- Why do you use the term "War Between the States" instead of "Civil War"?
- May I print out your poems/songs for my own personal use?
- How about your MIDI files?
- May I link to your page?
- Where can I find more information about the poems/songs on your page?
- Your MIDI files won't play on my computer. Can you help me?
- Can you tell me how to put MIDI files on my Web site?
- Why don't you have sheet music on your site? I'd really like to be able to play some of these songs myself.
- I'd like to able to download your lyrics, MIDI files, and pictures for my own use. Why isn't your Web site set up to facilitate that?
- Where can I find recordings of War Between the States music?
- What's that haunting tune that plays on your main page?
- Why isn't the Sullivan Ballou letter on your site?
- I like your backgrounds/ graphics. May I use some of them on my Web page?
- I've got a Civil War poem/song. Would you put it on your page?
- Why don't you have more about genealogy/ uniforms/ women/ battles/ generals/ soldier life/ reenacting/ World War I/ World War II/ reenactment schedules, etc.?
- I'm trying to find an ancestor who served in the War Between the States. Can you help me?
- Why aren't there any slave songs on this site?
- I remember my grandmother used to recite a particular poem/sing a certain song to me when I was growing up. Can you help me find it?
- I've written several times and asked you a specific question. Why haven't you answered me?
- I've signed your guestbook, but my entry hasn't shown up. How come?
- I've got to write a paper/do a project on such-and-such a topic. Please send me everything you know.
- 1. Why do you use the term "War Between the States" instead of "Civil War"?
- Lots of reasons but primarily because I'm a proud member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and we believe that it's a more accurate name for the conflict (see "Let's Say 'War Between the States'").
Please don't send me e-mail telling me why I'm wrong. One of the nice things about running your own Web site is you get to name it. [TOP]
- 2. May I print out your poems/songs for my own personal use?
- Yes, you may. All the poems and songs presented on this Web site (with the exception of those submitted by the descendants of soldiers who fought in the War Between the States) are in the public domain and may be used freely. It's not even necessary to acknowledge this Web site as the source (although credit is always nice). By all means, use them in your newsletter, your classroom, or your report or at your UDC/ SCV/ SUVCW/ CWRT meeting. That's what they're here for.
You may also copy any of the poems and songs for use on your Web page without attribution. If, however, you wish to reproduce verbatim any of the commentary that accompanies them, permission must be sought and proper acknowledgment given. These commentaries represent the fruits of my research and may not be used without attribution. [TOP]
- 3. How about your MIDI files?
- You may use the MIDI files that are owned by this Web site provided you (a) write and ask permission first and (b) give credit in the following format:
©<A HREF="http://civilwarpoetry.org/">Poetry and Music of the War Between the States</A>
All rights reserved. May not be used without permission.
As a courtesy, you should include the name of the MIDI file maker as well.
For permission to use MIDI files that are the property of other people, please contact the file owner directly. I have included an e-mail address in the credit line for each MIDI file that I do not own. If no credit is given, then you may assume that the MIDI file is in the public domain and can be used without attribution.
The MIDI file of Ashokan Farewell that plays on the main page may not be used under any circumstances. It's the signature tune for my page, and I'd like to keep it that way.
Making MIDI files is a skill that requires both musical talent and computer proficiency. Please respect the hard work of the many fine musicians who have created the MIDI files used on this site and give credit where credit is due. If I find one of my MIDI files on your site without proper acknowledgment, I WILL notify your ISP. Copyrights are as enforceable on the Web as they are any place else, and violations will not be ignored.
A final note: I reserve the right to refuse you permission to use my MIDI files. An explanation may or may not be given. [TOP]
- 4. May I link to your page?
- Yes, of course. No specific permission is needed.
- 5. Where can I find more information about the poems/songs on your page?
- You can find it right here. If I have background information about a particular piece or author/composer (and I usually do), I've included it. You can access that information by clicking on any hot-linked poem/song title or author/composer name. The absence of a hot link indicates that I have no additional information. [TOP]
- 6. Your MIDI files won't play on my computer. Can you help me?
- Not easily. I don't know what browser you're running (or what version), and I don't know what sort of computer set-up you have. Do you have a sound card? Do you have the proper plug-ins? You might try asking the tech support people at your ISP; they answer questions like this all day every day and will probably be much more helpful than I could ever hope to be.
