McClellanist minstrels, 1 of 2

SUNDAY | Well, I'm a day late with McClellan poetry but have some bonus music to atone for this.

Minstrel shows were a kind of variety program rather like the English music hall bills that persisted into the mid-20th Century ... except that they were themed to black plantation life. There were black and white minstrel companies, resident and touring, and their musical legacy is fairly obscure nowadays.

As we have "hits" from Bradway shows, Civil war soldiers enjoyed "hits" from minstrel shows. One of these was "Whack, Row De Dow!; or, A Hunkey Boy Is Yankee Doodle" [whatever that means - DR]. This is the 1861 version "Sung with immense success by Bryant's Minstrels also by Mrs. John Wood. Words written for Dan Bryant, Esq. by Miss Fanny Herring."

You could write a little book on this credit line. Herring was a famous actress who seems to have favored McClellan, as we'll see next week. Here's a tiny picture of her on a CDV.

Dan Bryant headed Bryant's Minstrels, a black-face minstrel group that played in New York's Mechanics Hall from 1857-1866. One of the company's minstrels was Dan Emmett, the writer of "Turkey in the Straw", "Old Dan Tucker" and "Dixie."

To hear the music, scroll down one third of the way on *this page* and click. It's quite a peppy march. Here are the lyrics and please pardon my doo-dah tendencies today.

Good people all, both great and small,
Come listen to my song,
If you've got a little time to spare,
I won't detain you long;
'Tis of our Flag, our Nation's brag,
Our Union and our Constitution,
For the Stars and Stripes must wave
'Till the day of resurection, with a
Whack! row, de dow,
The Stars and Stripes must wave forever,

Down South there's Gen'ral Beuregard,
With his bully little crew,
Who says he'll make us Northern folks
Nip up de doo den doo;
But we guess as how the rebel rout
Had better mind what they're about,
For they'll find that Gen'ral McClellan
Will be ready for a fight to give 'em
Whack! row, de dow,
How are you Gen'ral Boegum?
Whack row de dow,
Nip up de doo den doo.

Now there's our gallant Sixty-ninth,
Who never flinch for trifles,
And our bully boys the Fire Zouaves,
With their little Minie Rifles,
And first of all in duty's call,
The Massachusett's boys so handy,
Who will show the Southern chivalry,
No fool is Yankee Doodle Dandy,
Whack! row de dow,
No fool is Yankee Doodle Dandy,
Whack! row de dow,
Pop goes the weasel!

In speaking of our Fire Zouaves,
Reminds me of a fact,
They've proved they don't do things by halves,
Nor take the backward track;
At the battle of Bull Run,
They fought their way so bravely,
Oh! they did lay low to trap the foe!
How are you Black Horse Cavalry?
Whack! row de dow,
Where are you General Patterson?
Whack! row de dow,
Oh! Skysey, take the bull!

There's a good time surely coming,
And we think it soon will come,
When our Northern boys are bound to make
Their Southern rebels hum
For we'll have no more Bull Run affaire,
Where the chivalry any we did knock under,
For we've got a brave McClellan, now,
Who'll give 'em Northern thunder, with a
Whack! row de dow,
We're bound to give 'em thunder!
Whack! row de dow,
And that's what's the matter!