I started researching the origins of this famous song in connection with a book I thought about writing on the flight of Confederates from the South at the end of the Civil War; some to reestablish plantation agriculture in a more congenial place, some to escape prosecution or want, and some (often former army and navy officers) to find employment in familiar work.  That book, Leaving Dixie was its working title, might yet get researched and written, but right now—May 2015—I’ve moved on to something else.  This short essay was to have been Leaving Dixie’s preface.