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16. Bonaparte Crossing The Rhine (Bonaparte's March)

This mournful tune on page 22 of the Hamblen Collection as played by David R Hamblen evokes sadness about some aspect of the famous Emperor of France, who ruled from 1804-1815. It's hard to feel empathy for the dictator who cancelled any benefits of the French Revolution and spent a dozen years conquering Europe. He was defeated and captured at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 by the British, who sequestered him on the island of St Helena until his death from either stomach cancer or arsenic poisoning six years later. One version appears in O'Neil's (#1824). Bayard says the titles to the “Bonaparte” tunes are floating, and to confirm this, tune # 86 “Bonaparte's Retreat” is essentially the same as the Hamblen tune (Bayard: 131). Harvey “Pappy” Taylor from Effingham, Illinois plays a tune very similar (Harrison) The tune also shows up in Carrizo Springs, Texas played by P.T. Bell (1869-1956) who recorded it in 1942 as “Mace Bell's Civil War March.” Another interesting version comes from Columbus “Lum” Hawkenberry, who played it for Chappell in Mannington, West Virginia in 1942 under the name ”Kool Kate's March.” (Blech)

Chris' Hopf FCGD