Based upon a German poem by Wilhelm Hauff (1802-1827): Die Schildewache, published in America before the Civil War. During that war, a translation as The Night Guard became Song N°6 in songbook War Songs For Freemen (Boston 1863), sold to be distributed among Union troops. It was collected by Professor Francis James Child, who once roamed through Germany, as always in search of song material.
Stoneman Family [cut during the famous Bristol Sessions (see: The Longest Train I Ever Saw); shelved until in 1987 the Country Music Foundation compiled these sessions on a double album; there's more to those sessions than just Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family]
Pop Stoneman [Ernest Stoneman solo]
Mac & Bob [as Midnight On The Stormy Sea; they might have released it under their full names (Lester McFarlane & Robert Gardner) for Vocalion in 1926]
Blue Sky Boys [as Midnight On The Stormy Sea]
Judy Collins [same melody in So Early, Early In The Spring]
Pentangle [as So Early In The Spring]
Ronny [B-side of Hohe Tannen as Steh ich in Finstrer Mitternacht; most of the time he re-arranged American folk, but this one came directly from his homeland Germany]
Johnny Cash [elements in San Quentin]
Mike Seeger [as Early In The Spring]
Johnny Cash ranked the Bristol Sessions as the most important in the history of country music and no wonder: they launched the career of his in-laws.