In the aftermath of the Southern defeat, almost anything that smacked of the Confederacy was forbidden, including Rebel flags, uniforms, and military insignia. Uniform buttons were included in the ban and had to be either covered with fabric or removed entirely from a garment. Buttons immediately became a coveted item among the ladies, who did, indeed, make jewlery from them. One of the more spectacular sets consists of a necklace, bracelet, and earrings made entirely from the buttons of well-known generals and staff officers and is on display in the Museum of the Confederacy.
This poem was first published in The Metropolitan Record. It was later collected in The Southern Amaranth, compiled and edited by Sallie A. Brock of Richmond and published as a fundraiser in 1869. In her preface, Brock states "The design of this work was conceived in an individual desire to offer a testimonial of gratitude to the memories of the brave men who perished in the late ineffectual effort for Southern independence; as well as in a wish to render to my Southern sisters some assistance in gathering up the remains of the Confederate Dead, from the numberless battle-fields over which they were scattered, and placing them where the rude plowshare may not upturn their bleaching bones, and where sorrowing friends may at least drop a tear, and lay a flower upon the grass-covered hillocks that mark their resting places."
Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines an amaranth as "an imaginary flower supposed never to fade."
"Cutting Off the Buttons"
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Last modified 18-April-2001