Folksinger Tom Glazer (1914-2003) collected many Civil War era songs and published them under the title "A Treasury of Civil War Songs: 25 Songs of the Union and the Confederacy," issued in 1996 through Hal Leonard. From this collection I found the haunting hymn-like tune entitled "The President's Grave," with words by Edwin S. Babbitt and music by L. B. Miller. I love vintage accordions and find that they often impart a culturally rich resonance to songs of a bygone era, helping modern ears to hear anew historical treasures which may have inherently special character. This tune is written in the key of E flat major, with some chords in G minor and F diminished, under the notation to play the song "Solemnly." The reeds on this particular Hohner sound very much at home in this key, lending a sense of noble purpose and reflective solemnity as the music draws us closer to the heroic life and tragic death of President Lincoln. There are certain sounds and tonalities heard on a vintage accordion which seem to accentuate the resonances of the music as it is written and received, especially when the subject matter is as historically powerful and significant as this truly remarkable song.
The hat I'm wearing is a reproduction of a Union Officer's kepi with the military rank of either Captain or Major, made of dark blue wool and lined with cotton and leather. The gold stripes and overall form of the hat's shape are derived from the French pattern, often seen in the French Army and the French Foreign Legion. This particular kepi was procured via eBay from a store called "Under the Southern Cross," maintained by owner/ proprietor Finandel.