(To the tune of “The Girl I Left Behind Me”)
Dave Para—guitar and vocal; Cathy Barton—banjo and vocal; Bob Dyer—vocal; Dave Pease—tuba; Lloyd Hicks—drums

In the presidential election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln received 27,000 votes from all the southern states. More than 15,000 of those came from Germans living in St. Louis. German immigrants were numerous in that and other towns farther up the Missouri River. Their intense loyalty to the Union and early participation contributed much to saving Missouri from secession.

The Third and Fifth Missouri Volunteers, commanded by Colonel (later General) Franz Sigel, consisted mostly of German immigrants. They were sent to Springfield in June 1861 to intercept Price's and Jackson's men on their retreat south after the Battle of Boonville. They fought at Carthage, at Wilson's Creek, and later at Pea Ridge.

Sigel was many peoples' choice for commander of the Army of the Southwest after Lyon was killed at Wilson's Creek. When the job went to Iowan Samuel Curtis, the general ethnic tensions among the Union ranks became apparent.

This song, written by F. Poole, was a humorous attempt to ease those tensions. Written to the old Scottish fiddle tune “The Girl I Left Behind Me,” the song pokes fun at the German accent as well as their eating and drinking habits. The “Fighting Joe” mentioned in the next to last stanza is a reference to General Joseph Hooker who commanded the Union Army for a short period in 1863.

Ven I comes from der Deutsche Countree, I vorks somedimes at baking,
Und den I runs a beer-saloon, und den I tries shoe-making.
But now I march mit musket out to safe dot Yankee Eagle,
Dey dress me up in soldier's clothes to go and fight mit Sigel.

Yah, das is true, I shpeaks mit you. Ve goes to fight mit Sigel.

I gets ein big tam rifle gun und puts him to mine shoulder,
Den I march around like a big jackhorse or maybe someding bolder;
I goes off mit de volunteers to save der Yankee Eagle;
To give dem Rebel vellers fits, I goes to fight mit Sigel.

For rations dey gives salty pork. I dinks dat vas a great sell;
I petter likes der sauerkraut, der Schnitzel-kase und bretzel.
If Fighting Joe will give us dem, ve'll save der Yankee Eagle,
Und I'll put mine vrou in breech-a-loons to go and fight mit Sigel.

Ve Deutschen mens mit Sigel's band at fighting got no rival;
Und ven Cheff Davis mens ve meet, ve schlauch em like de devil.
Der's only von ting vot ve fear ven pattling for der Eagle,
Ve vont get not no lager beer ven ve goes to fight mit Sigel.

© Big Canoe Records, 1993