Friday, September 23, 2011

Confederate colors

My diary North and South, by Sir William Howard Russell, 1863
A small war is waged by the police recently appointed by the Federal authorities against the women, who exhibit much ingenuity in expressing their animosity to the stars and stripes--dressing the children, and even dolls, in the Confederate colors, and wearing the same in ribbons and bows.

The Rebellion Record: edited by Frank Moore, 1863
Newport, Kentucky, June 20.--A daughter of Captain Semmes, commander of the famous rebel pirate Sumter, attended a wedding a Saint Paul's Church, night before last, enveloped in a scarf of rich material, bearing the confederate colors, red and white, arranged in bars or stripes.--Cincinati Commercial, June 20.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Red, white and blue...

The United Service Magazine, Vol. 96, pg 438

A Yankee Army Wedding
Miss Sarah Beesely, one of the daughters of the Rhode Island Regiment, became the wife of Mr. Charles Tibbets, private in the same Corps. The bride was dressed in Bloomer costume, with blue pants, cherry coloured blouse, and white felt hat, with white plume, making up the national colours--red, white, and blue.

Sounds like a cute little outfit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Southern Poem

Savannah Republican, GA, January 16, 1862

There’s but one Pair of Stockings to Mend To-night.

An old wife sat by her bright fire-side,
Swaying thoughtfully to and fro,
 In an ancient chair whose creaky craw
Told a tale of long ago;
Wile down by her side on the kitchen floor,
Stood a basket of worsted balls – a score.

The good man dozed o’er the latest news,
Till the light of his pipe went out;
And unheeded, the kitten with cunning paws,
Rolled out and tangled the balls about;
Yet still sat the wife in the ancient chair,
Swaying to and fro in the fire-light glare.

But anon, a misty tear-drop came
In her eyes of faded blue,
Then trickled down in a furrow deep,
Like a single drop of dew;
So deep was the channel – so silent the stream,
The good man saw naught but the dim’d eyebeam.

Yet marveled he much that the cheerful light
Of her eye, had weary grown,
And marveled he more at the tangled balls-
So he said in a gentle tone:
“I have shared thy joys since our marriage vow,
Conceal not from me thy sorrows now.”

Then she spoke of the time when the basket there
Was filled to the very brim,
And now there remained of the goodly pile
But a single pair – for him;
Then wonder not at the dimmed eye-light;
There’s but one pair of stockings to mend to-night.

I cannot but think of the busy feet,
Whose wrappings were wont to lay
In the basket awaiting the needle’s tines –
Now wandered so far away;
How the sprightly steps to a mother dear
Unheeded fell on the careless ear.

For each empty nook in the basket old,
By the hearth there’s an empty seat;
And I miss the shadows form off the wall,
And the patter of many feet;
“Tis for this that a tear gathered over my sight;
At the one pair of stockings to mend to-night.

“Twas said that far through the forest wild
And over the mountains bold,
Was a land whose rivers and darkening caves,
Were gemmed with the fairest gold;
Then my first-born turned from the oaken door,
And I knew the shadows were only four.

Another went forth on the foaming wave
And diminished the basket’s store –
But his feet grew cold – so weary and cold –
They’ll never be warm any more –
And this nook in its emptiness, seemeth to me,
To give forth no voice but the moan of the sea.

Two others have gone towards the setting sun,
And made them a home in its light,
And fairy fingers have taken their share,
To mend by the fire-side bright;
Some other baskets their garments fill –
But mine! Oh! mine is emptier still.

Another – the dearest – the fairest – the best –
Was taken by the angels away,
And clad in a garment that waxeth not old,
In a land of a continual day.
O! wonder no more at the dimmed eye-light,
While I mend the one pair of stockings to-night.

Helen and Mary

I've been researching poetry and verse about knitting during the American Civil War. This is an early one from the North. I have not discovered as many poems from the South...but I know they are out there.

The Ladies’ Repository, Vol. 22, 1862
Pg. 368

Helen and Mary, by Josephine Pollard

“Nonsense, Helen: there’s no reason
         Why you should remain alone;
Nothing in the world to hinder—
         Every moment is your own:
You can lounge, or walk, or visit,
         Taking comfort as you go;
Come and see me often, Helen,
         I am seldom out, you know.

Household cares are so engrossing,
         And my children are so small,
I have very little freedom,
         Scarcely time to make a call;
But there’s nothing to prevent you,
         ‘Tis no task to grant this boon;
Come and see me often, Helen,
         Come and see me very soon.”

“True, no children cling around me,
         Claiming mother’s love and care;
Though no household cares distract me,
         Duties spring up every-where.
In such times as these, dear Mary,
         Want at many a threshold stands;
There is work to do in plenty—
         Could I sit with folded hands?

Those brave men who have gone forward
         For our country’s flag to fight,
Need warm garments to protect them
         Through the wintery day and night.
Women’s hands must labor for them;
         Women’s hearts must send good cheer
To the homes where widows languish:
         Soothing many an orphan’s tear.

Mary, I’ve no heart to visit;
         I’m not idle, though you say
I have plenty leisure moments,
         Duties spring up every day.
Here are soldiers’ socks to finish
Coverlets to baste and tack;
Slippers waiting for the binding;
            Shirts and blankets yet to pack.

While brave men have left their firesides
            To endure want, woe, and pain,
We should practice self-denial
            Till sweet Peace returns again.
When these troublous times are over,
            When with palms we deck the brow
I will come and see you, Mary,
            Every day; but, O, not now.”