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In Their Own Words

April 10, 1865

Journal Entry on Singing to Soldiers

From Cuthbert, Ga., where she was visiting, Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her journal about the end of the Civil War:

“… The tableaux club met at Mrs. Joyner’s in the evening. Metta and I will not be in Cuthbert long enough to take part in the entertainment, but were admitted to the rehearsal. After the rehearsal some one suggested that we should go out serenading. There were several good voices in the party, and after calling at one or two private houses, somebody said it would be a good idea to go and cheer up the soldiers in the Hood Hospital, which was but a block or two away, with some war songs. The poor fellows were so delighted when they heard us that all who were able, dressed themselves and came out on the terraces, while others crowded to the windows and balconies. They sent a shower of roses down on us, and threw with them slips of paper with the names of the songs they wished to hear. We gave them first: ‘Cheer, boys, cheer, we march away to battle,” which pleased them so much that they called for it a second time. Then some one struck up ‘Vive L’Amour,’ and Mett gave an impromptu couplet: ‘Here’s to the boys in Confederate gray, Vive la compagnie, Who never their country nor sweethearts betray, Vive, etc.’ While the soldiers were clapping and shouting the chorus, two good lines popped into my head, and when the noise had subsided a little, I sang: ‘Here’s a toast to the boys who go limping on crutches, Vive la compagnie, They have saved our land from the enemies’ clutches, Vive, etc.’ I waved my hand at a group of brave fellows leaning on crutches, as I finished, and a regular rebel yell went up from the hospital grounds. Flowers were rained down from the windows, and I never was so delighted in my life - to think that my little knack of stringing rhymes together had served some good purpose for once. The soldiers clapped and shouted and rattled their crutches together, and one big fellow standing near me threw up his battered old war hat, and cried out: ‘Bully for you! give us some more!’ and then I added: ‘Here’s death to the men who wear Federal blue, They are cowardly, cruel, perfidious, untrue,’ etc. But after all, it looks as if the wretches are going to bring death, or slavery that is worse than death, to us. We may sing and try to put on a brave face, but alas! who can tell what the end of it all is to be?”

Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl: 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 139-141.