Dave Paraguitar and vocal; Cathy Bartonbanjo and vocal; Bob Dyervocal; Dave Peasetuba; Lloyd Hicksdrums
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.
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.
I gets ein big tam rifle gun und puts him to mine shoulder,
For rations dey gives salty pork. I dinks dat vas a great sell;
Ve Deutschen mens mit Sigel's band at fighting got no rival;