Music And Poetry In The Civil War
Millions of Americans fought and died during the Civil War, and the legacy of the Civil War remains in the poetry and music left behind. Music was used extensively during the Civil War as a means of inspiring loyalty among the troops, and as a source of inspiration and motivation during marching. Poetry was written to encourage unity, to document the experiences of soldiers, and to share women's place in the war.
Bands on both sides would frequently borrow songs and lyrics from the other side, using them as parodies. One such tune was "Dixie", though the song was created some period of time before the Civil War, it gained in popularity during this time. "Dixie" originally tells the story of a freed black slave yearning to return home to the simple life of the plantation, both the North and South however, created their own wartime versions. "The Battle Cry of Freedom" and "Home Sweet Home" also featured both Union and Confederate versions. "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "The Southern Cross," were poems that were later set to music.
Infantry brigades used a drummer to get soldiers up in the morning and to signal lights out. Drummers were also used on the battlefield to give out troop orders. The cavalry brigade relied on bugles to carry out the same duties.
Walt Whitman was an important figure during the Civil War. The poet and journalist traveled during the war volunteering as a nurse and keeping detailed journals. His published works during the time included, "Come up from the Fields Father", "Adieu to a Soldier" and "Beat! Beat! Drums!" the last was a rallying call to the North in support of the war. "A Cry to Arms" by Henry Timrod was also a popular call to war poem, during the era.