A Poetic Tribute to Civil War Women

Posted: 3/5/2012
Author: Laura June Davis
Women Volunteers Making Havelocks - Winslow Homer

Good Morning! Our Women's History Month celebration continues with Mary E. Nealy's 1864 poem written for the Indiana State Sanitary Fair: 

And our noble women, the soldier cries,
As he wipes with his sleeve his dimming eyes,
They send us clothing and food and books,
And kindest letters and sweetest looks,
And words of noble and lofty cheer!
And with these what craven [weak, cowardly] could think of fear?

It is this that mans us in battle's hour,
That nerves the arm and gives it power;
That makes the heart's blood fresher flow,
And gives to the bosom its noblest glow.
The women we love, the God on high—
They well know how we bravely do or die;
God bless our noble women!

They make the bandage, they scrape the lint,
And they can the fruit with no thought of stint;
They get up fairs for the soldier boys,
And buy with the profit ten thousand joys.

Their silken dresses are laid away,
To show their luster some other day;
For calico dresses are good enough
When the soldier, in shoddy, fares so rough;

And they keep at home the precious gold,
For their hearts for ribbons may not be sold.
They deck their hair with the wilding rose,
And for brooches fair truth in each bosom glows;

The piano practice, the 'broidery fine,
Are left for a work that is more divine;
For making the soldier clothes so warm,
And tending the hospitals home sweet home
God bless, God bless our noble women!

SourceSanitary Fair Bulletin (Indianapolis), October 4, 1864, No.1, p.1 courtesy of The Indiana Historical Bureau.

Image Credit: Harper's Weekly, June 29, 1861

 

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