I Wish I Was in Dixie or simply, Dixie became the Confederate's anthem during the American Civil War, a song loved by Abraham Lincoln. Emmett, from the Ohio frontier, composed it while traveling with his blackface minstrel troupe. It was first performed in 1859 in New York City, and became a run-away hit. Though some people may be offended by its origins, the song celebrated a tradition of Southern culture and spirit that provided comfort to soldiers far away from home.
[The Union responded with some lyrics of their own during the War, offered separately at the bottom.]
Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton, Old times there are not forgotten. Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land! In Dixie's Land, where I was born in, early on one frosty mornin'. Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land! I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray! In Dixie's Land I'll take my stand, to live and die in Dixie. Away, away, away down south in Dixie! Away, away, away down south in Dixie! There's buckwheat cakes and Injun batter, Makes you fat or a little fatter. Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land Then hoe it down and scratch your gravel, To Dixie's Land I'm bound to travel. Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray! In Dixie's Land I'll take my stand, to live and die in Dixie. Away, away, away down south in Dixie! Away, away, away down south in Dixie!
The Union answered back during the War with their own lyrics composed by Frances J. Crosby:
On! ye patriots to the battle, Hear Fort Moultrie's cannon rattle! Then away, then away, then away to the fight! Go meet those Southern traitors, With iron will. And should your courage falter, boys, Remember Bunker Hill. Hurrah! Hurrah! The Stars and Stripes forever! Hurrah! Hurrah! Our Union shall not sever!
A second "unofficial" Union version was popular among Union troops, referred to as Union Dixie:
Away down South in the land of traitors, Rattlesnakes and alligators, Right away, come away, right away, come away. Where cotton's king and men are chattels, Union boys will win the battles, Right away, come away, right away, come away. Then we'll all go down to Dixie, Away, away, Each Dixie boy must understand That he must mind his Uncle Sam.
"The New Dixie!: The True 'Dixie' for Northern Singers" takes a different approach, turning the original song on its head:
Den I'm glad I'm not in Dixie Hooray! Hooray! In Yankee land I'll took my stand, Nor lib no die in Dixie.
Featured in our collection of American Patriotic Songs. Another song considered the anthem of the Confederate States of America was God Save the South. You may be interested in our Civil War Stories to read more literature from this tumultuous period in American history.
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