The gentlemen killed and the gentlemen died,
But she was the South’s incarnate pride
That mended the broken gentlemen
And sent them out to the war again,
That kept the house with the men away
And baked the bricks where there was no clay,
Made courage from terror and bread from bran
And propped the South on a swansdown fan
Through four long years of ruin and stress,
The pride–and the deadly bitterness.
Stephen Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body
Something for the weekend. Written in 1863 by Captain G. W. Alexander, The Southern Soldier Boy is a fitting tribute to the ragged warriors of the Confederacy who maintained an unequal struggle for four years and the women who loved and sustained them. During the War it was popularized by actress Sally Partington, the toast of Richmond, who would sing the song as part of the play The Virginia Cavalier. The above version is by Bobby Horton, who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War music to modern audiences.
Here is a version by Therese, a Swedish songtress, who does a superb job:
And here is Kathy Mattea’s unforgettable version: