Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Music of the War of 1812

We've been studying the War of 1812 in school as of late. 'Tis very interesting! I have learned about it before, but never as in depth as this time. There is so much to learn. One thing I realized from this study is that Americans like to make themselves look good and the opposing side to look bad. I would have never guessed that we Americans ever did anything wrong after reading what some people write in books. I am so glad there are at least a few people out there who are willing to show our failures and wrongs, as well as our triumphs and glories!

Anyways, this is supposed to be about music... someday I have got to start a history blog! There are quite a few songs from the War of 1812. One in particular being our National Anthem, which Francis Scott Key began writing on my birthday! (Okay, so it was written a few years prior to my birth.) :-) One of the most important types of music of that time was the music of the fifers and drummers. The songs these brave lads played, signaled the soldiers to do different things, from getting up, to advancing on the enemy. One drummer boy named Jarvis Hanks enlisted at the age of fourteen as a drummer boy.  He wrote about the terrors of battle and the danger that the musicians faced.

Probably the most well known song of the War of 1812, is the Star Spangled Banner. Francis Scott Key wrote this song while on board a British war ship. He witnessed the attack made on Fort McHenry through the night of September 13th. He watched and waited till dawn, and then on the glorious morning of September 14th, through the smoke and the "rockets red glare" and "bombs bursting in air," he saw the "broad stripes and bright stars" that were "so gallantly streaming." And just think, all of that on the wonderful date of September fourteenth, my birthday! I like history, what can I say?

The War of 1812 also witnessed a lot of naval battles for which songs were written. Songs like, "Chesapeake and Shannon," "The Constitution and the Guerriere" and "Ye Parliament of England," sang of these naval battles. Be sure to click on the song titles and read the words. I especially liked "Ye Parliament of England."

"The Hunters of Kentucky" tells about the battle at New Orleans, where General Andrew Jackson led the Americans in defeat against the British. The battle took place after the war was supposed to have ended, but since news traveled slow they didn't know that until after the battle.

Some other great songs are, "The Patriotic Diggers" and "How Happy the Soldier". The latter was written during the Revolutionary War, but became popular again during the War of 1812. Of course, there were many other songs written and sung at that time. These are just a few that I learned about and enjoy. If you have any other favorites for this war, please share them.

We have much to thank God for in the history of our nation. More people ought to study the true history and read the true stories behind what happened. It is amazing to see God's great, sovereign providence in the history of the United States of America.

Just remember, the most well known and important song from the War of 1812, was the one written on my birthday. Now that's something worth blogging about.  (Just Kidding!)

In Christ,

1 comment:

Peter Bringe said...

What about Jimmie Driftwood's Battle of New Orleans? Ok so it was written over 100 years later, but it's still a fun song.

Two more songs popular during war of 1812 are St. Clair's Defeat (, and Jonny Has Gone for a Soldier ( They are a little grimmer than the other songs you listed.

It’s good to see someone remembering America's forgotten war. When I have reenacted it with the Illinois Territorial Rangers (Co. B), people don’t even know who we fought. There are many interesting stories of the war from around my home in Missouri.

-Peter Bringe
Deo Vindice