I came across an article called "Forgotten Poems Recovered by American Civil War Research". This article led me to a website that listed poetry that was written and published during the civil war years that has just now been made availabe to all the public, not just through microfilm or subscription services.
American Civil War poetry that sheds light on a neglected chapter of the era’s literary history has been recovered and made freely available online after 150 years.
Poems of the Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard, 1863-1864’ features nearly 140 poems that appeared in two New York-based newspapers during a single tumultuous year of the Civil War.
Until now, access to the National Anti-Slavery Standard and the Anglo-African – and the poems they contain – has been limited to microfilm or subscription-only online resources.
Why this poetry has been hidden from the public for so long is beyond my comprehension especially when it seemed to be the belief that Civil War literature, as a whole, was not worth studying. What a loss to our country. IMO, real life experiences through poetry even if it goes against our political beliefs or our racist attitudes (if we have one) is still a great way to learn about our history especially if it has been written during major events.
The edition puts to rest popular lingering myths about Civil War literature, especially poetry. In particular, Will not these days unravels the misguided notion that the Civil War produced only a handful of poems worth remembering and studying. In reality, a perhaps unknowable number of poems were written and circulated during the Civil War, and poetry was central to many people’s experience of the war.
The website that hosts this poetry from the Civil War area is Scholarly Editing. This link takes you to a pretty extensive Introduction, but there are links to the various literature they have available. For those who are interested in the Civil War poetry that were published in two newspapers during the civil war years, Anglo-African and National Anti-Slavery Standard, click on the link above to that section. Along with the poetry, Scholarly Editing also has extensive notes with insight to the poetry and the history.
Here is an excerpt from a piece written during the Civil War era which expresses the feelings of the author who wrote it.
I wonder if this was used as some sort of marching cadence by the Company A mentioned below.
The following song was written by a private
in Co. A, 54th (colored) Regiment Massachusetts
Volunteers, and has been sent to us for publica-
tion by a friend of the regiment:—
Fremont told them when the war it first begun,
How to save the Union, and the way it should be done;
But Kentucky swore so hard, and old Abe he had his fears,
Till every hope was lost but the colored volunteers.
Chorus—O, give us a flag, all free without a slave,
We'll fight to defend it as our Fathers did so brave,
The gallant Comp'ny A will make the rebels dance,
And we'll stand by the Union if we only have a chance.
McClellan went to Richmond with two hundred thousand brave,
He said "keep back the niggers," and the Union he would save.
Little Mac he had his way, still the Union is in tears,
Now they call for the help of the colored volunteers.
Chor.—O, give us a flag, &c.
To read the rest of the poem, see Scholarly Editing: A Negro Volunteer Song. Please keep in mind this was written during a hostile period in history and the words used were the words of the day.
This website Scholarly Editing is really impressive insofar as the amount of written content and what it wants to achieve. It almost gives me the impression that the site is an in-process thesis of some sort. In looking around to find the validy of these poems, I found this statement by Scholarly Editing.
A Note on Peer Review
All editions and articles published in Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing are rigorously reviewed by at least two experts in their respective fields. Articles follow a standard blind review process, but editions must pass through a somewhat more involved process. The journal editors select promising editions from submitted proposals and work with each project's editor(s) to put the edition online at an unpublished URL. The edition is then sent for review to two experts in its field who review its content and editorial soundness. The reviewers anonymously recommend that the edition be accepted as-is, accepted with revisions, revised and resubmitted, or rejected. Those that are accepted as-is or require only specific revisions are then finalized and published in Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing.
Please follow the CoH and UA and be civil to each other. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the other offerings the website Scholarly Editing has to offer.