Past Event

A Soundtrack for Wartime: Songs of the Civil War

A Road Scholar Program by Nancy Caldwell

The Civil War took a terrible toll on Americans in the mid-nineteenth century. Generals; soldiers in the field; their spouses and children left behind to wonder whether they would ever see their loved one again: everyone was affected by the war, and the scars it left behind were deep. Music was an important emotional outlet during the war. Songs rallied the troops; passed the time for encamped soldiers; captured the drama of military campaigns; and most of all, created a feeling of inclusion. In 1905, a music publisher decided to create an anthology containing "Americans’ favorite songs." To increase the chances that the songbook would be well-received, he sought input regarding the music that should be included. Even in that year, a full forty years after the end of the conflict, 25% of the songs listed by respondents as their "favorites" were songs related to the Civil War. Hear examples of these Civil War songs and explore their specific appeal to Americans during the War and beyond.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Christine Gerrish, 618-594-5210.