If you know your browser is configured properly because you can play other MIDI files, you might try quitting the program and restarting it. Or rebooting your system altogether. Browsers are notorious for not conforming to any known rules of logic.
If your browser used to play MIDI files but suddenly stopped, consider the possibility that something has become corrupted and may need to be reinstalled. [TOP]
- 7. Can you tell me how to put MIDI files on my Web site?
- I could, but you'd be better off either looking at the source code or using a good HTML book or program. [TOP]
- 8. Why don't you have sheet music on your site? I'd really like to be able to play some of these songs myself.
- Sheet music has to be scanned and placed on the Web in image format. I don't have enough Web space to accommodate even a few scores. There is, however, a site on the Web that has done just exactly that. Please visit Johns Hopkins University's Lester S. Levy Collection at
War Between the States era music can be found in Boxes 87 through 97. Even if you're not a musician, the site is fascinating and well worth a visit.
Another similar depository is maintained by Duke University and can be visited at
If you're interested in purchasing sheet music, your local music store may be able to order it for you. Or you may wish to invest in one of the following books:
- Songs of the Civil War, compiled and edited by Irwin Silber (Dover Publications, 31 East 2nd Street, Mineola, NY 11501) - ISBN 0-486-28438-7 - $14.95
- Singing Soldiers, by Paul Glass and Louis C. Singer (Da Capo Press, 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013) - ISBN 0-306-80021-7 - $14.95
- Ballads and Songs of the Civil War, by Jerry Silverman (Mel Bay Publications, 4 Industrial Drive, Pacific, MO 63069-0066 ; 1-800-8-MEL-BAY, FAX 314/257-5062) - ISBN 1-56222-581-2 - $19.95
- Rousing Songs & True Tales of the Civil War, by Wayne Erbsen (available from Native Ground Music at http://www.nativeground.com/civilwar.asp) - $5.95.
All contain musical arrangements (although not original scores) for guitar and piano as well as interesting background information on the songs.
If fifing is your special interest (and judging from the mail I get, there are a lot of fifers and fifer wanabees out there), have I got a book for you! Period performance musician Mark Gowman has compiled The Civil War Fifer, "one of the finest and most complete collections of original lyrics and music of the Civil War in existence today." Contact Mark at:
- P.O. Box 47065, Baltimore, MD 21244
- Phone (410) 277-3924
- Fax (410) 277-3924
- E mail email@example.com
for information on how to acquire this invaluable resource. [TOP]
- 9. I'd like to able to download your lyrics, MIDI files, and pictures for my own use. Why isn't your Web site set up to facilitate that?
- If you know how to use your Web browser (and I mean really use it), you can do all of these things. Please don't write and ask me to tell you how, though; figuring that out is up to you. And when you do figure it out, remember that copyright and fair use restrictions apply even on the Web (see questions 2 and 3 above). [TOP]
- 10. Where can I find recordings of War Between the States music?
- Visit A Few Good Recordings on this Web site at:
- 11. What's that haunting tune that plays on your main page?
- That's Ashokan Farewell, written in 1982 by noted fiddler and composer Jay Ungar. Ken Burns used it as the theme music for his PBS series on the War Between the States. Despite what you may have heard, it was NOT written during the War, and it does NOT have lyrics. For more information about the song, please consult Jay's Ashokan Farewell page, which can be found at:
To those of you who think I'm perpetuating the myth that Ashokan Farewell was a War-era song by using it on my main page, all I can say is "I'm sorry." I chose it deliberately because it has no partisan connotations. I know that there are other period songs not strongly identified with one side or the other, but Ashokan Farewell's exposure on the PBS series has forever linked it in the public consciousness with the War -- and I freely admit that I'm taking advantage of that identification. One of the purposes of this page is to educate visitors; hopefully, anyone who thought the song dated back to the War will know otherwise by the time he/she leaves here.
I've been told by at least one individual that my use of this song compromises the intellectual integrity and educational value of my site. In her own words, my information "must, by association, be not really related to the conflict -- except by 20th Century (21st Century?) feel-good emotionalism, and not fact. As such, in my view, its effectiveness as a tool of education is very limited." The number of students and educators who've visited this site over the years and the many uses they've made of the material presented herein would seem to indicate otherwise, but then everyone's entitled to his/her own opinion. [TOP]
- 12. Why isn't the Sullivan Ballou letter on your site?
