Wikipedia is not normally a preferred source of mine, but in using it as a starting point I came across this passage in the article on "Minstrel Show" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minstrel_show:
"Despite these pro-plantation attitudes, minstrelsy was banned in many Southern cities. Its association with the North was such that as secessionist attitudes grew stronger, minstrels on Southern tours became convenient targets of anti-Yankee sentiment."
Digging a little deeper into period sources, I was surprised at how little I could find related to minstrelsy in a paper like the "Richmond Daily Dispatch", and somewhat intrigued to find this in the "Daily True Delta" (New Orleans) of November 6, 1858:
"THE AMPHITHEATRE. -- While our contemporaries, the other morning, spoke in the main complimentary of the musical powers of the Buckley Serenaders, we stood alone in the expression of a 'ratherish' plain, and certainly a candid opinion, as to their merits, and of negro minstrelsy generally.
"Touching itinerant negro minstrels, few thoughtful persons can hold any other opinion than that sketched in the issue in which that opinion appeared. But aside from the lampblack and the ridiculousness of the efforts to give real imitations of the Southern negro, we were willing to test the Buckleys as mere singers, and could not see, when we applied a charitable test, that they could be called artists in their peculiar line...."
The passage from "the other morning" (November 4) elaborates the writer's general opinion:
"...For some years past, we have been accustomed to look upon negro minstrels as lamp-blacked Bedouins. To say that a Northern imitator of a Southern negro, is a capital imitator, is not up to the standard of truth... Nobody conversant with the city or plantation negro of Louisiana, will for a moment contend that the Buckleys, or the Campbells, at all aproach them in naturalness. The hearty, whole-souled laugh, the spontaneous jocundity, the swagger and *abandon of the real negro, can not be imitated to perfection..."
In other words, to the writer in the "True Delta," the minstrel show was a northern phenomenon that not only failed in its imitation of real black people, but was also pretty lame in its own terms.
So now I'm sort of left wondering how authentic it is to hear Confederate string bands or groups of Rebel soldiers around camp fires singing "Negro" dialect songs penned by northern white men and published in New York. Was the writer in the "True Delta" an anomaly, or did most southerners actually accept the fanciful northern stereotype? How typical would it be for a southern soldier to sing minstrel pieces like "Old Dan Tucker" rather than other kinds of songs and ballads, say "I Would Not Have Thee Young Again" or "My Mother's Bible"?