The Hunters of Kentucky
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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These words were written by Samuel Woodworth (who wrote the Old Oaken Bucket) and set to the tune The Unfortunate Miss Bailey. The tune became the campaign song for Andrew Jackson's presidency and was popular throughout his two terms.

Over 7,000 men from Kentucky served in the War of 1812. Approximately one-fourth of Jackson's command at the Battle of New Orleans consisted of Kentucky riflemen.

Ye gentlemen and ladies fair,
Who grace this famous city,
Just listen if you've time to spare
While I rehearse a ditty,
And for the opportunity
Conceive yourself quite lucky,
For 'tis not often here you see
A hunter from Kentucky.
Oh, Kentucky, The hunters of Kentucky
Oh, Kentucky, The hunters of Kentucky

You've heard, I s'pose, how New Orleans
Is famed for wealth and beauty,
There's girls of ev'ry hue it seems,
From snowy white to sooty;
So Pakenham he made his brags,
If he in fight was lucky,
He'd have their girls and cotton bags,
In spite of old Kentucky.
Oh, Kentucky, The hunters of Kentucky
Oh, Kentucky, The hunters of Kentucky

But Jackson, he was wide awake,
And was not scared of trifles;
For well he knew what aim we take
With our Kentucky rifles;
He led us down to Cypress Swamp,
The ground was low and mucky;
There stood John Bull in pomp,
And here was old Kentucky.
Oh, Kentucky, The hunters of Kentucky
Oh, Kentucky, The hunters of Kentucky

A bank was rais'd to hide our breast,
Not that we thought of dying,
But the we always like to rest,
Unless the game is flying;
Behind it stood our little force
None wished it to be greater,
For ev'ry man was half a horse,
And half an alligator.
Oh, Kentucky, The hunters of Kentucky
Oh, Kentucky, The hunters of Kentucky

They found, at last, 'twas vain to fight,
Where lead was all the booty,
And so they wisely took to flight,
And left us all our beauty.
And now, if danger e'er annoys,
Remember what our trade is,
Just send for us Kentucky boys,
And we'll protect ye, ladies.
Oh, Kentucky, The hunters of Kentucky
Oh, Kentucky, The hunters of Kentucky

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From
Best Loved Songs of the American People
See Bibliography for full information.