What did it mean for Confederates to sing patriotic music during the American Civil War? This talk draws on evidence of sixty cases of Confederates being arrested, punished, or getting away with singing, selling, or publishing rebel songs in Union-controlled towns or occupied cities. It explores how these arrests, as political reflections of power and its subversion, helped shape the boundaries, experience, and outcome of Union occupation.

Billy Coleman is an Assistant Teaching Professor of History with the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy and the Honors College at the University of Missouri. He is the author of Harnessing Harmony: Music, Power, and Politics in the United States, 1788–1865.


Tennessee 101 is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



September 13, 2023


5:30 pm CT

6:30 pm ET