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Carrie Bell Sinclair, "The Homespun Dress," 1862

Title

Carrie Bell Sinclair, "The Homespun Dress," 1862

Description

The popular Civil War song “The Homespun Dress” by Carrie Bell Sinclair exemplifies how gender roles infused war rhetoric. The song praises women for wearing homespun dresses in support of the war. Sinclair praises women’s support for the cause “The homespun dress is plain, I know, my hat’s palmetto too; / But then it shows what Southern girls for Southern rights will do.” Public and private combined in the use of homespun as polices. Women could not fully move into the realm of polices but no longer remand protected in the private sphere. The song also praises southern men “We have sent the bravest of our land to battle with the foe.” Women often praised men for being brave protector of the South. Throughout the song, Sinclair wrote that brave men in battle would win the heart of a lady. This statement enforced the norm that women wanted a protector who was brave. Even though the war nudged women closer, many women resisted the public sphere, opting for the private sphere. Sinclair praised her male protector “Then cheer, three cheers for Southern rights, and for the Southern boys.” The song ends on a somber note recognizing the sacrifice of the war “And that our tears are all for those who fill a soldiers grave.” Sinclair encouraged a man’s sacrifice in the public sphere to protect the homeland. Early in the war, women sacrificed their manufactured cloth for the war effort but later on the private sphere would have to give up so much more. “The Homespun Dress” shows the attitudes and roles of women early in the crisis. Women stayed in the domestic sphere to support their man by producing and wearing homespun.

Creator

Sinclair, Carrie Bell

Source

McWhirter, Christian L.. Battle Hymns : The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War.
Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Press, 2012. 84.

Date

1862-XX-XX

Contributor

Vanek, Elizabeth

Type

Document

Text

The Homespun Dress
Oh! yes, I am a Southern girl, and glory in the name,
And boast it with far greater pride than glittering wealth or fame.
We envy not the Northern girl, her robes of beauties 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.

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 have sent 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 sent our sweethearts to the war, but dear girls, never mind,
Your soldier love will ne’er forget the girl he left behind.
Chorus

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 out the gallant band,
The soldier lad I love the best shall have my heart and hand.
Chorus

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 such 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 soldiers grave.
Chorus
—CARRIE BELL SINCLAIR , “The Homespun Dress,” 1862

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homespund dress one.jpg
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Citation

Sinclair, Carrie Bell , Carrie Bell Sinclair, "The Homespun Dress," 1862, Civil War Era NC, accessed June 24, 2019, https://cwnc.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/items/show/850.