Monitor and Merrimac
DESCRIPTION: "I'm going to sing a song, I won't detain you long.... The Monitor went smak up to the Merrimac, And upon her sides played Yankee Doodle Dandy, O." The singer taunts Jeff Davis with the success of the Monitor, which he offers as evidence of Yankee skill
EARLIEST DATE: 2008 (Cohen); 19C (Wolf)
KEYWORDS: Civilwar battle ship
March 8, 1862 - U.S. frigates Congress and Cumberland sunk by the CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack). The Minnesota runs aground; had not the Monitor arrived the next day, the Merrimac would have sunk that ship also
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Cohen-AFS1, pp. 195-196, "Monitor and Merrimac" (1 text)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #1453, p. 98, "Monitor and Merrimac" (9 references)
cf. "Yankee Doodle" (tune) and references there
NOTES [93 words]: For background on the Monitor and the Virginia/Merrimac, see the notes to "The Cumberland Crew" [Laws A18].
Although there is little evidence of this song entering tradition, it was popular in print; Edwin Wolf 2nd, American Song Sheets, Slip Ballads, and Political Broadsides 1850-1870, Library Company of Philadelphia, 1963, p. 98, lists nine different broadside prints, which surely dates it to the 1860s.
The listed tune is "Yankee Doodle," but it really feels like it should be sung to "Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel" or one of its relatives. - RBW
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