The Wabash Cannonball!

The Wabash Cannonball! 

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“The Wabash Cannonball” is an American folk song about a fictional train, thought to have originated in the late nineteenth century. Its first documented appearance was on sheet music published in 1882, titled “The Great Rock Island Route” and credited to J. A. Roff. All subsequent versions contain a variation of the chorus:

Now listen to the jingle, and the rumble, and the roar,
As she dashes thro’ the woodland, and speeds along the shore,
See the mighty rushing engine, hear her merry bell ring out,
As they speed along in safety, on the “Great Rock-Island Route.”

A rewritten version by William Kindt appeared in 1904 under the title “Wabash Cannon Ball”. The Carter Family made one of the first recordings of the song in 1929, though it was not released until 1932. Another popular version was recorded by Roy Acuff in 1936. The song has been covered many times by many artists over the years.

From the great Atlantic ocean to the wide Pacific shore
From the queen of flowing mountain to the south bell by the shore
She mighty tall and handsome and know quite well by all
She’s a combination on the Wabash Cannonball

She came down from Birmingham one cold December day
As she rolled in the station you could hear all the people say
There is a girl form Tennessee she long and she tall 
She came down from Birmingham on the Wabash Cannonball

Our the western states are dandies so the people all ways say 
From New York to St. Louis and Chicago by the way
From the hills of Minnesota where the rippling waters fall
No changes to be taken on the Wabash Cannonball 

Here’s to daddy Claxton may his name forever stand 
And always be remembered in the courts of Alabam
His earthly race is over and as the curtain around him fall
We’ll carry him Home in victory on the Wabash Cannonball

Listen to the jingle the rumble and the roar 
As she glides along the woodland through the hills and by the shore 
hear the rush of the mighty engine hear the lonesome hobos call 
You’re traveling through the jungle on the Wabash Cannonball

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The Wabash Cannonball 698

The song “The Wabash Cannonball” is part of
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list!

There was a “Wabash Cannonball” Rollercoaster at the Opryland USA Theme Park 1975-1997:

It is a signature song of the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjack Marching Band, the Kansas State University Marching Band, the University of Texas Longhorn Band, and of the Indiana State University Marching Sycamores, as ISU is close to the Wabash River. It was also used as the theme song by the USS Wabash (AOR5). There was a B-17 Bomber that flew in World War II named The Wabash Cannonball and Lionel Toys produced a signature named train set.

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Lionel Wabash Cannonball Train Set

NOTE: The train was named after the song, not the other way around!
In the wake of the song’s popularity, the Wabash Railroad named its express run between Detroit and St. Louis as the Wabash Cannonball 1949 – 1971.

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Wabash ‘Cannonball’ Steam Locomotive 2800 at Pine Junction 26 October 1947 Harry Zilmer/ Strombeck Collection.

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Wabash Cannonball GP7 475 two tone grey & blue with the flag herald Springfield, Illinois 15 August 1965

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The Wabash Cannonball!

Benny Martin, John Hartford & Roy Huskey (this is great!)

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The Battle of New Orleans!

The Battle of New Orleans – January 8th, 1815

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The Battle of New Orleans (as imagined) by Edward Percy Moran 1910

“In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans”

The Battle of New Orleans was the final major battle of the War of 1812.
It was fought between January 8 and January 18, 1815.

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The Battle of New Orleans

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The Battle of New Orleans

Americans commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson (the future President of the United States) fought the British commanded by Admiral Alexander Cochrane and General Edward Pakenham. Pakenham and his second-in-command, Major General Samuel Gibbs, were both fatally wounded by artillery fire during the battle while on horseback.

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The Death of General Pakenham – The Battle of New Orleans

The Americans had constructed three lines of defense to protect New Orleans, the first about 4 miles from the city along the Rodriguez Canal (from the Mississippi River to the cypress swamp). The British advanced early in the morning under the cover of fog. The fog lifted, leaving them exposed in the open and easy targets for the American artillery.

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“We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico!”

In just twenty-five minutes, the British casualties totaled 700 killed, 1400 wounded and 500 were taken prisoner (after the battle ~500 British soldiers who pretended to be dead surrendered). American losses were only seven (7) killed and six (6) wounded.

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The Battle of New Orleans

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The Battle of New Orleans

“Yeah they ran through the briers and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico!”

The Treaty of Ghent was signed in Ghent, Belgium on December 24, 1814. The Treaty was approved by British Parliament and signed by the Prince Regent (the future King George IV) on December 30, 1814. It took a month for the news to reach the United States during which time the Battle of New Orleans was fought. The treaty was ratified by the US Senate on February 17, 1815.

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Jackson Square in New Orleans

ANDREW JACKSON (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845)

United States House of Representatives (Tennessee 1796-1797)
Military Governor of Florida (1821)
United States Senator (Tennessee 1823-1825)
7th President of the United States (1829-1837)

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Country singer Johnny Horton had a Number 1 hit in 1959 with “The Battle of New Orleans” written by Jimmy Driftwood. It won the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording and was also awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

Here’s Johnny Horton on the “Ed Sullivan Show” with the original sound:

And a little music from the “Alabama Wildman” Jerry Reed and Glen Campbell:
(RIGHT CLICK and “Open In New Window” to view on YouTube)

and Jerry Reed sings “City of New Orleans”:

“Good morning America how are ya
Say, don’t you know me, I’m your native son
I’m a train they call the City of New Orleans
I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done…”

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