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Civil War Lyrics, Songs & Music

To Hear Classic Southern & Northern Lyrics, Songs and Music Go To: www.CivilWarHeritageTrails.org and Click On the Civil War Music Button

Young volunteers like 16-year old Edwin F. Jemison pictured above inspired many songwriters by their courage and sacrifice. Jemison was killed at age 17 and was buried in his native Milledgeville, Georgia. One inspired song writer was John Hill Hewitt (1801-1890) Born and raised in New York City, as an adult Hewitt moved to Augusta, Georgia and later embraced the Confederacy. Too old to fight, Hewitt instead wrote many patriotic and romanticized tunes. "The Young Volunteer"Music Page website

"The Yellow Rose of Texas" is a traditional folk song. Its original version became associated with the legend of how an indentured servant named Emily D. West (aka Emily Morgan) unwittingly aided Texans in winning the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle in their War of Independence from Mexico. During the Civil War the song was popular with Confederate soldiers, especially...

The lyrics to this popular tune of African-American slave origin were written in 1846 by Silas S. Steele.  Often called the “Rose of Alabamy,” it’s an example of the many pre-war “walk-around” minstrel show songs often performed in black-face by white entertainers in Northern cities.

An English “sea shanty”, or shipboard working song, it chronicles the history of the most successful ship in the Confederate Navy, the C.S.S. Alabama. The original author is unknown.

Prattville Light Dragoon March - Circa 1862 * Civil War Lyrics * Civil War Music

Published in 1843 by Dan Emmett (the author of “Dixie”), who also claimed authorship, “Old Dan Tucker” may have evolved from a popular slaves song about a part-time minister who lived near...

Civil War Lyrics Old Dan Tucker by Dan Emmet | Civil War Music

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First published in 1848, “Oh! Susanna” was the first big hit of Stephen Collins Foster’s illustrious career. The song became an anthem of the California Gold Rush in 1849, and remained popular throughout the Civil War. Known today as...

Worshipers move in a circle while shuffling or stomping their feet and clapping their hands.  Performances often occurred at night, continuing for...

A “ring shout” is an enthusiastic religious ritual once performed by slaves living along the Georgia and South Carolina coast.

Marching Through Georgia by Harry Clay Work * Civil War Lyrics * Civil War Music

Though the date and location where James Pierpont wrote “Jingle Bells” are disputed, he performed it publicly while living in Savannah, Georgia, and subsequently copyrighted it from there in 1857. Its popularity spread slowly, yet...

Written perhaps by anonymous Confederate soldiers, “Goober Peas” made light of the very real Southern food shortages late in the war.  Published after the war, A. E. Blackmar continued the songs’ humorous connotations by crediting its authorship to...

Civil War Lyrics Hark! The Herald Angels Sing | Civil War Music

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The poem “A Georgia Volunteer” was written not long after the war’s end by Mary Ashley Townsend. It reflects the sad and remorseful attitudes of many Southerners following the Confederacy’s defeat. The poem was set to music in...

Loved by many, despised by others, “Dixie” is still among the most recognizable of all American songs.  Ironically, it was written by a Northerner, Daniel Decatur Emmett.  Bryant’s (blackface) Minstrels premiered it in New York City on April 4, 1859.  “I Wish I Was in Dixie’s Land” was an instant hit, and...

Civil War Lyrics Dixie by Daniel Decatur Emmett | Civil War Music

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Written by Cool White, it was originally published as “Lubly Fan” in 1844. A favorite of minstrel audiences, its words were easily changed to reflect the location of each performance (e.g. Buffalo Gals, Charleston Gals, Mobile Gals, etc.). The song was popular through the war.

A symbol of secession, the “Bonnie Blue Flag” was an unofficial flag of the Confederate States of America. It was especially popular during the war’s early years. The song by the same name combined lyrics written in 1861 by Harry McCarthy with the tune “The Irish Jaunting Car.”

Battle of Manassas * Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins * African-Americans during the Civil War * Civil War Music

Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1861 after visiting a Union army camp. Utilizing the already popular abolitionist tune, “John Brown’s Body,” the Battle Hymn quickly became a rallying cry and the most popular song of the war in the North.

Battle Cry of Freedom by George F. Root * Civil War Lyrics * Civil War Music

In 1835, South Carolinian William Walker combined lyrics written in the 1770s by John Newton with a popular tune called “New Britain.”  The result was the most popular American hymn of the Civil War era and of all-time.

In 1835, South Carolinian William Walker combined lyrics written in the 1770s by John Newton with a popular tune called “New Britain.” The result was the most popular American hymn of the Civil War era and of all-time.