X: 1 T:Sackett's Harbor S:via Phil Rowe N:Nottingham Music Database http://www.cs.nott.ac.uk/Department/Staff/ef/database.html M:2/2 L:1/8 K:Am |: A4 | EGAB A2AB | cBAG B2E2 | G2G2 GABc | dcBc dcBc | EGAB A2 AB | cBAG B2E2 | cdcA BcBG | A2 A2 :| |: ABcd |edcd e2g2 | edcB A2Bc | dcBc d2g2 | dcBA G2cd | edcd e2g2 | edcB A4 | cdcA BcBG | A2A2 :|]
SACKETT'S HARBOR. American, Reel (cut time). A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Silberberg): AABB (Songer). It is thought the title refers to the town of Sackett's Harbor at the eastern end of Lake Ontario that was the headquarters of the American fleet on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. The dance references a successful American effort in May, 1814, to evade a British naval blockade.
There is a popular contra dance called Sackett's Harbor, the directions for which were printed in Boston publisher Elias Howe's Ball Room Hand Book (1858), although it appears in that edition under the title Speed the Cable. However, n 1862 edition of the same book gives its name as Steamboat Quickstep. A volume called The Ball-Room Manual of Contra Dances and Social Cotillons, with Remarks on Quadrilles and Spanish Dance published in Belfast, Maine, by H.G.O. Washburn, and in Boston by G.W. Cottrell in 1863 gives the title of the dance as Sackett's Harbor. All of which indicates the dance was popular, but took some time for one name for it to rise to prominence. However, by the 20th century Sackett's Harbor seems to have been the primary name, and was usually performed to the tune "Steamboat Quickstep/Washington's Quickstep" (although other melodies were occasionally used for it).