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Fort Sumptor, A Southern Song No. 2; Only Nine Miles to the Junction; The Retreat of the
Grand Army from Bull Run; Sherman’s March to the Sea; The Slain at Baltimore
Ballads were used to tell stories. During the war, the news function of balladry was still very much alive. In rural areas, mountaineers and farmers still fashioned crude narrative songs out of the military events of the day. In the cities, the stall-ballad or broadside writers frequently “scooped” newspapers with the details of an important event and used poetry to embellish tragedies such as floods, murders, and pitched battles with a high degree of personalized fiction (Williams, 267-268).
Many of the ballad writers never stepped foot on a battlefield. The songs written by soldiers describing their engagements, incidents of camp and march, or their feelings, were not many, either in folk ballads or finished poetry. The only recollection of events presented here that was written by a soldier was “Only Nine Miles to the Junction.” It was written during the early days of the war by H. Millard, a member of Company A, Seventy-First Regiment, concerning the March from Annapolis to the Junction. (Williams, 274).
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