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Maryland, My Maryland

Music and Patriotism during the American Civil War

James A. Davis

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 01/2019
Pages: 390
Subject: History
eBook ISBN: 9781496212719


Historians have long treated the patriotic anthems of the American Civil War as colorful, if largely insignificant, side notes. Beneath the surface of these songs, however, is a complex story. "Maryland, My Maryland" was one of the most popular Confederate songs during the American Civil War, yet its story is full of ironies that draw attention to the often painful and contradictory actions and beliefs that were both cause and effect of the war. Most telling of all, it was adopted as one of a handful of Southern anthems even though it celebrated a state that never joined the Confederacy. In Maryland, My Maryland: Music and Patriotism during the American Civil War James A. Davis illuminates the incongruities underlying this Civil War anthem and what they reveal about patriotism during the war. The geographic specificity of the song's lyrics allowed the contest between regional and national loyalties to be fought on bandstands as well as battlefields and enabled "Maryland, My Maryland" to contribute to the shift in patriotic allegiance from a specific, localized, and material place to an ambiguous, inclusive, and imagined space. Musical patriotism, it turns out, was easy to perform but hard to define for Civil War–era Americans.  


James A. Davis is a professor of musicology at the School of Music, State University of New York at Fredonia. He is the author of Music along the Rapidan: Civil War Soldiers, Music, and Community during Winter Quarters, Virginia, 1863–1864 (Nebraska, 2014) and editor of several books, including The Arts and Culture of the American Civil War.  


"James Davis sheds light on a crucial but understudied dimension of the conflict: the role of music in inspiring devotion to the causes for which both sides fought. He demonstrates an impressive command of the historical and musicological sources necessary to make his analysis persuasive."—Michael W. Schaefer, professor of English at the University of Central Arkansas and author of A Reader's Guide to the Short Stories of Stephen Crane

"Once again Davis has approached the familiar subject of music in the Civil War with a remarkably fresh take on one of the era's most popular songs. His latest contribution raises the level of academic inquiry and will stimulate new investigations into broader contexts for music that has often been mentioned but seldom taken seriously."—Candace Bailey, professor of musicology at North Carolina Central University and author of Music and the Southern Belle: From Accomplished Lady to Confederate Composer

"Davis's historical acumen is impressive, and, combined with his knowledge of musicology, style, phrasing, and other numerous features of song-making, the reader is treated to a multidimensional view of the song. Maryland, My Maryland is not only readable; it is very enjoyable, even a page-turner. Davis is able to write to both the layman and the scholar without making either of them feel that they are trespassing on foreign ground. Anyone interested in the Civil War—really anyone who cares about the subject—will find great treasures in it."—Randal Allred, professor of English at Brigham Young University–Hawaii