Jeff in Petticoats
DESCRIPTION: Jefferson Davis realizes he is in danger of capture by Union troops, and decides to dress in women's clothes to escape. The Union troops scorn him, saying, "Oh! Jeffy D. You 'flow'r of chivalree... Your empire's but a tinclad skirt...."
AUTHOR: Words: George Cooper / Music: Henry Tucker
EARLIEST DATE: 1865 (sheet music published by William Pond, according to Silber-SongsOfTheCivilWar)
KEYWORDS: cross-dressing disguise escape Civilwar
April 2, 1865 - Robert E. Lee evacuates Richmond. The Confederate government flees
April 8, 1865 - Lee's surrender
May 10, 1865 - Capture of Jefferson Davis
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Silber-SongsOfTheCivilWar, pp. 343-345, "Jeff in Petticoats" (1 text, 1 tune)
Wolf-AmericanSongSheets, #1100, p. 75, "Jeff in Petticoats" (1 references)
Messerli-ListenToTheMockingbird, pp. 151-154, "Jeff in Petticoats" (1 text)
Gilbert-LostChords, pp. 11-12, "Jeff in Petticoats" (1 partial text)
NOTES [132 words]: According to Jefferson Davis's account, he was wearing a shawl his wife had given him for warmth when he was captured. Union troops claimed he was trying to disguise himself as a woman. Although Davis's account is likely true, sarcastic Unionist songwriters could hardly leave it at that.
The notes in Silber-SongsOfTheCivilWar say the words to this are by Henry Tucker and the words by George Cooper, but the sheet music I have seen reverses that -- and Cooper was a lyricist and Tucker a composer, so I'm quite sure the sheet music is right.
This song was not a great success, as far as I can tell, but in 1869, Tucker and Cooper (who had started his career penning words for Stephen Foster, without writing anything any good) produced "Sweet Genevieve," which was a distinct success. - RBW
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