Olde Towne Brass
Historic Notes - The Blue & Grey Olio
These notes are free for you to use for verbal introductions, however, the material may not be reproduced without consent and recognition of the researcher and compiler, Terry Cornett.
1859, Daniel Decatur Emmett (1815-1904) [Squire's Cornet Band
Olio, Set #1 1871]
One of the most familiar and popular tunes of all time, Dixie's Land (or Dixie) was subjected to many lyrical parodies, including one by Brig. Gen. Albert Pike, whose War Song of Dixie called “Southrons to Arms.” Emmett's “walk-around” was being performed in Chicago where Abraham Lincoln, then attorney for the Illinois Central Railroad in the “Sand-Bar” litigation, stood, applauded violently, and shouted, “Let's have it again! Let's have it again!” Lincoln requested the tune frequently after he was elected and had it performed immediately upon hearing of Lee's surrender proclaiming it “captured” and, once again, the whole Nation's property. Mrs. John Wood, a New Orleans actress, has been credited with the South's introduction to the tune when Carlo Patti, music director of the Variety Theatre, used it in a musical production of John Brougham's Pocahontas. There the tune accompanied a march and drill routine of 40 women dressed as Zouaves. It was so successful it had to be repeated 7 times. This “martial” use of the tune carried over to the soldiers when a quickstep version was arranged for Louisiana regiments.
stories surround Mr. Hermann Arnold’s acquisition of the tune, but what
is known is that he arranged the tune as a quickstep for the inaugural
parade of Jefferson Davis, February 22, 1862. Arnold claimed to have
heard Emmett perform the tune at the New Montgomery Theater, when John
Wilkes Booth starred at its opening. Arnold transcribed the tune onto
the wallpaper of the theater, and later arranged it for his band. That
segment of wallpaper is now housed in the Alabama Department of Archives
and History Building, in Montgomery. However, in a 1924 interview, Mr.
Arnold said that the tune was an old German song, and that after showing
Emmett the tune; Emmett added words and published it as his own.
composers claimed to have written Dixie, none were successful in
their challenge. This is not to say Emmett merely “pulled the song from
thin air.” He later made conflicting statements as to its origin,
stating it was an old circus tune or even a nursery song. It is very
likely he heard it, or something quite similar, as a child in Knox
County, Ohio. That was also the home of the Snowden Family Band, a
family of free blacks, who supplemented their income by giving concerts
throughout the region. Two sons, Ben and Lew, continued performing into
the 1900s. Their common headstone is inscribed: “They taught ‘Dixie’ to
1862, John Williamson Palmer (1825-1906) tune: anon [piano: George
Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson was, and continues to be, one of the
great legendary figures of the Confederacy. His untimely death left a
gaping hole in Confederate ranks. Many musical tributes were composed
shortly after his death, although the best known, “Stonewall Jackson's
Way,” was written before. Palmer, a physician, poet, playwright and war
correspondent for the New York Times, wrote the song during the
battle of Antietam, and published it, anonymously, to avoid being
arrested as a Southern sympathizer. To further disguise his identity, an
inscription on the title page claims the lyric was “found on the body of
a Confederate sergeant of the old Stonewall Brigade who was killed at
Winchester, Virginia.” The song details many of the peculiar mannerisms
of the good General and the dedicated men that followed him.
1857, Rev. Henry DeLafayette Webster and Joseph Philbrick Webster
[piano: Higgins Brothers]
Despite their names the two were not related. Henry
was an itinerant minister of the Universalist Church and traveled
through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. While in Zanesville,
Ohio, he fell in love with Martha Ellen (or Eleanor) Blocksom, who later
left him to marry a lawyer as she refused to live on a preacher's meager
salary. Her husband went on to become Chief Justice of Ohio. Webster
wrote the poem Bertha in her honor, but by request of J.P.
Webster, used a variation on Edgar Allen Poe's “Lenore.” The
composer, Joseph, met Henry in Madison, Wisconsin in 1856 while
traveling from New Hampshire. The name Lorena did not exist prior to the
song's publication; but was very popular afterwards. J.P. Webster
continued writing music during and after the war. His other “hit” being
In the Sweet By and By.
