Der Deitcher’s Dog

Words & Music by Septimus Winner

Noah Brooks

In spite of the slaughter, life went on in the cities of the North, industries exploding with financial opportunity. Songs such as this Septimus Winner hit of 1864—which will be familiar as “Oh, Where Has My Little Dog Gone?”—packed them at the booming music halls. This innocuous little ditty floats on top of some pretty dark undercurrents: the greed-driven opportunism of some northern manufacturers who passed off shoddy goods on the army and a shrugging acceptance of the horrors taking place on the battlefield. The burlesque humor of a stage German’s pet dog being ground into sausage serves as a grim counterpoint to the great war machine grinding up men as fast as they could be supplied.

In the show, the song is done as pure music hall, with the unfortunate dog owner accompanied in the number by a jolly, bloodstained butcher and a beer hall waitress who possibly know a little more about the dog’s fate than they’re willing to admit.