The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220 Message #3182042
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
05-Jul-11 - 05:24 PM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
1864 Parton, James. _General Butler in New Orleans._ New York: Mason Brothers.
History of New Orleans before and leading up to the Civil War, describing earlier life (1850s and earlier), and specifically life at the time of the Union's Blockade in May 1861. Mentions cotton work and singing.
The double blockade—blockade above and blockade below—struck death to the commerce of New Orleans, a city created and sustained by commerce alone. …Cotton ships, eight or ten deep; a forest of masts, denser than any but a tropical forest; steamboats in bewildering numbers, miles of them, puffing and hissing, arriving, departing, and threatening to depart, with great clangor of bells and scream of whistles; cotton-bales piled high along the levee, as far as the eye could reach; acres and acres covered with hogsheads of sugar; endless flotillas of flat-boats, market-boats, and timber-rafts; gangs of negroes at work upon every part of the levee, with loud chorus and outcry; and a constant crowd of clerks, merchants, sailors, and bandanna-crowned negro women selling coffee, cakes, and fruit. It was a spectacle without parallel on the globe, because the whole scene of the city's industry was presented in one view.
What a change was wrought by the mere announcement of the blockade! The cotton ships disappeared; the steamboats were laid away in convenient bayous, or departed up the river to return no more. The cotton mountains vanished; the sugar acres were cleared. The cheerful song of the negroes was seldom heard, and grass grew on the vacant levee. The commerce of the city was dead; and the forces hitherto expended in peaceful and victorious industry, were wholly given to waging war upon the power which had called that industry into being, defended it against the invader, protected and nourished it for sixty years, guiltless of wrong. The young men enlisted in the army, compelling the reluctant stevedores, impressing with violence the foreign born.