Dixie's Land




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By Dan Beard

Dixie's Land, or Yank and Johnny Reb

This is a relic of the last [Civil] War, and evidently the grandson of the old game of Tom Tiddler's Land, which, during the four years of bloodshed that visited this country was modified by the boys to fit the occasion. Of course it was a simple matter to change Mr. Thomas Tiddler's Land into Dixie's Land. That change once made, the popular Southern song supplied the rest of the verse.

But as the game represents both the Federal and Confederate sides, there must be taunts for each, more or less appropriate to the occasion. The South supplied one verse, the North supplied another, both taken from old wartime songs which are now forgotten by most of those who sang them, and, with perhaps the exception of the few lines that are used in the boy's game, are unknown to the younger generation.

As in Tom Tiddler's Land a section is marked off to represent the land, and, after counting out to see who shall be "It" or Johnny Reb, Johnny takes his place on his land, and shouts:

On Dixie's Land I'll take my stand, 
I'll live and die on Dixie's Land!

This is a signal for hostilities, and all the little "Feds" commence to invade the South. Of course they use what taunts they can to excite Johnny Reb, as

Eighteen hundred and sixty-one, 
That's the time the war begun. 
Eighteen hundred and sixty-three, 
Abe Lincoln set the Negroes free! 
Oh, Johnny Red, you can't catch me.

Now if Johnny Reb can catch and hold any "Fed' while on Dixie's Land long enough to repeat

Any, taney, tother, ted, 
Now I've caught you little Fed!

that " Fed " must change his blue coat for a gray one, that is, join Johnny Reb in his efforts to capture more Union soldiers. And so the game goes on until all are caught, with mutual bantering and jingles, historical and nonsensical. The following comes under the latter heading:

Skeedaddle, vamose, 
Counterband goose, 
Mason and Dixon's line, 
I'll catch you this time!

To which they reply:

Jeff wore hoops! Jeff wore a dress! 
Jeff has no servants now, Y-E-S!


I'm on Dixie's Land, 
Dixie's not home. 
Dixie's got a sore foot, 
And he cannot roam!

Johnny, nothing daunted at the personal nature of the rhymes, sings out:

Mud sills, Mud sills, servant stealers; 
Blue, back, Blue back, 
Barnican Peelers!


If you what to see Yankees just tremble with fear, 
Tell them Johnny Reb has got in their rear. 
Hooray! Hooray! For the people they dread! 
Hooray for Jeff Davis and Red, white, and red!

After the Johnnies capture all the players a new game begins, and the first one caught in the last game is " It " for the next.

I felt some hesitancy about incorporating this game among the boys' sports. For, at first thought, it appeared likely to keep the old sectional feeling alive. But, on second thoughts, I believe it has quite the contrary effect, for whoever plays must sooner or later take both sides, and I also notice that the boys find no deeper significance in the game than in any other hereditary sport, and that to most of them there is no more meaning in the verses than in the old familiar button-count:

A rich man, 
A poor man, 
A beggar man, 
A thief, 
A doctor, 
A lawyer, 
A merchant, 
A chief!

So let them play their game of Johnny Reb, and Little Feds, and jumble it up with their strange folk-lore for future wise men to try and decipher and guess its source.







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Black Man ] Bloody Tom ] Brown Ear Wolf ] Bull Ring ] Cattle Rustling ] Cross ] [ Dixie's Land ] Fox & Geese ] Iron Tag ] King's X ] Last Tag ] Monkey Tag ] Over the Hill ] Prisoner's Base ] Red Ogre ] Tommy Tiddler ] Wild Beasts ] Wolf & Sheep ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.