‘Northern flags in South winds flutter’: Union gunboats on the Mississippi and the James These views of Federal gunboats flying the Stars and Stripes preserve such scenes as inspired Albert Pike's stanzas to the tune of ‘Dixie.’ The ram Vindicator above is particularly apt, since ‘Dixie’ first appeared in a ‘River’ town, being printed in the Natchez Courier on April 30, 1862. It is a curious fact that the author was born in Boston and attended Harvard. The tune itself had a Northern origin. Daniel Decatur Emmet, who had traveled a great deal with circus bands and a minstrel company of his own, and was already known as the composer of ‘Old Dan Tucker,’ joined the famous Bryant's Minstrels in 1857. He not only appeared in the performances, but composed airs for the entertainments. The closing number on each occasion was known as a ‘walk-around,’ in which all members of the company would appear. One Saturday night, September 17, 1859, Emmet was told to prepare a new walk-around for the following Monday rehearsal. Sunday was gloomy, with a cold rain falling. As Emmet looked out the window an expression with which he had become familiar in his circus experience flashed across his memory,—‘I wish I was in Dixie.’ Dixie referred to the South, where many companies spent the winter on the road. Emmet at once took up his fiddle and began to work out the melody along with the words. The melody which he used is supposed to have been an old Northern Negro air, associated with the name of one Dix or Dixy, who had a large plantation, some say on Manhattan Island, others on Staten Island. When the progress of abolition sentiment obliged him to migrate southward, his slaves looked back to their old home as a paradise. But with years the term Dixie's Land was transferred to their new home and was taken up by both white and black as a name for the South. Emmet's production was sung for the first time on Monday night, September 19, 1859, at 472 Broadway, New York City, where Bryant's Minstrels were then showing. It enjoyed instant popularity. Its vogue in the South was begun in New Orleans in the Spring of 1861. Mrs. John Woods was then playing at the New Orleans Varieties Theater in John Brougham's burlesque of ‘Pocahontas.’ In the last scene was a zouave march. At the first performance the zouaves were led by Miss Susan Denin, singing ‘Dixie,’ and reappearing seven times in answer to the persistent applause. The whole South took it up.
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