(Year of Jubilo),
1862, Henry Clay Work (1832-1884) [piano: Root & Cady]
Root recognized a masterpiece when he saw it and set out some of the
most elaborate promotion for this song, culminating with the
introduction by Christy's Minstrels prior to its release. The song's
success was immediate and overwhelming. Though Work had never witnessed
first-hand the slavery situation in the South, he was familiar as his
father was active in the Underground Railroad and their home was a
“station.” Despite its view, the song was extremely popular in the
South. When Blackmar published the song in Augusta, the cover boasted
“As Sung by the First Tennessee Opera Troupe,” which was actually the
company’s glee club. The song was reportedly sung by Negro troops as
they marched into Richmond April 3, 1865.
Richards was a
Welsh pianist, teacher and composer. He was a pupil at the Royal Academy
of Music in London and wrote the Welsh National Anthem, God Bless the
Prince of Wales. “Dearest” was said to be one of Robert E. Lee's
The original title
is Schlummer Polka and has subtitles of “I am tired and sleepy”
for the polka and “I am worn out” for the Trio. This tune also appears
in Squire's Cornet Band Olio as Sleepy Polka. Several
editions by T. Richards and S. Winner were found.
With a name like
his, Charles Ellerbrock was destined to become a composer. His
composition, loosely based on God Save the King, became the
un-official National Anthem of the Confederacy— a position it held with
several others. Ellerbrock was the arranger on the original Maryland,
My Maryland; however, subsequent editions listed the arranger as “A
Lady of Baltimore.” George H. Miles wrote the inspiring poem and
published under the pseudonym Earnest Halphin.
The first recorded use of the lone star flag dates to September 11, 1810, when a troop of West Florida dragoons, tired of Spanish repression, set out for the provincial capitol at Baton Rouge under this flag. They were joined by other republican forces and captured Baton Rouge, imprisoned the Governor and on September 23, 1810 raised their Bonnie Blue flag over Fort Baton Rouge. Three days later the president of the West Florida Convention, signed a Declaration of Independence and the flag became the emblem of a new republic. By December 10, the flag of the United States replaced the Bonnie Blue after President Madison issued a proclamation declaring West Florida under the jurisdiction of the Governor of the Louisiana Territory. With this rebellion in mind, the flag was used by the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1839. The Confederate government did not adopt this flag but the people did and the lone star flags were adopted in some form in five of the southern States that adopted new flags in 1861.
On January 9, 1861 the convention of the People of Mississippi adopted an Ordinance of Secession. With this announcement the Bonnie Blue flag was raised over the capitol building in Jackson. Harry Macarthy, the English born “Arkansas Comedian,” was so inspired that he wrote the first couple of verses to The Bonnie Blue Flag, which was to become the second most popular patriotic song of the Confederacy. After the sales of his published broadside exceeded expectations, Macarthy sold the rights to A.E. Blackmar for $500 and a piano. He set his lyric to an original tune by Vousden, called The Irish Jaunting Car, which should not be confused with another of a similar name, The Low-Backed Jaunting Car.
Macarthy continued to sing his song during his “Personation Concerts,” adding new verses to describe the parade of secession, as each State became part of the Confederacy. Eventually, he added words to encourage Missouri and Kentucky to join. The song, and its presentation, was so powerful, it caused a riot at New Orleans’ Academy of Music. Macarthy strode to center stage, wearing a Confederate officer’s uniform, and began singing. Before reaching the chorus, his beautiful wife, Lottie Estelle, ran onstage waving a blue silk flag with a single white star. She threw her arms around his neck and he sang the resounding chorus. The audience sprang to its feet and cheered loudly. Macarthy would have to wait for them to quiet down before he could continue. Then, as each chorus came around, the crowd would join in and cheer louder than before. Col. Frank Terry’s Texas Rangers were in attendance, and one soldier, unable to control his emotions, could not stop cheering. When a policeman tried to remove him, the Texans were outraged and a mêlée ensued. Additional policemen joined in until the Mayor and Col. Terry put an end to it. But it was too late, the impact of this bold song of defiance, was deeply set in the minds of every Southerner. Macarthy has been compared to Bob Hope, in that he spent a great deal of time entertaining troops in the field, and was universally loved, partly because of his enormous humanitarian efforts. Macarthy routinely turned over his concert proceeds to charitable funds.
