Successful Campaign

The version of Successful Campaign which we dance was written down by George Bush during the Revolutionary War.  It is reported that George Washington danced a version of this dance in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1781.  

Successful Campaign was a very popular tune for country dancing on both sides of the Atlantic. The tune, variously known as “The Successful Campaign”, “A Successful Campaign”, “Success to the Campaign” and “Bath Frolick”, was first published with dance instructions in London in John Walsh’s Twenty-Four Country Dances (1764) and reprinted, under the title “The Successfull Campaign or Bath Frollick”, in both Thompson’s Twenty-Four Country Dances (1769) and Thompson’s 200 Country Dances, volume III (1773).

This tune was very popular in the American colonies by the 1770s and possibly earlier. The earliest written dance directions we have found in North America are from George Bush’s manuscript, written during the Revolutionary War.  Dance figures to this tune are also found in Asa Wilcox’s Book of Figures, compiled in 1793 as well as John Trumbull’s Gentleman & Lady’s Companion; containing, the Newest Cotillions and Country Dances; To Which is Added, Instances of Ill Manners, to be carefully avoided by Youth of both sexes, Norwich, CT: 1798.  The tune was included in many different colonial American manuscripts from the Revolutionary era through the end of the century.

If you want to know more about the tune see

This is how the Wayside Inn Steppers do this dance.  This version is taken from Social Dances from the American Revolution, by Hendrickson and Keller:

Successful Campaign
  • A1  First couple chassee down the outside
  •        First couple set into the center
  •        First couple chassee up the center
  •        First couple cast off one couple
  • A2  Second couple do the same as above (Note: This brings everyone back to where they started)
  • B1  First corners two hand turn halfway
  •        Second corners two hand turn halfway
  •        First and second couples circle four hands around to the left halfway
  •        First couple casts off, second couple leads up
  • B2  First and second couples do Rights and Lefts
As this dance is from late in the century, we use the skip-change step when we are not using a chassee step.

Here is the original wording from Bush:
Slip down two Couple out side, lead up the middle/cast off one Couple, secd. couple do the same, first/Gentleman, turn second lady half round, first Lady/do the same with second Gentlemn, four hands half round/cross over one Couple Right & Left at Top.

Here is the original wording from Wilcox:
Cast down two Couple lead up two Couple cast Down one 2nd Couple do the Same turn contrary part-ners half round four hands round cross over one Couple. right & left at top –

Here is the original wording from Trumbull:
Down the outside, lead up and cast off one couple, second couple ditto, turn contrary partners half way round, cross over one couple, right and left.

Here is the original wording from Thompson:
Foot it and half right and left the same back/again hands round four across the same/back again cross over two Cu. lead up to the top and cast off hand four round at bottom/right and left at Top lead out Side

Here is the sheet music for the tune:

Here is the tune for you to listen to:

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