Southern Wagon, The (Union)
DESCRIPTION: "Jeff Davis built a wagon and on it put his name, And Beauregard was driver of Secession's ugly (frame/fame)." The song details the slow but steady progress of the Union forces.
EARLIEST DATE: 1909 (Belden), but see NOTES
KEYWORDS: Civilwar parody
July 21, 1862 - First Battle of Bull Run. Mentioned out of order in Belden's version, but Lincoln and General Winfield Scott appointed George B. McClellan commander of the Army of the Potomac the day after the battle ("they put in all new spokes")
Sep 4, 1861 - Occupation of Columbus, Kentucky by forces under Leonidas K. Polk ("Bishop Polk"). Kentucky had tried to declare neutrality; both sides prepared to occupy it once the neutrality was broken. Polk went in first, but the Union had more forces in the area, and gained the bulk of the state. And Polk's invasion helped push the legislature to declare for the Union
Jan 19, 1862 - Battle of Logan Cross Roads (also called Mill Springs, as in the song). A small battle by later standards, but the first major union victory of the war. Federal forces under George H. Thomas beat forces under Zollicoffer, securing much of Kentucky and opening a path into Tennessee
Feb 16, 1862 - Ulysses S. Grant captures Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. This, combined with his capture of Fort Henry on the Tennessee (Feb. 6) blows a hole in the Confederate position in Kentucky and forces Confederate commander Albert Sidney Johnston to evacuate Bowling Green. This was the famous "Unconditional Surrender" incident: After the two senior officers at Donelson fled, the #3, Simon Bolivar Buckner, bit the bullet and accepted Grant's unconditional terms
Apr 25, 1862 - Union forces under Farragut capture New Orleans
Jun 6, 1862 - Naval battle of Memphis clears the path for Union occupation of that city
FOUND IN: US(Ap)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Belden, pp. 364-366, "The Southern Wagon" (1 text)
JHCox 70, "Jeff Davis" (1 fragmentary text)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #2219, p. 149, "Southern Wagon" (8 references)
cf. Gardner/Chickering, p. 482, "The Southern Wagon" (source notes only)
cf. "Wait for the Wagon" (tune) and references there.
cf. "The Southern Wagon (Confederate)"
NOTES: Cox lists this as a parody of the "favorite Confederate song" "The Southern Wagon." A Confederate song it may be, but hardly a favorite; I've found no evidence of traditional versions, and the single stanza Cox quotes seems to be the only traditional portion of the parody.
What is interesting is that Belden, too, has the *union* form, and a full version.
Possibly Cox is thinking of another wagon song, "The Old Union Wagon" ("The eagle of Columbia, in majesty and pride"), which was extremely popular in broadsides; Edwin Wolf 2nd, American Song Sheets, Slip Ballads, and Political Broadsides 1850-1870, Library Company of Philadelphia, 1963, pp. 116-117, lists nine broadside publications.
This song too was very popular in broadsides; Wolf on p. 149 lists eight broadsides, one of them saying it was sung by the popular vocalist Tony Pastor, who may well have put it into wide circulation. Several of the broadsides call it "The Secession Wagon." - RBW
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