Knowing the song’s power, when Gen. Benjamin Butler, U.S.A. occupied New Orleans in 1862, he levied a fine of $25 for anyone caught singing, playing or whistling the song. He then ordered the publisher, A.E. Blackmar, arrested, fined $500 and all copies destroyed. However, in March 1864, while in town, performing Richard III and Macbeth, a defiant John Wilkes Booth took a dare from friends, that he would walk the streets singing the song. When several Union soldiers drew their weapons to stop him, he talked his way out of arrest by mentioning he was not a resident and did not know of the law. Perhaps his celebrity status also aided his situation, but one cannot help but think if things would have be different, had be been jailed for an extended period..
18--, Louis Antoine Jullien (1812-1860) [Brass Band Journal,
This is a
condensed version of Jullien's famous waltz arranged by G.W.E. Frederich.
Jullien was born in France to a popular bandmaster, who, as a tribute to
his players, used each of their names as middle names for Louis — some
Winner was from a
musical family in that his father was a violinmaker and his brother,
Joseph, was also a composer (The Little Brown Jug). Septimus was
a storekeeper and music teacher in Philadelphia where in the street he
would hear “Whistlin' Dick” Milburn, a Negro boy, serenading people in
the street with his guitar and bird-like warbling. Some sources also say
he was a barber. Winner used one of Dick's melodies for Mockingbird
and gave him prominent credit on the published music. He published it
under his mother's name, Alice Hawthorne. He also gave Dick a job in the
store. Lacking foresight, Winner sold the rights to the song for $5.00
after slow initial sales. The song sold millions of copies over the next
50 years. Later editions removed the credit to Milburn.
Girl I Left Behind Me,
ca. 1758, tune: Brighton Camp, words: Samuel Lover [Squire's
Cornet Band Olio, Set #1 1871]
This tune was
heard in America during the Revolution, as it was popular with both
sides. The earliest known publication was in a bi-monthly Dublin
magazine, dated around 1805. The words, collected by Lover, supposedly
refer to the Crimean War of 1853 and mention leaving for “Brighton
Camp.” This is the only connection found in relation to the tune title.
The British Navy used it as their official tune of departure until
Cheer, Boys, Cheer was adopted for that use. The tune was adopted by
the Americans and has become a traditional army song especially
associated with the U.S. 7th Infantry. A song parody was later written
entitled I Goes to Fight Mit Siegal.
The tune is called I Am Not Twenty
in Daniel Steele's 1818 Preceptor for the Fife.
1847, Friedrich von Flotow (1812-1883) [26th Regt. North
Carolina Troops, C.S.A. Band Books]
With its delightful dances and lovely arias, Martha took the world by storm; but not until its translation into English and the inclusion of Thomas Moore's 'Twas the Last Rose of Summer. The opera went limp for 6 years until it was revamped for American audiences. The comedy is set in England and deals with the mis-adventures of Lady Harriet and her friend Nancy, who hire themselves out at the fair as servants to two young farmers. Now, as Martha and Julia, they fall in love with the farmers and Martha is proposed to. In the night, tired of the charade, they make their escape. When it is later revealed the proposing farmer is actually the long lost son of the earl of Derby, the two marry—The End.
1866, A. Pindar, Esq. / P. Nutt, Esq. [piano: A.E. Blackmar]
The song refers to
the peanut, which had become the dietary staple for Confederate soldiers
as rations dwindled away. Georgia soldiers were often called “goober
grabbers.” The song was very popular with the troops though it went
unpublished until 1866. Note the author and composer's names. Armand
Edward Blackmar (1826-1888) believed to be the above was a composer and
music dealer. Born in Vermont, he moved south and at age 19 had
established music stores in Huntsville, Alabama and Vicksburg,
Mississippi. Blackmar taught music in Huntsville from 1845 to 1852 when
he became Professor of Music at Centenary College in Jackson, Louisiana.
He later set up publishing houses in Augusta, Vicksburg, Mobile, San
Francisco and his base in New Orleans.
