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Collection of Civil War Popular Songs

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Sheet of lyrics to 'Bowld Sojer Boy' The Civil War remains musically unique in American history, producing more popular songs than any other war to date. Civil War songs covered a wide range of topics and were used for a variety of purposes. In the military, songs were used to provide signals, commemorate specific generals or battles, boost morale and alleviate boredom. In the civilian world, songs had the role of garnering support for troops and the war effort as well as being used as a recruiting tool. Songs also expressed the widespread emotions caused by the war, though always with an undercurrent of patriotism to the cause. Songs covered such topics as notable battles and commanding officers, the travails of a soldier's life and his conflicting wants for home, the glory of the battle field, and the feelings of those left at home mourning the loss of a soldier yet proud they died serving their country. The emancipation of the slaves is also a song topic. Many Civil War songs were recycled songs already in use, with words either modified or with an entirely new set of lyrics set to a known tune such as church hymns, negro spirituals, or favorites from minstrel shows. Well known poems were also taken and set to music. The Civil War also saw its fair share of original compositions.

Our collection contains approximately 100 lyric sheets, almost all of them certainly from the Civil War. Some have printed illustrations and a few have touches of color printing. Of the songs regarding the Civil War, we have such well-known songs as "The Battle Cry of Freedom," quite possibly the most popular war song of that era, "Rally 'Round the Flag," and "The Girl I Left Behind Me." All are Union songs, and many, such as "Keystone Brigade," "Give Me a Noble Fellow with a Bucktail in His Hat" and "The Pennsylvanian Battle Cry" are written specifically about Pennsylvania's own war effort, where many of these songs were published. The collection also contains "The Old Contraband," a song written in slave dialect.

Some of the tunes to go with the lyrics can be found in the MIDI files compiled by Benjamin Robert Tubb at Public Domain Music.

