This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 theatre was filled with soldiers from Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana on their way to the front. McCarthy appeared on the stage accompanied by his sister waving a Confederate flag. ‘Before the first verse was ended the audience was quivering with excitement. After he sang the second stanza the audience joined in the chorus and sang it over and over again amid the most intensive excitement. It was wafted to the streets and in twenty-four hours it was all over the Southern Army.’ For the crude words of both these melodies were soon substituted various versions more dignified and intellectually more worthy of the Southern cause. Of all these, the most striking version of Dixie was written by Albert Pike, and the most stirring words for The Bonnie blue flag by Mrs. Annie Chambers Ketchum. But not even these versions took the place in the army, or have since taken the place in the affections of the Southern people, held by the first forms. If New Orleans may lay claim to the first popular melodies, it was natural that from Charleston should come the first notable expression in verse of the South's feeling with regard to the war. Aside from the fact that this city was the meeting place of the convention which proclaimed the secession of South Carolina, aside from the fact, too, that the first incident of the war was connected with Fort Sumter, Charleston, at the outbreak of the war, was the one Southern city that might have been considered a literary centre. Here for many years Simms,1 as the editor of many magazines and as a prolific romancer, had made his brave fight for literary independence, and here he had gathered about him in his later years a group of young men, two of whom especially were to respond as poets to the call of the new nation. He himself was now an old man, moving among his friends ‘like a Titan maimed.’ As the struggle tightened about Charleston in the later years of the war, he wrote some fiery appeals against the besieging foe, but there is in his verse excitement rather than inspiration, heat rather than light. Of the group of friends and younger men who gathered about Simms, the most promising was Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830-86). The descendant of several generations of Carolina gentlemen and gentlewomen, he had deliberately turned
1 See also Book II, Chap. VII.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.