Jordan Am A Hard Road Ta Trabbel / Wait For The Wagon, Emmett / Buckley [26th Regt. North Carolina, C.S.A. Band Books]
E.P. Christy has been
credited with the most familiar set of words to Emmett's song, referring
to it as The Other Side of Jordan. It's chorus, though, is
probably Emmett's, with the lines “Then pull off yer coat 'n' roll up
yer sleeve, Jordan am a hard road ta trabbel, I believe.” Though many
parody lyrics surfaced, none were more effective than John R. Thompson's
Confederate version: Richmond Is A Hard Road To Travel. In it, he
details the many failed campaigns to take the Confederate Capitol.
Buckley’s (1826-1867) song was published as: “an Ethiopian Song for the
Piano-Forte by George P. Knauff”, but most researchers credit Buckley
with its composition. The delightful melody lends itself easily to
parody and was used by politicians, propagandists and soldiers, alike.
1846, S. S. Steele [piano: Geo. P. Reed]
A lot of confusion
surrounds this tune, most popular with string bands. While the
composition has been credited to the Honorable A.B. Meek, the published
edition cited here is credited to S. S. Steele, with “words used by
permission of Turner & Fisher,” and “sung by A.F. Winnemore & His Band
of Serenaders.” In the song, a
suitor crosses state lines to serenade his “sweet tobacco posey” in
Alabama, and loses his banjo in the river. He returns nightly to search
for his banjo and see his Rose of Alabama.
The Yellow Rose of Texas, 1858, J. K. [piano: Wm. A. Pond & Co.
The yellow rose was a mulatto indentured servant, named Emily D. West, who kept Mexican General Santa Anna “occupied” so as to allow Sam Houston’s Texns to slip up and defeat the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto. This minstrel song was apparently written in response to other songs about girls from different states such as Arkansas Kate and Belle ob Tenisee; however unlike the others Rose was not written in the burnt cork dialect. The only reference to the latter is the use of “darkie” when referring to the singer. When Southern soldiers sang this, the word “soldier” or fellow would likely be substituted. Several parodies exist but the most famous was sung in reference to Gen. John Bell Hood of Texas and his disastrous Tennessee campaign of 1864. The identity of J.K. is an enigma. Pure speculation might suggest Joseph Kelp or Joseph Philip Knight (Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep). With new words by Mrs. M.J. Young it became The Song of the Texas Rangers.
1823, Sir Henry Rowley Bishop (1786-1855) [Dodworth's Brass Band
This most popular
song is from the opera Clari; or, The Maid of Milan and is based
on a Sicilian Air. The American actor, John Howard Payne, wrote the
opera. The opera was mediocre, at best, and did not remain on stage for
long. The song, with all its nostalgia, persevered. There are several
accounts of the song being sung and played by opposing troops in close
proximity. Since this song is not sung loudly, one can only imagine how
close these camps were to one another. Shortly after the Battle of
Fredericksburg, a Federal band struck up the tune, which was quickly
followed by a Confederate band from across the Rappahannock. Then every
other regimental band in the area began playing it. Noting there wasn’t
a dry eye to be found, Frank Mixson, of the 1st South
Carolina Vols. Said, “if there hadn’t been a river between them, the two
armies would have settled the war on the spot.” Later that month (Dec.
1862) a similar event took place at Murfreesboro. After alternating tune
for some time, the bands played Home! Sweet Home! together. The
next morning the armies slaughtered one another at the Battle of Stone’s
River. 12,000 lives were lost in the 3-day engagement.
- Spangled Banner,
John Stafford Smith (1750-1836) tune: To Anacreon In Heaven [3rd
NH Band Books]
With words written
by Francis Scott Key, The Defense of Fort McHenry, this tune was
one of several patriotic airs that were popular during the war. The
South had its own version with new words, called The Cross of the
South. This arrangement is by Claudio S. Grafulla and is found in
the 3rd NH “Port Royal” band books. It was played during the raising of
the U.S. flag over Fort Sumter on April 14, 1865 at the conclusion of
the war. The song officially became the U.S. National Anthem in 1931.
The original tune was popular in England (pre Anacreon) as early as the
1770's with the publication of The Anacreontic Song in 1778.
or Drum Corps Q.S. or Grafulla's Q.S., 1860, Claudio S.
