Song of the Southern Women

Good morning! Today’s Women’s History Month tribute is a poem written by Julia Mildred. Entitled, “Song of the Southern Women,” it is one example of how women struggled to help the war effort without actually participating in combat.

O ABRAHAM LINCOLN! We call thee to hark
To the song we are singing, we Joans of Arc;
While our brothers are bleeding we fear not to bleed,
We’ll face the Red Horror should there be need
By our brothers we’ll stand on the terrible field,
By our brothers we’ll stand, and we’ll ask for no shield;
By our brothers we’ll stand as a torch in the dark,
To shine on thy treachery, we Joans of Arc.

Behold our free plumes of the wild eagle dark,
Behold them, and take our white brows for thy mark;
We fear not thy canon, we heed not thy drum,
The deeper thy thunder the stronger we come.
Is woman a coward? No, no, she is brave!
Oh! nothing but love ever made her a slave;
In home’s happy circle she’s poetry lark,
But threaten that home and she’s Joan of Arc.

O Abraham Lincoln! we call thee to hark,
Thou Comet of Satan! Thou Boast of the Dark!
Take off thy red shadow from Washington’s land—
Back! back! for thy footstep is slavery’s brand.
Future-eyed prophecy cries to thee, Down!
For she sees on thy forehead the hope of a Crown;
The fire that sleeps in our Southern eyes dark,
Would lighten in the battle—we’re Joans of Arc.

Source: Mildred, Julia. “Song of the Southern Women” in Personal and Political Ballads edited by Frank Moore (1864) courtesy of Making of America.

Image Credit: “Confederate women and Yankeemen in Savannah, ‘The Wives and Daughters, and Servants of the Chivalry of Savannah Accepting Aid from the U. S. Commissary” from an 1865 edition of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper courtesy of the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

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