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Parody Song Sheet of Just Before the Battle, Mother
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One of the most well known sentimental Union songs of the Civil War: "Just Before the Battle, Mother" "... I am thinking most of you." Illustrated at top with a battle scene of Confederate infantry charging uphill against a Union line that is covered with gunsmoke, the song consists of three stanzas and a chorus printed in blue. Charles Magnus is credited in the small caption of the image, the reverse of the sheet is lined, and this is undoubtedly one of the "songs on notepaper, illustrated" that he advertised.

Far more unusual, is the accompanying song sheet published by H. De Marsan of 54 Chatham St. New York, which features a parody of the sentimental and patriot song published by Magnus. Illustrated around the border with De Marsan's typically crude wood cuts of comic figures, the song is also three stanzas with a chorus, starting out "Just before the battle mother, I was drinking mountain dew, but when I saw the rebels marching, unto the rear I quickly flew." The song ends, "Discretion is the better part of valor, at least, I've often heard you say, and he that loves his life, dear Mother, won't fight if he can run away."

The Magnus sheet is very good. The parody sheet shows a few stains and folds that show it was carried around for a time and likely shared with friends, but it is still solid.

Both sheets so traces of an erased pencil inventory number. These were deaccessioned from a library collection of song sheets some years ago.

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