite of Abraham Lincoln. He played it at many rallies and at the announcement of General Lee surrendering.
     The survivors of Pickett's charge came back under the tune of Nearer, My God, to Thee. The song is based off of Jacob's dream in the book of Genesis. It is also known as the last song played by the band on the Titanic before is sank. The Genesis verse is written that a ladder is connected from the earth to the heavens and angels of the Lord ascending and descending upon it.
     Another song the Union played during the Civil War was Nelly Bly. Sheridan ordered Union musicians to play Nelly Bly while being shot at from the front lines. Nelly Bly was an immediate hit. It was published on February 2, 1850.
     As you can see, music was an important factor of the Civil War. Without it, the outcomes of battles would have drastically changed.

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