Monday, September 9, 2013

Knitting for the Soldiers - Union poem

Fremont journal, (Fremont, Sandusky County OH) December 13, 1861 - Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. LOC

From the Cleveland Herald
Knitting for the Soldiers.

One eve I sat beside the grate, the time I well remember
The winds were moaning round the house, for it was bleak November,
And queer, quaint shadows, large and small, upon the walls were flitting:
And I sat by this fireside, for I was busy knitting.

And I was happy! Golden hours! Ah, fondly memory lingers,
I think of that soft, woolen yarn, fast slipping through my fingers,
A soldier’s sock, of fine grey yarn, my hands were quickly forming,
And round the house with dreary moan, the wintry winds were storming.

I thought, as fast my fingers flew, and formed the stout grey stitches,
Of our brave soldiers in the camps, on breastworks and in ditches:
Of sickness, hunger, fight and death, of TOES so cold and frozen,
(I do not think our ladies could a better task have chosen.)

I thought as on the needles flew, of where the socks were going;
Would they be on the battle-field, where the life-tide was flowing?
Or would the wearer, brave and young, dead on the field be lying;
When his brave comrades charged the foe, and sent them all a flying.

Perhaps a prisoner he’ll be, in a dungeon dark and lone,
Or, in a crowed hospital, he’ll breathe his last death moan,
Or, on a slow and weary march, o’er hill and stream he’ll go;
Or, on a level plain, he’ll stand, prepared to meet the foe.

The fire burned brightly, and I thought of these poor soldiers sitting
Around their fires, in camp at night, thankful for our knitting;
As I bent my head to seam, I thought how nice ‘twould be,
If I could know whose feet would wear, the socks t’were knit by me.

But then I thought, perhaps the foe may strip our noble slain,
And all the socks they take from them, we ne’er shall see again;
“Secesh” will have them! dreadful thought! my Union sprit rose,
I WILL NOT spend my precious time, in warming “secesh” toes.

And thus I sat, and knit, and thought, my sock kept growing longer,
And love for these poor soldier boys was meanwhile growing stronger;
God bless the many fingers that are busy in the land,
A working by their firesides, to clothe our soldier bands.
They’ve left their homes, and all that’s dear, this Union fair to save,
To keep for us our happy homes, or find themselves a grave;
And we, in peace and plenty now, are by our firesides sitting,
Can we not clothe their weary feet, with socks of OUR OWN knitting !

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