Friday, December 13, 2019

Not Just Whistling Dixie


There are few Southern hearts that still fail to skip a beat or two when a military band strikes up “Dixie,” the de facto national anthem of the Confederacy and the song that has undoubtedly become the one most closely associated with the antebellum South.  This, however, was not the case with the creator of that iconic tune, Daniel Emmett, who was born, raised and died in Ohio, never lived in the South and composed “Dixie” in New York City in 1859 where it was introduced that year merely as a walkaround for Bryant’s Minstrel troupe.  History has it that Emmett, who remained a staunch Unionist throughout the War Between the States and even wrote the fife and drum manual for the Union Army in 1862, was most irritated that the Confederates had appropriated his melody and was reported to have said to a friend that he wished he had never written the song.


  1. He passed in 1904. I'd say that was plenty enough time for him to calm down. I wonder if he ever did?