Irish American Civil War songs : identity, loyalty, and nationhood /

Publication Type:



Louisiana State University Press,, Baton Rouge, United States, p.xiii, 301 pages : (2022)

Call Number:



(OCoLC)fst00978930, (OCoLC)fst01030492, (OCoLC)fst01353732, (OCoLC)fst01425676, 19th century, 19th century., fast, History, Irish American soldiers, Irish American soldiers., Irish American., Irish Americans, Military participation, Music, Music and war., Music.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 269-289) and index.Irish music and songs in mid-nineteenth-century America -- The production of Irish American Civil War songs -- Battlefield balladry -- Lyrical cultural identity -- Fenian sentiments and Irish nationalism sympathies -- Lyrical expressions of wartime politics -- Irish American loyalty and identity in Civil War songs."During the American Civil War, approximately 200,000 Irish-born soldiers and sailors fought for both the Union and, to a much lesser extent, the Confederacy. They were involved in every major engagement. In "Irish American Civil War Songs," Catherine V. Bateson examines songs written by Irish Americans about their experiences in that conflict. Bateson offers an in-depth exploration of the different lyrical articulations, themes, and sentiments of wartime ballads produced in America and across the Atlantic in Ireland and Britain. By analyzing the lyrics-a heavily under-used and under-appreciated source of contemporary feelings and opinions-Bateson's work highlights how wartime song lyrics present historians of ethnic migration, culture, the Irish in America, and the Civil War, and those interested in these topics more broadly, with a new way of understanding Irish migrant and Irish America diaspora views about the conflict. More importantly, her assessment of the ballads demonstrates what that diasporic culture thought about the American Union home that the Irish identified with, fought to defend, and saw as an important marker of their national identities. While historians have written extensively about the Irish American Civil War experience, they have not in any comprehensive way explored how participants used balladry to sing about wartime views, battlefield encounters, political opinions, and virtually every aspect of the war as encountered by the Irish on the frontline and homefront. After placing traditional Irish music and songs more broadly in American culture, Bateson discusses the role of song publication, dissemination and how Irish-born and -descended soldiers shared songs and the practice of singing, to and from the front line through songsters, songbooks, fragments written in letters, newspaper publications, and traditional wartime diaries and accounts. She then explores the core themes and subjects that appeared regularly in those lyrical publications, including battlefield service, Irish military heritage, Irish nationalist sympathies, wartime views, politics-including emancipation, abolition, and the infamous New York City draft riots-and finally, how the dominant theme of America, American loyalty, and American identity came to the fore. Bateson's close reading of these lyrics and consideration of their context, meaning, and place within broader wartime experiences and understandings, helps restore cultural articulations and viewpoints that add to a greater understanding of the Irish contribution to the American Civil War"--