Monday, September 14, 2020

Diary of Caroline Cowles Richards: May 1861

Many of the young men are going from Canandaigua and all the neighboring towns. It seems very patriotic and grand when they are singing, “It is sweet, Oh, 'tis sweet, for one's country to die,” and we hear the martial music and see the flags flying and see the recruiting tents on the square and meet men in uniform at every turn and see train loads of the boys in blue going to the front, but it will not seem so grand if we hear they are dead on the battlefield, far from home. A lot of us girls went down to the train and took flowers to the soldiers as they were passing through and they cut buttons from their coats and gave to us as souvenirs. We have flags on our paper and envelopes, and have all our stationery bordered with red, white and blue. We wear little flag pins for badges and tie our hair with red, white and blue ribbon and have pins and earrings made of the buttons the soldiers gave us. We are going to sew for them in our society and get the garments all cut from the older ladies' society. They work every day in one of the rooms of the court house and cut out garments and make them and scrape lint and roll up bandages. They say they will provide us with all the garments we will make. We are going to write notes and enclose them in the garments to cheer up the soldier boys.

It does not seem now as though I could give up any one who belonged to me. The girls in our society say that if any of the members do send a soldier to the war they shall have a flag bed quilt, made by the society, and have the girls' names on the stars.

SOURCE: Caroline Cowles Richards, Village Life in America, 1852-1872, p. 131-2

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