Dixie and The Battle Cry of Freedom

Since my essay will also be about music, I decided trhat my first blog post will also be about music related to the Civil War. More precisely, two songs, The Battle Cry of Freedom, and Dixie. Both are very interesting, as they are both patriotic songs, and both have a Confederate and a Unionist version.

The Battle Cry of Freedom was written by George F. Root in 1862 as a patriotic song to promote the Union cause. It became immensely popular, and was even used by Lincoln in the 1864 election campaign. The song’s success propted H. L. Schreiner and W. H. Barnes to write a Confederate version of the song.

The Union version goes as follows:

Yes we’ll rally round the flag, boys, we’ll rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
We will rally from the hillside, we’ll gather from the plain,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

(Chorus)
The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitor, up with the star;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

We are springing to the call of our brothers gone before,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we’ll fill our vacant ranks with a million freemen more,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Chorus

We will Beat up our numbers the loyal, true and brave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And although they may be poor, not a man shall be a slave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Chorus

So we’re springing to the call from the East and from the West,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we’ll hurl the rebel crew from the land we love best,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

The Confederate version is, as can be expected is much different. Not only is it different in lyrics, but the song’s tone is less jolly. The lyrics go as this:

Our flag is proudly floating on the land and on the main,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Beneath it oft we’ve conquered, and we’ll conquer oft again!
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!

(Chorus)
Our Dixie forever! She’s never at a loss!
Down with the eagle and up with the cross!
We’ll rally ’round the bonny flag, we’ll rally once again,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!

Our gallant boys have marched to the rolling of the drums.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
And the leaders in charge cry out, “Come, boys, come!”
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!–

Chorus

They have laid down their lives on the bloody battle field.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Their motto is resistance — “To the tyrants never yield!”
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!–

Chorus

While our boys have responded and to the fields have gone.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Our noble women also have aided them at home.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!–

Dixie is a bit more complicated story. First of all, it was originally a Confederate song which was given a Union counterpart. Though it may today seem as a folk song, it was in fact part of a minstrel show. Dixie became so popular, that it is this song that gave the name “Dixie” to the Southern United States. The original minstrel song has many versions of lyrics, but for us the most important is the war song, converted for both Confederate and Union sides. Although the CSA did not have an official national anthem, Dixie is widely regarded as the national anthem of the Confederacy (along with two other songs, “God Save the South” and “The Bonnie Blue Flag”). The CSA version goes like this:

Southern men the thunders mutter!
Northern flags in South winds flutter!
To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!
Send them back your fierce defiance!
Stamp upon the cursed alliance!
To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!

Advance the flag of Dixie! Hurrah! Hurrah!
In Dixie’s land we take our stand, and live or die for Dixie!
To arms! To arms! And conquer peace for Dixie!
To arms! To arms! And conquer peace for Dixie

Fear no danger! Shun no labor!
Lift up rifle, pike, and saber!
To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!
Shoulder pressing close to shoulder,
Let the odds make each heart bolder!
To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!

Advance the flag of Dixie! Hurrah! Hurrah!
In Dixie’s land we take our stand, and live or die for Dixie!
To arms! To arms! And conquer peace for Dixie!
To arms! To arms! And conquer peace for Dixie!

Swear upon your country’s altar
Never to submit or falter–
To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!
Till the spoilers are defeated,
Till the Lord’s work is completed!
To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!

The Union version is sort of a mockery of the Confederate version:

Away down South in the land of traitors,
Rattlesnakes and alligators,
Right away, come away, right away, come away.
Where cotton’s king and men are chattels,
Union boys will win the battles,
Right away, come away, right away, come away.

(Chorus)

Then we’ll all go down to Dixie,
Away, away,
Each Dixie boy must understand
That he must mind his Uncle Sam,
Away, away,
And we’ll all go down to Dixie.
Away, away,
And we’ll all go down to Dixie.

I wish I was in Baltimore,
I’d make Secession traitors roar,
Right away, come away, right away, come away.
We’ll put the traitors all to rout.
I’ll bet my boots we’ll whip them out,
Right away, come away, right away, come away.

(Chorus)

Oh, may our Stars and Stripes still wave
Forever o’er the free and brave,
Right away, come away, right away, come away.
And let our motto ever be –
For Union and for Liberty!”
Right away, come away, right away, come away.

(Chorus)

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