Veteran's Song, The
DESCRIPTION: The Union veteran lists all the fights he's fought, and all the wounds he's received, and notes that he consistently gave better than he got. He says "[I] will not sheathe my sword Until from Florida to Maine the Stars and Stripes shall proudly float"
AUTHOR: words: John Ross Dix
EARLIEST DATE: 1864 (broadside copyright)
KEYWORDS: Civilwar soldier injury
July 21, 1861 - First Battle of Bull Run
May 31-June 1, 1862 - Battle of Fair Oaks/Seven Pines
Sept. 17, 1862 - Battle of Antietam
Dec. 13, 1862 - Battle of Fredericksburg
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
BrownIII 392, "The Veteran's Song" (1 text)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #2456, p. 165, "The Veteran's Song" (2 references)
LOCSinging, amss002964, "The Veteran's Song" ("Come gather 'round the Camp-fire -- and till the break of day"), Charles Magnus (New York), 1864
cf. "Old Virginia Low Lands" (tune, according to the broadsides)
NOTES [215 words]: This is unquestionably a composed song, and not about an actual individual. You don't take "a grapeshot in my knee" and walk again thereafter! Nonetheless, this is in the original John Ross Dix poem.
There are other signs of confusion in the song -- e.g. there is a reference, between the mention of Fair Oaks and that of the Peninsula, to service in "Fighting Joe's Brigade" and crossing the Rapidan at Culpeper with Averell. But "Fighting Joe" Hooker never commanded a brigade in combat in the Peninsular campaign; he was already in charge of a division. And while William Woods Averell did lead a rearguard action in the Peninsula, it was during the retreat to the James. The reference to Culpeper is probably an errant reference to the Chancellorsville campaign.
The reference to General Bragg also seems out of place in the story of an Eastern soldier. Nonetheless it too is in the original Dix poem.
The copyright on the Library of Congress broadside is from 1864, but the last event specifically mentioned is the Battle of Fredericksburg in late 1862. I suspect it took author Dix most of a year to sell the thing. I note that he was a fairly prolific songwriter (there are five poems by him in the "Same Tune" references) -- but this is the only item to reach tradition at all. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.5
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.