Description: “The Battle of Manassas” is the most famous song composed by noted African-American piano prodigy and autistic savant, Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins (1849-1908). “The Battle of Manassas” tells the story of the Confederate Army’s 1861 victory at the Battle of Bull Run in the American Civil War.
Born blind and a slave, Tom exhibited musical talent at a young age and began touring under the supervision of his owner, General James Neil Bethune, a Columbus, GA lawyer. Tom was able to perfectly repeat a piece of music after only hearing it played once, could repeat conversations up to 10 minutes in length, and memorized over 7,000 compositions, but found it difficult to express his own needs, often referring to himself in the third person. General Bethune and Tom’s concert promoter, Perry Oliver, used Tom to amass their own fortunes, earning up to $100,000 a year, making Blind Tom the most highly paid musician of the 19th century. In 1860, Tom was the first African-American to give a command performance at the White House, performing for President James Buchanan.
Published by S. Brainard’s Sons of Cleveland, OH, dated 1866, 11 pages. 13 ¼” x 10 ¼”. Item #AM00180.
Condition: Spine shows evidence that this sheet music was once bound in a book, light soil, Cluett & Sons Pianos of Troy, NY blind-stamp on upper right corner of front wrap, otherwise in good condition.