Lincoln Called For Dixie (Because He Liked It)

This seemed relevant to the current push to purge our culture of symbols associated with the Confederacy. The New York Times, February 7, 1909:

LINCOLN CALLED FOR DIXIE: Had It Played After Richmond’s Fall Because He Liked It

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6.—Joseph Nimmo, Jr., one of the few surviving close personal friends of Abraham Lincoln, today took issue with President Schneider of the Chicago Board of Trade, who is reported to have forbidden the singing of “Dixie” at the Lincoln centennial as treasonable.

“This I am prepared to deny from my personal experience,” said Mr. Nimmo.

“Early one morning in the month of April, 1865, the news reached Washington that Richmond had been evacuated. There was a rush to the White House led by a band. I accompanied the crowd. Soon Mr. Lincoln appeared at the window over the front entrance. He replied to the demand for a speech. I well remember his closing words, which were as follows:

There is a song or a tune which I used to hear with great pleasure before the war, but our friends across the river have appropriated it to their use during the last four years. It is the tune called “Dixie.’ But I think we have captured it. At any rate I conferred with the Attorney General this morning, and he expressed the Opinion that “Dixie” may fairly be regarded as captured property. So I shall be glad to hear “Dixie” by the band.

“Ever since then ‘Dixie’ has been regarded as a National air beloved by the people of the North and South. The tune of ‘Dixie’ was composed by Dan Emmett, a Northern man, who wrote the words and music. For years before the war it was sung at the North and at the South, and will remain for all time a truly National song, made so by the good-natured humor of Abraham Lincoln.”