The electronic age has changed the making of music so much. Making (not just listening to) music used to be a major source of pleasure and entertainment for a much bigger proportion of the population.
One reason I like Civil War songs is that community singing was a really big activity back then. I try to imagine where and in what circumstances the song would have been sung. "Tenting tonight" sounds a lot different when you imagine it sung by groups of young soldiers -- Union or Confederate, both sides loved it -- sitting outside their tents at night. It was so popular that at least one officer supposedly forbade his men to sing it, because they sang so enthusiastically they were in danger of giving away their position.