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In step to music of the Union
Question of the Day
“Unnatural war,” sighs our good English grand mama,
“Stop it, I pray you and part now in peace,”
In the midst of this wail comes the swift Alabama
To prey on our commerce and roam o’er the seas.
The CSS Alabama mentioned in the song captured more than two dozen Union merchant ships and burned most of them. She was sunk by the Union sloop Kearsarge in 1864.
A song by Charles Boynton warned about “A fire in the rear,” a familiar term for the lingering threat of opposition to the war, even among the soldiers.
‘Mid iron hail and battle smoke, ‘mid pain and trial sore,
They strive to save our country as their fathers did before.
Their starry flag triumphant waves; their bosoms know no fear:
But hark! The startling shout that comes - “A fire in the rear!”
Union League Clubs built fine buildings in several cities during and after the war. Today those in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia still offer club and hotel services to their members.
The motto of the Chicago club is “commitment to country and community.” An earlier motto is inscribed on a fireplace there: “Welcome to Loyal Hearts: We join ourselves to no party that does not carry the flag and keep step to the music of the Union.”
• Polly Carder is the author of “George Root, Civil War Songwriter.”
By Matt Kibbe
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