Grafulla (1812-1880) [3rd NH “Port Royal Band Books]
for the band of the 7th Regt. New York State Militia, the
chart found its way into the books of the 3rd New Hampshire.
It was later published as a piano solo (1860) and again for brass band
under the title Skyrockets! Since
Olde Towne Brass
hails from the “Rocket City,” (Huntsville, AL) we’ve kept that title.
This arrangement uses the 3rd NH version with embellishment
from the published sources.
Grafulla was a
tremendously talented and prolific composer and the foremost arranger
for bands. Even today, modern wind bands continue to play his
compositions, especially his march/quickstep Washington Grays.
Nearly every surviving Civil War band book, Union and Confederate,
contain Grafulla originals or his arrangements. It was said that a band
wanted a potpourri of Wm. H. Fry’s new opera Leonore, and called
on Grafulla. The bandleader whistled some of the opera’s melodies while
Grafulla transcribed. A few hours later, he returned with a completed
arrangement, and with only minor corrections, the selection was
performed that night.
1861, William Whiteman Fosdick (1825-1862) and George R. Poulton
(1828-1867) [piano: John Church, Jr.]
Written for Hooley
and Campbell's Minstrels, Aura Lea was enormously popular on both
sides during the war. Fosdick was a successful American writer. Poulton
was born in England and later moved to U.S. where, by the 1840's, he had
published several songs. The endurance of his tune is shown in Army
Blue, with new words written for the graduating class of West
Point (1865) by L.W. Becklaw and Love Me Tender (1956) by Elvis
Presley and Vera Matson.
Hail to the Chief, 1812, James Sanderson (1760-1841) [25th Mass. Band Books]
The “March & Chorus from the Dramatic Romance of the Lady of the Lake” is the inscription on the 1812 American publication of this tune, based on Sir Walter Scott’s poem. Possibly derived from an old Gaelic air, it was used in Sanderson’s musical play of 1812, in a gallant boating scene honoring highland chieftain, Sir Roderick Dhu. It was played at Martin Van Buren's inauguration in 1837 and later became the Official March of the President of the United States during John Tyler’s administration.
St. Patrick's Day
In The Morning & Garry Owen,
traditional Irish / Welsh [3rd NH “Port Royal” Band Books]
Day” was reportedly played by the pipers of an Irish brigade at the
battle of Fontenoy on May 11, 1745, and published as early as 1748. The
tune has been popular with American fifers since the latter part of the
18th century. “Garry Owen” is said to have been played in 1800 in a
pantomime entitled “Harlequin Amulet.” The title is a corruption of
Garryowen, an Irish town located in Limerick. Though no documentation
has surfaced, legend states that George Armstrong Custer liked the tune
so much he had his mounted 7th Cavalry Band play it wherever they went,
including into battle during the Indian Wars.
When Johnny Comes Marching Home, 1863, Louis Lambert (Patrick S. Gilmore) (1829-1892) [3rd NH “Port Royal” Band Books]
Gilmore, born in Ireland, came to the U.S. in 1840 and quickly made a
name for himself. By 1850 he was conductor of the Boston Brigade Band
and at the outset of war was Bandmaster of the 24th Mass. Band. While
stationed in New Orleans (1863) he was made Bandmaster for the U.S.
Army. There has been controversy over the tune's origin, some saying it
was an old Irish tune or written by minstrels, supported by the fact the
tune, with different words, had been in print prior to Gilmore’s
publication; but to-date no proof of publication has been produced. This
includes the song: Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye, which is said
to date from the Crimean War. Gilmore later admitted the tune was a
“musical waif” that he rescued. The song, despite its tremendous
popularity, reached its pinnacle 35 years later during the
1856, Edmund Jaeger [Peters' Saxhorn Journal, 1859]
Journal was published for use by bands of as few as six players. The
charts used doubling to ensure a complete sound with the minimum of
horns. These were popular arrangements, demonstrated by the fact they
were still being offered for sale in the 1870's. Not much has been found
on Mr. Jaeger, except that he is not related to Dr.