- Because, lyrical as it is, it's not poetry and really doesn't belong here. But if you'd like a copy, here it is:
- 13. I like your backgrounds/ graphics. May I use some of them on my Web page?
- With two exceptions, yes -- and then only if you're willing to ask permission first and give proper acknowledgment.
The exceptions? You may not use the white embossed double-flag background that appears on this page (and throughout the site), nor may you use the image of the fifer that appears on the Confederate songs page. That fifer is my daughter at the age of 12, and I'm the only one who gets to exploit her likeness. [TOP]
- 14. I've got a Civil War poem/song. Would you put it on your page?
- That all depends. If you wrote it, probably not. It may be a great piece, but I'm only interested in poems and songs that were written by people who lived through the War and its aftermath. Yes, you can find exceptions to that rule on this page (there are several mid- to late-20th century selections on the site), but I had my reasons for including them.
If, however, you're talking about a poem or song that was written by someone who fought in the War Between the States and has been handed down in your family or found in a period diary, I'd love to put it on the page. Some of the most touching pieces of poetry on this Web site have come from descendants of soldiers who have been kind enough to share their family treasures with me.
Submission of period poems and /or songs from other sources (published books and/or magazines, old newspapers, journals, what have you) is also encouraged. However (and it's a big "however"), please be sure that what you send can be documented. Establishing the source of a period poem or song is of the utmost importance. Who wrote it, where and when it was published (either originally or subsequently), and which side's views it represents are just a few of the things that are vital to any informed examination of the poetry and music of the period.
There are a lot of marvelous pieces out there just waiting to be discovered, and I'd be more than happy to have your help in making this site as complete as possible. [TOP]
- 15. Why don't you have more about genealogy/ uniforms/ women/ battles/ generals/ soldier life/ reenacting/ World War I/ World War II/ reenactment schedules, etc.?
- Because this site is about the poetry and music of the War Between the States, that's why. It's not about genealogy or reenacting or battles or anything else. If you read the background notes that accompany almost every poem and song , you'll find a good deal of information about many of these topics -- but, as the title of the site suggests, they're not my primary focus. Rather than trying to cover many aspects of the War inadequately, I've chosen to concentrate on just two and cover them as exhaustively as possible.
Just about every facet of the conflict is covered somewhere on the Web, though. I used to maintain a list of links to some of the better, more reliable sites but finally gave up. Trying to keep track of sites as they move from server to server or as they (regrettably, in some cases) go offline or otherwise disappear is more trouble than it's worth. For a list of links to be of any value, it must be current. No list is better than a useless list.
- 16. I'm trying to find an ancestor who served in the War Between the States. Can you help me?
- Try the National Archives and Records Administration genealogical research Web site at:
You might also try visiting official State Web sites, which often have links to service-record databases. [TOP]
- 17. Why aren't there any slave songs on this site?
- Two reasons. One, most of the ones I've located don't have any direct bearing on the War. Two, creating a new section requires a great deal of time and effort. If I'm going to do it (and I fully intend to do it), I'm going to to it right -- I'm not going to put something together in haste and throw it on the Web just to quiet the folks who think that I'm ignoring the plight of slaves in Southern society. [TOP]
- 18. I remember my grandmother used to recite a particular poem/sing a certain song to me when I was growing up. Can you help me find it?
- I can try, if you'll give me something to go on. Before you ask, though, check the author, first line, and title indexes. You may be able to find what you're looking for there. If not, then by all means, ask me. I can't promise anything, but I've probably got more references to look through than you do and may be able to help you out.
Keep in mind, though, that not every poem or song about the War dates back to that narrowly defined period of time. The early part of this century and the years leading up to the centennial of the War in the 1960's saw a deluge of literary works about the conflict. If the particular piece you're remembering is the product of those later times, I may not have the information you're seeking.