Union Civil War Ballads

  • "After the Battle, Mother." Philadelphia: J. H. Johnson. (Flip side: "Just Before the Battle, Mother")
  • "The American Boy." New York: J. Andrews. (*)
  • "Ballad of the Great Fight, Between the Union Eagle and the Old Rooster" by Jeff. Davis. Pennsylvania: c1847.
  • "Battle Cry of Freedom, or, We'll Rally Round the Flag, Boys." Philadelphia: Johnson. (Flip side: "Grafted into the Army")
  • "Battle of Bull-Run." New York: H. Demarsan.
  • "Battle of Bull Run." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "The Battle of the Wilderness" by James D. Gay. Philadelphia: James D. Gay, c1864.
  • "Be My Mother Till I Die" by Elmer Ruan Coates. Philadelphia: Sep. Winner's Music Store.
  • Bob Anderson. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "Bonnie Blue Flag." Philadelphia: J. H. Johnson. (The North's paraphrase of this song of the South.)
  • "The Bounty-Jumper No. 2." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner. (Parody of "Just Before the Battle, Mother.")
  • "Bowld Sojer Boy" by Samuel Lover. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "Brave Boys Are They." Chicago: H. M. Higgins.
  • "Carry the New to Mary! We Are All Surrounded!" by Charles Howard. Philadelphia: Johnson. (*)
  • "Col. Owen's Gallant Irish Volunteers" by Arthur McFadden.
  • "Columbia Rules the Sea." New York: H. De Marsan. (*)
  • "Columbia's Glorious Banner" by William Sutherland. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "Contraband's Song of Freedom" by Eastburn. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "Death of Colonel Baker" by William Sutherland.
  • "Dixie's Sunny Land, or, the Cruelty to Our Union Prisoners." Philadelphia: A.W. Auner.
  • "E Pluribus Unum" by John Pierpoint. Philadelphia: Johnson. (*)
  • "Ellsworth Avengers." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "Faded Coat of Blue." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • Final Victory" by A. Anderson. Philadelphia: A. Anderson.
  • "Flag of Fort Sumter." Philadelphia: Auner.
  • "Flag of Our Union Forever" by General George P. Morris. Philadelphia: Johnson.
  • "Flag of the Free." Philadelphia: Johnson.
  • "The Flag With the Thirty Four Stars."
  • "Freedom's Altar." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "General Logan, and the Fifteenth Army Corps" by R. W. Burt.
  • "General Siegel's Celebrated Camp Song" by J. P. Morris. Philadelphia: D. A. Warden.
  • "The Girl I Left Behind Me" by John L. Zieber. Philadelphia, J. H. Johnson. 2 edns.
  • "Give Me a Noble Fellow With a Bucktail in His Hat" by Harriet L. Castle. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "Good Ship Cumberland." Philadelphia: Johnson.
  • "Grafted Into the Army" by Henry C. Work. Philadelphia: Johnson. (Flip side: "With Battle Cry of Freedom")
  • "Happy Land of Canaan." Philadelphia: Walter Warren.
  • "The Hearty Welcome Home" by Eastburn. Philadelphia: Wm. R. Smith [1865].
  • "Hoist up the Flag" by Billy Holmes. Philadelphia: J. H. Johnson. (New)
  • "I Loved that Dear Old Flag the Best!" by Ednor Rossiter. Philadelphia: Lee & Walker.
  • "Johnny is Gone for a Soldier." Philadelphia: J. H. Johnson. (*)
  • "Just Before the Battle, Mother" by George F. Root. [Philadelphia] J. L. Becker. (Flip side: "After the Battle, Mother")
  • "Kearsarge and Alabama" by Silas W. Steel.
  • "Keystone Brigade" by James D. Gay. Philadelphia.
  • "Last of the 'Alabama'." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "Lookout Mountain" by John M. Valleau. Philadelphia: Johnson.
  • "Marching Along, No. 1" by William B. Bradburg. New York: Chas. Magnus. (Flip side: "Seven Days Fight")
  • "Michigan, My Michigan." Washington, D.C.: W. Koch. (With poems: "Robin's Nest" by Mrs. Robert J. Burdette, "The Mournful Bird" by Lydia F. Hinman, "When We are Old and Gray" by F. E. Weatherly, & "Margery Daw")
  • "Mother, is the Battle Over." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "Mother's Waiting for Her Soldier Boy." Philadelphia: Johnson.
  • "The Old Contraband" by John L. Zieber. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner [c1865].
  • "On! On! On! The Boys Came Marching! or, The Prisoner Free!" by Geo. F. Root. Philadelphia: Johnson.
  • "On! On! On! The Boys Came Marching!" (different edition)
  • "Our Battle-Flag" by Edward Willett.
  • "Our Flag is There." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "Our Gallant Colonel" by John Doherty. Philadelphia: Johnson.
  • "Our Yankee Generals." Philadelphia.
  • "The Pennsylvanian Battle Cry!" by T. A'Becket. Philadelphia: J. H. Johnson, c1861.
  • "The Pennsylvanian Battle Cry!" (5th edn.) by T. A'Becket. Philadelphia: J. H. Johnson
  • "Prisoner's Hope. Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!" by George F. Root. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "The Prisoner's Release, or, The Dear Old Flag Has Come." Philadelphia: Johnson, c1865. 2 edns.
  • "Rally Round the Flag Boys."
  • "Rally Around the Good Old Flag" by John Dyer. Philadelphia: Johnson.
  • "The Reveille." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner, c1862.
  • "Richmond Falls: The War is O'er" by O. Wheelock. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner, c1865.
  • "Ring, Merry Bells! or, The Union Victory" by M. L. Hofford. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner, c1862.
  • "Seven Days Fight" by James Smith. Philadelphia: Johnson. (Flip side: "Marching Along")
  • "Sherman's Bonny Boys in Blue" by H. Angelo. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner, c1865.
  • "Since I've Been in the Army." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "Soldier's Funeral." Philadelphia: J. H. Johnson. (*)
  • "Soldier's Sister" by J. Dyer. Philadelphia: J. H. Johnson. 2 edns (same as "To the Soldier's Sister")
  • "Stand by the Flag." Philadelphia: Johnson.
  • "Star-Spangled Banner! of 1861." Philadelphia: Stephens & Co., c1861.
  • "Their Trophies" by A. Anderson. Philadelphia: c1864.
  • "There's a Sound Among the Forest Trees" by Fanny Crosby. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner, c1861.
  • "They Are Coming from the Wars" by Eugene H. Munday. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner, c.1865.
  • "Those Seventy Men - A Tale of the Times" by Sarah H. Bradford. New York: Offices of the Rebellion Record.
  • "To the Soldier's Sister" (see: "Soldier's Sister")
  • "The Triumph of the Old Flag, or, Our Flag O'er Richmond Waves Again!" by Eastburn. Philadelphia: W. R. Smith.
  • "Uncle Sam's Boys" by H. Angelo.
  • "Up With the Flag, Long May It Wave."
  • "Victory at Last" by Mrs. M. A. Kidder. New York: Wm. B. Bradbury, c1865.
  • "Volunteers' Song." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "We are for the Union" as sung by our volunteers.
  • "We are for the Union" revised and printed expressedly for the public schools. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "We Will Have the Union Still" by Robert Smith. Philadelphia: A. W. Auner.
  • "We're Marching Along." (same as "Marching Along")
  • "When Sherman Marched Down to the Sea."
  • "When the Boys Come Marching Home" by A. Anderson. Philadelphia: A. Anderson, c1864.
  • "When You and I Were Soldier Boys." Philadelphia: J. H. Johnson.
  • "White Stars!" by W. H. P. [Philadelphia:] Johnson.
  • "Wont We be a Happy People When this War is Over."
  • "Yankee Boys So Handy, O!" by Stoopofero. Philadelphia: Johnson.

Not Civil War

  • "(Union) Root Hog or Die!" by Wattie Rusher. Philadelphia: Walter Warren. (pre-Civil War)
  • "How are You, Maximillian? or, Off for Mexico." Philadelphia: A. W. Auner, c1865.
  • "The Soldier's Chorus" [from Faust].

Revised by Hannah Spencer and Ed Vermue, January 2007

Last updated:
August 25, 2012