Edmund C. Jaeger, the desert naturalist.
tune: God Save the King (attributed to Henry Carey) [25th
Mass Regt. Band Books]
composer of God Save the King has never been determined, as
research has shown many plausible connections to Henry Purcell, John
Bull, 15th Century plainsong and even Christmas Carols. American
songbooks often listed Henry Carey though he never claimed it. His son,
in an effort to receive a pension from the British Government, stated
his father wrote the words in 1745 or 1746. He had forgotten his father
died in 1743! After the Declaration of Independence, many new American
words were written and in 1831 Rev. Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895)
penned My Country! 'Tis of Thee.
The Battle Cry of
1862 George Frederick Root (1820-1895) [piano: Root & Cady]
Root was already a
leading music educator and editor when he joined his brother and
Chauncey Cady at their publishing firm and began producing some of the
most memorable songs of the 1800's. This rallying song sparked great
fervor and spurred-on many men in battle, North and South. As with most
popular songs, words were often altered to fit the singer, so that a
powerful pro-Union song could be sung with as much zeal by any
Confederate sympathizer. In his biography, Root claims to have been
inspired by Lincoln's second call for troops and wrote the words and
music in only a few hours and performed it at a huge rally on July 24,
1862 with the ink barely dry.
Red White & Blue,
1843, Thomas E. Williams (d.1854) [Stratton Military Band Journal,
Now more commonly
known as Columbia, Gem of the Ocean, “RWB” has a rather dubious
past. Prior to its Americanization, the song was published in Great
Britain as Britannia, Pride of the Ocean. The British claim to
have published in 1842 with words by Stephen J. Meany, an Irish
journalist, while, in America, the argument was between David T. Shaw
and Thomas A'Beckett. Shaw published Columbia, the Land of the Brave
in 1843, and when Beckett, a writer of renown, claimed it as his own, it
was republished as Columbia, Gem of the Ocean. It might be noted
that Shaw had, at one time or another, submitted words to Beckett, but
were quickly discarded as rubbish. In 1861, John J. Daly published the
work under the title The Red, White and Blue and gave no credit
to either, calling it merely a “National Song (& Chorus). The song
rivaled The Star-Spangled Banner in popularity. It is also known
as The Army and Navy Song, because it pays its respects to both.
Light of Other
1836, Michael W. Balfe (1808-1880) [Dodworth's Brass Band School,
This aria is taken
from the opera, The Maid of Artois by Alfred Bunn. Bunn was a
poet and theater manager. He managed both Covent Garden and Drury Lane
during the 1840's. He commissioned Balfe to write the music. Twenty
years after its premiere, Light of Other Days was described as
“the most popular song in England that our days have known.”
1865, Henry Clay Work (1832-1884) [piano: Root & Cady]
The event that the
song celebrates is of course, Sherman's march “From Atlanta to the Sea.”
Like any good propaganda piece, the song takes no notice of the actual
realities of the situation it glorifies. The fact that Sherman's
devastating month-long march, so filled with senseless destruction, came
after the Confederacy was already substantially defeated and that it was
motivated more by imperious self-aggrandizement than by military
necessity. This song still stirs the flames in the South. Beware!
was written shortly after General Sherman began his famous march to the
sea about the 16th of November 1864. Mr. Work wrote some splendid army
songs, but his reputation will rest on Marching Through Georgia.
So universal in its use, General Sherman heard it with supreme disgust.
