Old Joe Camp
DESCRIPTION: "Old Joe Camp when he came to town, He enlisted under Captain Brown, Brown swore him on the very first slap, And sent him off to Manassas Gap." Brown rides Joe, who vows to desert, is captured (?), and is "fired back" to Brown
EARLIEST DATE: 1917 (Cox)
KEYWORDS: soldier Civilwar desertion
FOUND IN: US(Ap)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
JHCox 79, "Old Joe Camp" (1 text)
ST JHCox079 (Full)
NOTES [121 words]: Despite the title, the stanza form implies that this is not a version of Old Joe Clark.
Cox's version is badly defective, and there don't seem to be other versions, so it's hard to tell what this is really about, except that it seems to involve an "old soldier" of the Civil War who does his best to avoid work -- and, when that fails, attempts to desert.
The only specific in the song is the reference to Manassas Gap; this is not enough even to allow speculation about the source of the song.
It was quite common, in the Civil War, for a well-to-do or well-connected man to volunteer to raise a company (or even a regiment), and become its commander as a result. It would seem that Brown was just such a company commander. - RBW
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