“The Red, White, and Red”


The Confederate soldiers proudly boast of their new flag, "The Red, White, and Red!" They promise the guard their land, and proclaim, "They never will subdue us, that you will see. While there's Davis, Bragg, Beauregard, Johnson, and Lee...."

Supplemental text

Red, White, and Red, The
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Anne Warner, Traditional American Folk Songs from the Anne &
Frank Warner Collection, #22, pp, 89-90. From the singing of
"Yankee" John Galusha of New York State. Collected 1946.

On the banks of the Potomac there's an army so grand,
Its objects are subjects of Dixie's fair land.
They say that they've split our great Union in two
And altered the colors of the Red, White, and Blue.

Hurray, hurrah, we're a nation to dread,
We'll stand by our colors, the Red, White, and Red.

(3 additional stanzas)


This song is item dA36 in Laws's Appendix II.

Among the figures mentioned in this song are:

Magruder - John Bankhead Magruder, winner at Big Bethel, set aside after the Peninsula campaign

Old Picayune - Benjamin F. Butler, a complete military incompetent who always kept his job because of his Republican political connections. He seems to have been given his nickname after a (female) character in a minstrel song, Picayune Butler

Davis - Jefferson Davis, Confederate president (at this time still a provisional president)

Bragg - Braxton Bragg, at the time of Big Bethel a general commanding part of the southern coast. He later was appointed commander of the Army of Tennessee

Beauregard - P.G.T. Beauregard, who had directed the bombardment at Fort Sumter and later held field command at First Bull Run (though his later career was not overly successful)

Johnson - almost certainly an error, either for Albert Sidney Johnston (first commander of the Tennessee army, killed at Shiloh) or Joseph E. Johnston, who preceded Lee in command in northern Virginia and held a succession of later posts

Lee - Robert E. Lee (who did not achieve a significant command in the Confederate army until 1862)

Stonewall - Thomas "Stonewall": Jackson, at the time of Big Bethel commanding a small force near Harper's Ferry but destined to command a famous brigade at First Bull Run and, of course, become Lee's chief subordinate and a southern legend.

"The Mason and Slidell Affair": James Mason and John Slidell were Confederate diplomats who were bound for London and Paris, were on the British ship _Trent_ when it was stopped by the U. S. S. _San Jacinto_ commanded by Charles Wilkes. Wilkes took off the diplomats, prompting a furor. Washington eventually gave in to British and French pressure and sent Mason and Slidell on to their destinations.

McCulloch: Ben McCulloch, a general in the west, one of the co-commanders at Wilson's Creek, killed at Pea Ridge. Despite the song, he never gave evidence of enough competence to truly frighten the Yankees, and he never was sole commander at a major battle. - RBW

Historical references

  • June 10, 1861 - Battle of Big Bethel. Although trivial in size (some 6000 troops engaged, casualties totalling about 110), it was the first land battle of the war. Federal troops under Benjamin Butler ("Old Picayune," almost certainly the worst general of the war) were easily defeated by Confederates under John Bankhead Magruder
  • Nov. 8, 1861 - The Trent Affair (The Mason and Slidell Affair): The two Confederate diplomats are taken off the Trent by Captain Charles Wilkes of the San Jacinto in clear violation of the then-current international policy regarding neutral rights


  1. Warner 22, "The Red, White, and Red" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BrownII 223, "On the Plains of Manassas" (1 text, with a stray reference to Manassas but otherwise this song)
  3. BrownIII 375, "The Red, White, and Red" (3 texts; the "A" text, with mentions of Mason and Slidell and Manassas, seems to be a later, expanded version)
  4. ST Wa022 (Partial)
  5. Roud #769
  6. BI, Wa022


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1946 (Warner)
Found in: US(MA)