It pursued him from city to city, and from state to state, and in all
the great cities of Europe in which he was received. When the General
attended the national encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic in
Boston in 1890, he saw from the reviewing stand two hundred and fifty
bands, and a hundred fife and drum corps pass in review; and the old
warrior stood for seven mortal hours listening to the never ending
strains of the music which commemorates the most triumph march of modern
times. His patience collapsed, and with a grim gravity, peculiar to him,
and in language too emphatic for repetition here, he declared that he
would never attend another national encampment until every band in the
United States has signed an agreement not to play Marching Through
Georgia in his presence. This was Sherman's last encampment, and
when the tune was next played in his presence, six months after, “there
came no response from the echoless shore to which his soul had
wafted.” (Notes from Bill Warren)
1862, arr: Gustavus W. Ingalls (1824-?) [3rd NH “Port Royal” Band
This is a medley
of “College” songs arranged by G.W. Ingalls who served as Band Master of
the 3rd New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Band, later the 2nd Brigade
Band, 10th Army Corps stationed at Port Royal, Hilton Head, South
Carolina. Several school songs are presented along with some student
favorites. Included is Lauriger Horatious (O Tannenbaum)
from Yale and Oxford, Upidee, which was used as a parody of
Longfellow’s Excelsior, Benny Haven's Oh! (Wearing of the
Green) from West Point Academy, Litoria! Litoria! from Yale, and
the German student song, Gaudeamus Igitur, used in Brahms'
(or The Prisoner's Hope), 1864, George F. Root (1820-1895)
[piano: Root & Cady]
With the whole
nation wondering about the status of loved ones in enemy prisons, Root
capitalized with the introduction of Tramp! It was an immediate success
with its universal sentiment and rousing melody. Within 6 months of
release, it had sold 100,000 copies. Today it is known as Jesus Loves
the Little Children and God Save Ireland.
1837, Frederick Crouch (1808-1896) [part books found in the
archives of the U.S. Marine Band]
Before moving to
America in 1849, Crouch was a well-known English songwriter who often
chose Irish themes. The poem, written by Mrs. Marion Crawford, appeared
in Metropolitan Magazine, and was immediately set to music by
Crouch. The two subsequently met and collaborated further. Crouch played
in the Royal Coburg Theatre at age 9. Later, he played cello at Drury
Lane and sang in the choirs of Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's. He came
to America with an Italian opera company and settled in Virginia. He
served the Confederacy by performing on trumpet and working at Richmond
1789, Philip Phile (d. ca. 1793) [Brass Band Journal, 1854]
“The President's March” it served in that capacity until the mid 19th
Century when Hail To The Chief replaced it. Hail Columbia
is now the official march of the Vice President. The tune was so popular
to the Federalists, Gilbert Fox, a singer at the New Theatre in
Philadelphia, urged Joseph Hopkinson, whose father, Francis, was one of
the signers of the Declaration of Independence, to compose words for it.
Hopkinson wrote the poem Hail! Columbia in 1798.
18th Century, anon [Brass Band Journal, 1854]
So much has been written, speculating on the origins of this song that attempts to trace its source are futile. Critically, the tune is weak and the lyrics pathetic—just the kind of song a soldier could love! Originally intended as an insult to the Continental Army, the tune was picked up and sung with gusto by the colonists that its words became a sort of “in your face” gesture towards the British invaders. It became a unifying thread among soldiers for the newly United States and a bond of solidarity for Union (and Confederate) soldiers with their forefathers. This was one of only two tunes Gen. U.S. Grant said he knew. The other wasn't.
1862, Henry S. Washburn & George F. Root [piano: Root & Cady]
Shall Meet but We Shall Miss Him the subject of the song is
18-year-old Lt. John William Grout of the 15th Mass. Vol. Inf. who was
killed Oct. 21, 1861 at Balls Bluff. He was to receive his first
furlough in a few weeks. Washburn, a guest in the Grout home for
Thanksgiving, noted the unoccupied place at the dinner table and was
moved to write the poem in honor of “Willie.” His friend G.F. Root set
the poem to music and published it in 1862. The universality of the
lyrics was evident as it was published in the South three times.
(John Brown's Body),
1861, [piano: Oliver Ditson & Co.]
The tune and
“Glory” refrain were written in the 1850's by William Steffe, a Southern
Methodist minister and published in 1858 as Say, Brothers, Will You
Meet Us. In 1859, soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, Boston Light
Infantry added the words about John Brown, a Sergeant in the unit at
Fort Warren (not the abolitionist of the same name). This did not
stop the general public in promoting the latter and adding more words to
support the claim. Julia Ward Howe was convinced, by Rev. James Freeman
Clarke (of the Sanitary Commission) to write new, more dignified, words
to the song after reviewing the troops at Bailey's Crossroads and
hearing the crude lyrics sung by the soldiers. That night, in the
Willard Hotel in Washington D.C., she awoke, inspired, and quickly
penned the new words. Editor James Fields inserted the title Battle
Hymn of the Republic when he published the poem in the February 1862