One of President Lincoln’s favorite tunes was “Dixie,” the anthem of the South.
He asked the band to play it at an impromptu celebration over Lee’s surrender, just four days before the assassination.
“I have always thought ‘Dixie’ one of the best tunes I have ever heard,” he said. “Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday that we fairly captured it. I presented the question to the attorney general, and he gave it as his legal opinion that it is our lawful prize. I now request the band to favor me with its performance.”
The bank struck up “Yankee Doodle” as an encore.
Hear a 1907 recording of “Dixie” from the Library of Congress collection: http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/recordings/detail/id/552/
Sources: Library of Congress and A.Lincoln in His Own Words, edited by Milton Meltzer