Thursday, March 15, 2012

Confederate poems about knitting during the Civil War

Charleston Mercury, October 24, 1861, Fayetteville Observer (TN) Nov 1861 &
War Songs of the South 1862
Edited by
Correspondent Richmond dispatch.
Pg. 177


Knitting for the soldiers!
How the needles fly!
Now with sound of merriment,
Now with many a sigh.

Knitting for the soldiers!
Panoply for feet—
Onward bound to victory,
Rushing on retreat.

Knitting for the soldiers!
Wrinkled, aged crone
Plying flying needles.
By the ember stone.

Crooning ancient ballads,
Rocking to and fro:
In you sage divining
Say where these shall go.

Jaunty set of stockings,
Neat from tip to toe,
March they with the victor
Lei with vanquished low.
Knitting for the soldiers!
Matron—merry maid,
Many and many a blessing,
Many a prayer is said,

While the glittering needles
Fly “around-around,”
Like to Macbeth’s witches,
On enchanted ground.

Knitting for the soldiers
Still another pair!
And the feet that wear them
Speed they onward—where?

To the silent city
On their trackless way?
Homeward—bearing garlands?
Who of us shall say?

Knitting for the soldiers!
Heaven bless them all!
Those who win the battle—
Those who fighting fall.

Might our benedictions
Speedily win reply,
Early would they crown ye
All with victory!

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.

Savanna [GA] Republican, October 19, 1863
Socks for the Soldiers
By Carrie Bell Sinclair
Oh women of the sunny South
                We want you in the field;
Not with a soldier's uniform,
                Nor sword, nor spear, nor shield;
But with a weapon quite as keen—
                The knitting needle bright—
And willing hands to knit for those
                Who for our country fight. 
Then let the cry go far and near
                And reach you every one—
Socks!  socks are needed—send them on
                For every gallant son!
Shall those who bear the Summer's heat,
                And Winter's cold and rain,
Barefooted trudge o'er bleeding fields,
                Our liberty to gain? 
No!  Georgia's daughters will arise,
                And answer to the call;
We'll send you socks for our brave boys,
                Some large, and others small.
With every stitch we'll pray that God
                Will shield each gallant form;
And while they fight with willing hands
                We'll work to keep them warm. 
Our brave boys shall not bear alone
                The burden of the day,
We'll toil for them with willing hands,
                And watch, and hope, and pray!
With useful hands to work at home,
                And fighting men abroad,
We'll conquer if we only place
                A holy trust in God. 
We cannot sit with idle hands,
                And let our brave boys fight;
Not while the motto on each heart
                Is Liberty and Right!
What though we cannot wield the sword,
                We're with you, hand and heart,
And every daughter of the South
                Will bravely act her part. 
We're in the field—then send us thread,
                As much as you can spare,
And socks we'll furnish for our troops,
                Yea, thousands through the year.
Ho for the knitting needle, then,
                To work without delay.
Hurrah! we'll try our best to knit
                A pair of socks a day!

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