Civil War Songs
The Civil War was a time of great distress for the United States. It was time when brother fought against brother. It was also a time when the songs were meant to reflect the pain and suffering of the Civil War. These Civil War songs were born out of a generation that saw pain and suffering like the United States had never seen since the American Revolution.
Civil War songs reflected the pain of a nation at war with itself. Each element of the Civil War had their own Civil War songs. The slaves had Civil War songs that expressed the horror of slavery and the desire to be free. Civil War songs of the slaves were born out their heritage and were based on songs brought over on the slave ships many years before. Many of the Civil War songs sung by the slaves were also of a spiritual nature and led to some of the Gospel songs still used today.
The Southern soldiers also had their own Civil War songs which many times were used as marching songs. Civil War songs of the south such as "Eating Goober Peas" were sung as the troops marched up those long dusty roads to whatever fate awaited them. Other Civil war songs such as "God Save the South" were sung as a kind of prayer and a realization that the south may not come out victorious.
Meanwhile the Civil War songs sung by northern soldiers reflected the changing attitudes of what was first the thought of going to war with the south and then the despair as the fears of war are realized. Songs like "Battle Hymn of the Republic" are meant to boost morale while songs such "We are Coming Father Abraham" reflect on the dire mood of the soldiers and the fear of death at any moment.
Civil War songs are as varied as the people who sang them, but they all have
one thing in common: they were meant to convey the mood of the war and
the knowledge that this war would forever change the United States of America.