[1850:] Mr. Burford zeigte alsbald der Gesellschaft an, daß er Volkslieder singen werde. The black-eyed Susan und The girl I left behind me klingen mir noch im Ohr; ich habe Ähnliches zum Glück nie wieder gehört. (Theodor Fontane, The Hospitable English House)
[1972:] Any song which becomes popular with the Army eventually gains a wider circulation among the people, and every campaign produces a hit song which is likely to outlive the political consequences of the military action. This song is still one of the most popular army songs ever, and can reliably be dated from 1758. (Notes Ian Campbell Folk Group, 'Something To Sing About')
[1973:] As a dance tune this is usually known as Brighton Camp from the words in the second verse. There are scores of parodies to the tune, most of them bawdy - which since the folk hates to change its habits indicates the words were once less decorous than printed by Chappell in his "Popular Music of Olden Time". (Dallas, Wars 49)
[1992:] After the Battle of
Cerro Gordo, [General] Santa Anna was so hotly pursued by the U.S.
troops that he had to abandon his splendid private carriage, $70,000
in silver and his cork leg. The U.S. troops liked this [and sang a
parody 'The Leg I Left Behind Me']. (RG, UWP Archive, http://www.leo.org/)
[1998:] Text from The Charms of Melody, n.d., Dublin, issue #72 [...] approximately of 1805-6, and this appears to be the oldest text yet found. However, in a songbook, The New Whim of the Night, or the Town and Country Songster for 1799, is a song "The Girls we love so dearly" 'Written by R. Rusted, Tune - The Girl I left behind me.' [...]
Wm. Chappell in Popular Music of the Olden Time had much to say about "The girl I left behind me" being connected with "Brighton Camp" and being an 18th century song, none of which has been subsequently verified, and if one studies Chappell carefully one sees he gives no solid information that would prove an 18th century date for text or tune. James J. Fuld, The Book of World Famous Music, tracked down the earliest known copy of the tune, that in Himes' Pocket Book for the German Flute, Dublin, n.d [c 1810], and notes the text "Blyth Camps, or the Girl I Left Behind Me" in Bell's Rhymes of the Northern Bards, 1812. Fuld points out that "Brighton Camp Quick March", 1792, is not the same tune.
The tune appears as "Brighton Camp or the Girl I Left Behind Me" in Riley's Flute Melodies, I, #349, New York, n.d. , but much yet remains unexplained regarding the history of this song and tune, and its connection to "Brighton Camp". (Bruce Olson, http://www.erols.com/olsonw)