published Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Civil War historian, musician Bobby Horton brings tunes to Moccasin Bend Lecture Series

Bobby Horton, a Civil War historian and musician, said a fellow historian once said, "History is nothing but bad news."

"But I added to it. 'It's the story of how good people handle it,'" Horton said.

On Monday, Horton, who has worked on 13 Ken Burns productions for the Public Broadcasting Service, will team up with the Chattanooga Boys Choir to present the second talk in the 2011 Moccasin Bend Lecture Series.

His specialty is showing how the soldiers of the Civil War handled their heart-rending duty with song. And as he performs, he'll also tell the stories behind the songs.

If music is an important pastime and comfort in 2011 when there is television and Internet and shopping malls, consider its influence during the Civil War, Horton said.

"In the 1800s, the common man had two things he could turn to: his faith and his music," he said. "So if you're a soldier and you hate what you do, you sing about it."

It was finding a stash of sheet music during a research project that launched Horton on his historian/musician career.

Since then, he and others have found about 3,000 Union-penned songs and about 1,000 Confederate-written songs.

Shelley Andrews, executive director of the Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park, said she and her husband attended a similar program of Horton's last spring.

"We both sat and cried because it was so moving," she said.

The Friends group sponsors the annual lecture series with funding from Chattanoogan Greg Vital, president of Independent Healthcare Properties.

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about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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