Spirit & Heritage In Song – Southern Soldier Boy 1863


Spirit & Heritage In Song is a series highlighting Traditional American Music.

In the last half century many of these traditional songs have been forgotten in the crush of contemporary music and international cultural influences. Yet these songs, ballads, melodies and hymns reflect the events, cultural backgrounds, aspirations, land and faith that make up the soul of the American People far more than the strains of moderne music that have washed upon the nation’s shores. This series is offered as a reminder of the Spirit of America as given voice in music.


Sundance Catalog



Southern Soldier Boy

Written in 1863 by a Captain G.W. Alexander to the tune of “The Boy With the Auburn Hair”, this song has always been one of Miss Holly’s favorites. It embodies the spirit of the Southern women who had absolute faith in the Southern Cause and the men who fought for it. “Nannie” is both wistful and defiant as she tells of her love and pride in her sweetheart, and her unshakeable belief in the fact that “Southrons never yield”.

Our research on this tune led us to an actress named Sallie Partington, who was born in May 1834, in Islington, England. She was a popular actress of the era and worked with many famous actors, including John Wilkes Booth. During the Civil War, Sallie was considered the “toast of Richmond” and often ended her stage performance with a rousing salute to the Confederacy. She was well known for her role in the immensely popular Confederate play “The Virginia Cavalier”, in which she performed the song “Southern Soldier Boy”.

From The Thrown Together Band site


Various renditions of “The Southern Soldier Boy”.


Kathy Mattea


Rachel Hekman – Piano


From Norway


Kathleen Shipley



Deborah Brinson – Harp


See other songs of the American Spirit in History and at Music


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Bob Roebuck is my sweetheart’s name,
He’s off to the wars and gone;
He’s fighting for his Nanny dear,
His sword is buckled on,
He’s fighting for his own true love;
His foes he does defy;
He is the darling of my heart,
My Southern soldier boy.

When Bob comes home from war’s alarms,
We’ll start anew in life;
I’ll give myself right up to him,
A dutiful, loving wife.
I’ll try my best to please my dear,
For he is my only joy,
He is the darling of my heart,
My Southern soldier boy.

Oh, if in battle he were slain,
I know that I would die,
But I am sure he’ll come again
To cheer my weeping eye.
But should he fall in this our glorious cause,
He still would be my joy,
For many a sweetheart mourns the loss
Of her Southern soldier boy.

I hope for the best, and so do all
Whose hopes are in the field;
I know that we shall win the day
For Southrons never yield.
And when we think of those who are away,
We look above for joy,
And I’m mighty glad that my Bobby is
A Southern soldier boy.


Plow & Hearth


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