Nailed to the Mast: Naval Songs of the Civil War

Posted July 04, 2013, at 2:48 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 1, 1970 12 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Location: Wilson Museum, 120 Perkins Street, Castine, Maine

For more information: Darren French; (207) 326-9247;

On Tuesday, July 23 at 3:00 p.m. in the Wilson Museum, 120 Perkins Street, Castine, enjoy “Nailed to the Mast,” an offering of historic naval songs of the Union and Confederacy. The program will concentrate on the men of four well-known ships and two well-known battles: the C.S.S. Alabama and the U.S.S. Kearsarge during their battle off Cherbourg, France in 1864; and the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia (Merrimac) in the Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862. These songs give voice to the men who fought in the war and, in the case of the U.S.S. Cumberland, sank with their flag nailed to the mast.

Stephen Sanfilippo, a retired secondary and undergraduate history teacher, is a nationally recognized researcher and performer of historic songs of the sea and holds a Ph.D. in history from Stony Brook University. Dr. Sanfilippo and his wife divide their time between Southold, New York and Pembroke, Maine. He wishes to dedicate his performance to his maternal great-great-grandfather, Johann Zeiner, a German immigrant who fought for the Union in a New York German regiment, and to his maternal grandmother, Louisa Reif Nalbach, from whom he learned many songs of the Civil War era while a boy in the early 1950s.

This program is offered free of charge as part of the Storytelling Can Change Your Life series, a year-long effort to bring some of the best storytellers in the country to Castine. The series is co-sponsored by the Wilson Museum, the Witherle Memorial Library, Friends of Witherle Memorial Library, Adams School, Castine Arts Association, and Castine Historical Society. The series will culminate in a three-day festival entitled Storytelling by the Sea on August 16th, 17th, and 18th, 2013.

For more information on Nailed to the Mast or Storytelling by the Sea, contact Wilson Museum at 207-326-9247 or