Cf. performance in New Chautauqua Revue, Nov. 17, 2007, by Christopher Brune a musician from Vernon, N.J. ...
Best starting place for information ... Wikipedia page on "John Brown's Body" has information about and links to
- "Say Brothers (Will you Meet Us)," with a GIF file of the Methodist camp meeting song ... also speculation about its role with African Americans before the Civil War, i.e. "Canaan's happy shore" and Canada
- George Kimball's account of how "John Brown's Body" was developed by 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Massachusetts militia at the beginning of the war
- The "Marching Song of the First Arkansas" ... which has its own Wikipedia page with history and a JPEG of the lyrics.
The First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment (African Descent) began recruiting among former slaves in Helena, Arkansas following Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863, and was officially established on May 1. In June the regiment saw action at Mound Plantation, Mississippi, and at Goodrich's Landing, Louisiana, where the unit remained through January 1864. The unit then moved to Haines Bluff near Vicksburg, Mississippi until May 1864. The Union Army standardized the varied names of colored regiments as “United States Colored Troops” (U.S.C.T.), and the First Arkansas became the “46th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry” on May 11, 1864.Sojourner Truth is also said to have authored the song and almost certainly sang it, while collecting food in Battle Creek for the 1st Michigan Colored Infantry in 1863.
Footnote: Helena, Ark., is an important venue in American music history for more than the 1st Arkansas Colored Infantry. It is the home of the King Biscuit Time show on KFFA radio since 1941, originally featuring artists Sonny Boy Williamson (II) and Robert Lockwood Jr. Other musicians who got their start on WFFA include Pinetop Perkins and B.B. King. It's still airing, hosted by "Sunshine" Sonny Payne, Monday through Friday at 12:15 p.m. on KFFA AM, and station's website has streaming audio and downloadable files of recent shows. It's the longest-running show now on the air in America, and No. 15,877 aired Dec. 30.