Southern Girl with the Homespun Dress

A proud declaration of self-sufficiency by “A Southern Lady”*, sung to the tune of “Bonnie Blue Flag”:

SouthernGirl-HomespunDress

*Abel’s Singing the New Nation (+ Waltz & Engle) relate how 500 people claimed authorship of these lyrics — a panel of judges ruled that Carrie Bell Sinclair composed the text.

Verse 3 gives passing reference to the marching tune “The Girl I Left Behind Me”… Also note the romantic goad of the last verse:

And now young man a word for you, if you would win the fair:
Go to the field where honor calls, and win your lady there.
Remember that our brightest smiles are for the true and brave,
And that our tears fall for the one that fills a soldier’s grave.

The Staunton Spectator (11 August, 1863) observed local women’s contributions to the southern war effort:

“On the small farms throughout this section all is life, activity and industry. Many a woman who never before held a plow, is now seen in the corn-field–many a young girl who would have blushed at the thought before of handling a plow-line, now naturally and unconsciously cries, “gee up Dobbin,” to the silvery tones of which the good brute readily responds, as if it were a pleasure to comply with so gentle a command.–Many a Ruth, as of old, is today binding and gleaning in the wheat-field, but, alas! no Bess is there to console or to comfort. The picture of the rural soldier’s home is at this time but a picure [sic] of primitive life. Throughout the country, at every farm house and cottage, the regular sound of the loom, as the shuttle flies to and fro, with the whirl of the spinning wheel, is heard, telling of home industry. Cotton fabrics, of neat, pretty figures, the production of home manufacture, are now almost wholly worn in Tennessee, instead of calicoes.” ~ http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/news/ss1863/va.au.ss.1863.08.11.xml 

Nancy Emerson’s diary (Augusta County, VA) noted the immediacy of violence and danger on the Southern home front (March 6, 1863):

“For months we were under frequent apprehensions that the Yankees would come in & get possession of the Valley, but the Lord mercifully preserved us from the danger, & has delivered us from the fear. In our circumstances it would probably have been death to some of us. How many pleasant homes have these barbarians desolated, strewing the gardens with fragments of glass & china, filling the air with feathers from the beds, hewing up for wood, or boxing them up to send home. How many churches have they polluted, how many graves desecrated. How have they soaked our soil with the blood of our noblest & best & then to cap the climax of injury & insult, talk of reconstructing the union May the righteous Lord plead our cause against an ungodly nation . . .” ~ http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/papers/EmeDiar 

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