1861-1865

War!

Hearts of the South; though peace no more
May visit again your sunny shore,
Yield no inch of your dear bought right,
Yield if you yield a life in fight,
And as with your feet to the foe you lie,
Let the red field echo your last, deep cry
God and Our Rights!
(4th verse of “God and Our Rights.” Lyrics by William M. Johnson)11

drum

The onset of the Civil War halted the College’s operations but not its musical influence. After his departure from the College, Professor Blackmar founded a music publishing company, and, in 1861 printed an arrangement of a poem written by a Centenary student from South Carolina. The excessively maudlin song, “I Cannot, Cannot Say Farewell,” expresses the student’s doleful lament upon leaving the Jackson campus. Professor Blackmar, a New York native,12 rallied behind the South, and took advantage of the wartime market for nationalistic Confederate songs. Blackmar composed a musical arrangement to “God and Our Rights,” a poem by 1861 Centenary graduate William M. Johnson dedicated “To the Friends of Southern Independence.”13 Centenary’s first music professor also published several editions of the still-famous “Bonnie Blue Flag,” prophetically advertising it as a “popular song destined to become a national air of the South.”14

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