The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #2898891
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
02-May-10 - 09:46 PM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Courtesy of John Minear's link, which I neglected to log earlier:

The May 1884 edition of THE UNITED SERVICE contains recollections of a soldier in a piece called "First Scenes of the Civil War." The author notes that during the Battle of Fort Sumter, Charleston, April 1861, guns were hauled up onto the fort by means of the work-song SANTIANA at a capstan.

Work and sleep were the sole occupations in Sumter. There was no idling and no amusements. The work was hard and the workmen few. In heaving and hauling the men soon learned the value of a song in securing combined effort. The favorite song was one having the refrain, "On the plains of Mexico." We had rigged a shears, and with an improvised capstan walked the guns from the parade to the terreplein (a hoist of fifty feet) as an accompaniment to the favorite songs. ... I had given the word, " Avast heaving !"— the use of nautical terms must have been suggested by the song, —and ordered three men up to man the watch-tackle.