DESCRIPTION: "You are wanted for one hundred days, Be ready in one minute, So General Cowen's order says... Ho, lads, untackle from the plow... To join the Union forces." The singer bids goodbye to family, kisses Mary, and heads off to save the nation
EARLIEST DATE: 1953? (Grimes)
KEYWORDS: soldier farewell Civilwar
FOUND IN: US(MW)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Grimes, p. 38, "Ohio Guards" (1 text)
NOTES: Grimes says this is to the tune of "The Boyne Water," but I very, very strongly suspect that it is really "Brighton Camp/The Girl I Left Behind Me."
According to Grimes, p. 157, "General" Cowen called out the Ohio militia in 1864 to serve as guards and otherwise protect the home front.
There are some minor problems with this account -- starting with the fact that Cowan wasn't a general. Benjamin Rush Cowen was a major, serving as an "additional paymaster." He was eventually made a brevet brigadier general, but that wasn't until March 13, 1865 (Phisterer, p. 293). Brevet rank was not the same as regular rank, and Cowen didn't earn his brevet until later anyway, so if Cowen is meant, this song must have been written well after the event Grimes describes.
On the other hand, there was no other general, Union or Confederate, named Cowen.
There isn't much detailed information about Cowen available. Acording to Boatner, p. 205, he was born in 1831 and was a "journalist, legislator, and merchant." A check of seven other Civil War references failed to reveal any references to him. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.8
- Boatner: Mark M. Boatner III, The Civil War Dictionary, 1959 (there are many editions of this very popular work; mine is a Knopf hardcover)
- Phisterer: Frederick Phisterer, Campaigns of the Civil War: Statistical Record of the Armies of the United States, 1883 (I use the 2002 Castle Books reprint)
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