“The Homespun Dress”

A couple days ago, I shared some poetry reflecting on the roles of Northern women who “went to the field.” Today, I thought it would be fair to feature a Southern poem/song for the ladies.

At first glance, The Homespun Dress focuses on a more traditional – some would say superficial – topic of clothing. A second glance reveals a sturdy undertone about weathering the hardtimes and saying good-bye to the soldier boys. While it’s a different tone than Barton’s poetry, this original piece explores another facet of women’s experiences, perceptions, and roles during the war. 

Oh, yes, I am a Southern girl,
And glory in the name,
And boast it with far greater pride
Than glittering wealth and fame.
We envy not the Northern girl
Her robes of beauty rare,
Though diamonds grace her snowy neck
And pearls bedeck her hair.

CHORUS: Hurrah! Hurrah!
For the sunny South so dear;
Three cheers for the homespun dress
The Southern ladies wear!

Sabria Clack with cased photograph of her husband, Private W.R. Clack, who served in 43rd Tennessee Infantry Regiment (Library of Congress – LC-DIG-ppmsca-34983)

The homespun dress is plain, I know,
My hat’s palmetto, too;
But then it shows what Southern girls
For Southern rights will do.
We send the bravest of our land
To battle with the foe,
And we will lend a helping hand–
We love the South, you know.–CHORUS

Now Northern goods are out of date;
And since old Abe’s blockade,
We Southern girls can be content
With goods that’s Southern made.
We send our sweethearts to the war;
But, dear girls, never mind–
Your soldier-love will ne’er forget
The girl he left behind.–CHORUS

Unidentified Southern lady her husband and baby (Library of Congress – LC-DIG-ppmsca-33455)

The soldier is the lad for me–
A brave heart I adore;
And when the sunny South is free,
And when fighting is no more,
I’ll choose me then a lover brave
From all that gallant band;
The soldier lad I love the best
Shall have my heart and hand.–CHORUS

Unknown Southern Lady, photograph cropped (Library of Congress – LC-DIG-ppmsca-49718)

The Southern land’s a glorious land,
And has a glorious cause;
Then cheer, three cheers for Southern rights,
And for the Southern boys!
We scorn to wear a bit of silk,
A bit of Northern lace,
But make our homespun dresses up,
And wear them with a grace.–CHORUS

And now, young man, a word to you:
If you would win the fair,
Go to the field where honor calls,
And win your lady there.
Remember that our brightest smiles
Are for the true and brave,
And that our tears are all for those
Who fill a soldier’s grave.–CHORUS

Unidentified woman holding a cased photograph of an unidentified soldier in Confederate uniform (Library of Congress – LC-DIG-ppmsca-31281)