By the way, the poem "Two Little Boys" is NOT a period piece. It was popularized by Australian entertainer Rolf Harris, who first heard it from Canberra native Ted Egan in the late 1960s. According to The Rolf Harris Pages at http://www.rich.durge.org/rolf/, "In 1969, during a tour of Arnhem Land with his wife and daughter, Rolf briefly stayed with a man called Ted Egan. Ted sung him this song, which Rolf recorded on tape. When he got back to England and talked his television producer into using the song, Rolf discovered he had lost the tape! Rolf rang Ted, twelve thousand miles away in Canberra, and got him to sing the song over the phone. Alan Braden arranged the song for the TV show, and the audience reaction was so marvellous that Rolf decided to record it. This song was top of the hit parade for seven weeks over Christmas 1969."
Although The Rolf Harris Pages thus assume that Egan was the author of the song and that it was Australian in origin, Philp Baldwin of Somerset, U.K., writes that he owns original sheet music of "Two Little Boys" with a copyright date of 1903 by Howley, Havilland and Dresser (New York). This same piece of sheet music attributes the lyrics to Edward Madden and the melody to Theodore F. Morse. Another writer indicates that the song was recorded in 1903 by Billy Murray.
This information casts doubt on another popular assumption about the song -- that it might have been written to honor the memory of a pair of Australian brothers who fought in the Great War [1914-1918].
Whatever else can or can't be said about the song, it's fairly safe to assume that it did not originate during and was not written about the War Between the States.
If you want it anyway, here it is:
- 19. I've written several times and asked you a specific question. Why haven't you answered me?
- If your question was one that's covered in this FAQ, then that's why. Site owners compile FAQs so they won't have to answer the same questions over and over again -- and so that visitors won't have to wait for a response. If your question wasn't covered in the FAQ, then I haven't answered it because I either don't have the information you're looking for or because I haven't had time to respond yet. This Web site generates a lot of mail, and much of it has to take a back seat to my 40-hour-a-week job, my family, and my other organizational commitments. The site is also a one-woman show; there's no staff to help me out, so if I don't do it, it doesn't get done. Sometimes it just doesn't get done.
Then again, you may have forgotten to give me your e-mail address. My guestbook server does not record e-mail addresses, so if you sent your question through the guestbook and didn't include your e-mail address, then I don't have it. And if I don't have it, I can't get back to you with the information you're looking for.
Please know that I do read each and every piece of mail that comes in and appreciate it all very much, especially the brickbats. Constructive criticism has made this site what it is today. [TOP]
- 20. I've signed your guestbook, but my entry hasn't shown up. How come?
- Because my guestbook no longer appears online. Although I read each and every entry (usually within an hour or two of its submission), I finally realized that I'm probably the only one who does. With server space being at such a premium, there's no point in wasting any of it on what's essentially an exercise in vanity for me. Please know, though, that all criticisms and compliments are read, evaluated, and much appreciated.[TOP]
- 21. I've got to write a paper/do a project on such-and-such a topic. Please send me everything you know.
- Everything I know is already on the site. All you have to do is find it and interpret it. I did my homework when I was in school, and I have neither the time nor the desire to do any more. Please don't interpet this as rudeness on my part or a lack of concern for your grade; it's just self-preservation. If I responded to every such request that came into this site, I'd be doing nothing else.
One word of caution is in order here. Don't make the mistake of thinking everything you need to know can be found on this site...or even on the Web. There's a wealth of information just waiting for you at your local library or bookstore. If, however, you prefer to do your research in cyberspace, the following Web sites are excellent sources for books, both old and new:
Sure, it's easier to sit in your computer chair and click your mouse button now and again, but you'll miss out on the joy that only a book can bring. Where, after all, do you think I got all this information in the first place? [TOP]
- Cincinnati Civil War Round Table Online Bookstore (http://www.cincinnaticwrt.org/book_main.html)
- Ed O'Dwyer's excellent Shamrock Hill Books (http://www.bookguy.com/)
- Amazon Books (http://www.amazon.com/)
- Barnes and Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/)
- Morningside Books (http://www.morningsidebooks.com/) (reprints a specialty)
- Broadfoot Publishing Company (http://www.broadfootpublishing.com/)
- TomFolio (http://www.tomfolio.com/)
(rare and used books)
- BookFinder (http://www.bookfinder.com/) (rare or used books)
- Alibris (http://www.alibris.com/) (books you thought you'd never find)
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