Tenting Tonight

DESCRIPTION: "We're tenting tonight on the old camp ground... Many are the hearts that are weary tonight, wishing for the war to cease... Tenting tonight (x2) Tenting on the old campground" The singer describes how the soldiers are lonely -- and often dying
AUTHOR: Walter Kittredge
EARLIEST DATE: 1864 (sheet music published by Oliver Ditson & Co, Boston)
KEYWORDS: Civilwar battle death home music
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (11 citations):
RJackson-19CPop, pp. 206-209, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-CivWarFull, pp. 181-183, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground"; p. 183, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground, II" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Silber-CivWarAbbr, pp. 50-51, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" (1 text, 1 tune)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #2297, p. 155, "Tenting on the Old Cam Ground" (3 references)
Emerson, pp. 121-122, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" (1 text)
Hill-CivWar, pp. 222-223, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" (1 text)
Arnett, pp. 86-87, "Tenting Tonight" (1 text, 1 tune)
Krythe 10, pp. 150-157, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 348-349, "Tenting Tonight" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 289, "Tenting On The Old Camp Ground" (1 text)
DT, TENTTNT* (TENTTNT2*)

ST RJ19206 (Full)
Roud #14045
RECORDINGS:
Apollo Quartet, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" (Berliner 4264, 1898)
Colonial Quartet, "Tenting Tonight" (Phono-Cut 5097, c. 1913)
Columbia Stellar Quartet, "Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground" (Columbia A1808, 1915)
Haydn Quartet, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" (Victor 119, 1900)
Knickerbocker Quartet, "We're Tenting Tonight" (CYL: Edison [BA] 1881, n.d.)
Mount Vernon Quartet, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" (Columbia 15245-D, 1928)
Peerless Quartet, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" (Zon-O-Phone 892, c. 1908) (Emerson 7160, 1917) (Pathe 40032 [as "Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground"], 1916)
Pete Seeger, "Tenting Tonight" (on PeteSeeger28)
Frank C. Stanley, "Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground" (CYL: Edison 8151, 1902)
Sterling Trio, "Tenting Tonight" (Little Wonder 266, 1915)
Unidentified vocal quartet "Tenting To-night on the Old Camp Ground" (Harvard 514, 1903-1906; prob. rec. 1900; Oxford 11964, c. 1906)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Camp Meeting Tonight On the Old Camp Ground" (derivative)
SAME TUNE:
Camp Meeting Tonight On the Old Camp Ground (File: RcCMTOCG)
Singing on the Old Church Ground (recording, Emmet Brand, on MuSouth06)
"Ridin' Round the Old Bed Ground (John I. White, _Git Along, Little Dogies: Songs and Songmakers of the American West_, 1975 (page references are to the 1989 University of Illinois Press edition), p. 52)
Parody on Tenting on the Old Camp-Ground ("We're drinking, to-night, in the old bar-room," by William H. Hanford") (WolfAmericanSongSheets p. 124)
NOTES: Civil war historian Bruce Catton says that, during the war, this piece was second in popularity only to "When This Cruel War Is Over" among the sad songs. After the war, when the defeatist tone of "Cruel War" made it seem less patriotic, "Tenting Tonight" came to be first in the veterans' hearts.
Walter Kittredge (born 1834) composed this song in 1863 while under the threat of the draft. As it turned out, he was rejected for ill health. Publishers at first rejected the song as not martial enough -- but then it was picked up by the Hutchinson Family, and the rest is history. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.0
File: RJ19206

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