This Day (The Battle of Bull Run)
DESCRIPTION: "This day will be remembered by America's noble sons! / If it hadn't been for Irishmen, what would our Union done? / It was hand to hand we fought 'em, all in the blazing sun, / Stripped to the pants we did advance in the battle of Bull Run."
EARLIEST DATE: 1941 (Warner)
KEYWORDS: Civilwar battle
July 21, 1861 - First Battle of Bull Run
FOUND IN: US(MA)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Warner 25, "This Day (or, The Battle of Bull Run)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner-Eastern, p. 29, "The Battle of Bull Run" (1 excerpt)
NOTES: We can only assume this song refers to the First Battle of Bull Run; presumably, had the second (fought Aug. 29-30, 1862) been meant, the song would say so.
It's hard to imagine what the Unionists were boasting of in this song. The First Battle of Bull Run was a fairly closely-fought fight, but ended with the complete rout of the Union forces. Federal commander Irvin McDowell, whose army was composed mostly of ninety-day volunteers (!), was pressured by Washington to do something before the enlistments ran out. He had no choice but to push his raw army forward. The Confederate troops were equally raw, but were on the defensive, and held off the Federals. The Union army then went completely to pieces -- but the Confederates, their forces just as badly off as the Federals, could not pursue.
According to Jonatha Lighter, the tune for this (sung by Yankee John Galusha, who seems to have been the only one to remember it) is somewhat similar to "The Lindolnshire Poacher." - RBW
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