Civil War Era Nautical Songs
from the
U.S.N.L.P. Songbook

(words only -- yes, we'd love to see the music here, too, but it takes time...!)

Songs are categorized according to how appropriate they are for various audiences. Our purpose in providing some of the "less-than-fit-for-singing-at-church" songs is to provide a database for fellow naval reenactors and researchers; none of these songs have been "sanitized" or watered down. They are what they are and many represent the different perceptions and values of the past. The rating system  should help you choose which ones are OK for different venues. Information on additional verses is very much welcome! The two songs marked with an asterisk (*) are not of the Civil War era.


OK for Everybody (even your mom)
Cape Cod Girls
The Minstrel Boy
Old Rosin the Bow (II)
Blow the Man Down (I)
Roll, Alabama, Roll!
The Cumberland Crew

A Trifle Sterner (but your mom still won't mind)
Old Rosin the Bow (I)
Jolly Roving Tars
Tim Finnegan's Wake
A Clean Song*
Maid of Amsterdam
Sweet Betsey from Pike

PG-13 Songs (OK, they actually allude to sex)
Queer Bungle Rye
What do we do with a Drunken Sailor?
Can't You Dance the Polka? (I)
Can't You Dance the Polka? (II)
Blow the Man Down (II)
Blow the Man Down (III)

Adult Songs (If your mother finds out…!)
Three Old Whores from Winnipeg*
Blow the Man Down (IV)
Bell Bottom Trousers


On each page
click on the Sailor
to hear a MIDI of each song
(if available)


Links to Sea Shantys and Nautical Songs
Bob Hornett's Sailing Page
The Mudcat Cafe Digital Tradition Folksong Database

Return to the main USNLP page
Return to the USNLP Handbook Table of Contents page
Return to the NMLHA web site
Email to the USNLP