Goober Peas

Words by A. Pindar, Esq.; music by P. Nutt, Esq., 1866

[While the song is playing distribute peanuts-in-shell to students.] What are "goober peas"? Who is singing this song? Who are the "composers"? Why might Confederate soldiers write a song about peanuts?

What do you know about conditions in the South by the end of the Civil War? How well was the army being fed? What were their rations? How was agriculture affected by the war?

What does the last verse suggest about the post-war conditions the soldiers expected in the South? How accurate was their "prediction"?

What is the message of this song? Is it a song about not liking peanuts or is there a deeper message?

How does humor help people survive hard times? What other examples of using humor under difficult circumstances can you think of? Think of literature, movies, and television as well as songs.


"Goober Peas" performed by the 2nd South Carolina String Band on Hard Road, Palmetto Productions, © 2000. Available on iTunes and YouTube.

The 2nd South Carolina String Band utilizes period instruments, in this case string instruments, such as banjos, to revive the music of the Civil War. This recording demonstrates what it may have sounded like when the troops sat by the roadside and entertained themselves between battles. One can also imagine that a certain amount of improvisation of the lyrics may have found its way into this song.

View the lyrics for "Goober Peas."

View the published score.

When published, this song was credited to "A. Pindar" and "P. Nutt"—both versions of "goobers," or "peanuts." Contemporary sources reveal that it had been popular with Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. During the last years of the conflict, peanuts provided emergency rations for hungry, ragged soldiers.

Lyrics as they appeared in Southern Enterprise. Thomasville, Georgia, U.S. May 9, 1866. p. 2.

What cafeteria foods do you get tired of eating? Write a song or poem making fun of cafeteria food.

Compare this song to:

"Duration Blues" (Unit 7), a humorous song from another war.