CUTTING OFF THE BUTTONS by Sallie A. Brock (writing as Virginia Madison)

Respectfully dedicated to the Knights of the Shears "Come out that grey!" a Yankee cried; "Excuse me," Johnny Reb replied, "For I have naught to wear beside"-- And his jacket quickly buttons. "That livery is disallowed," The Yankee lustily avowed, But Johnny most profoundly bowed, And fingered at his buttons. Nonplussed, the Yankees shook his head, And furious frowned, (discomfited), "If you won't doff that grey," he said, "Why, then,--I'll take your buttons!" The rarest fun that e'er was seen On "Terra Firma," was, I ween, When came the order startling--keen-- To cut off Rebel buttons. Where'er a grey-back showed his face, On the street or in the market-place, A Yankee armed at once gave chase, To cut off his brass buttons! Poor Johnny Reb! what could he do But tremble, and repentant view The flashing shears and knife so new, For cutting off his buttons? And like a lamb to slaughter led, At once he bowed his vanquished head, "Do as you will," he meekly said, And--"farewell, my poor buttons!" Alas! poor Johnny was forlorn As Samson when his locks were shorn; "I'll pin my jacket with a thorn, Since I'm allowed no buttons! "I've nary a red to buy a pin, Confederate scrip is not worth--tin, It is indeed a shameful sin To rob me of my buttons! "'Tis well 'tis summer time," groaned he, "Else I might freeze and die, you see, Bereft, I am, so suddenly, Of all my jacket buttons!" "The game is up" triumphant cried His hostile foe. "Oh no, not yet!" a voice replied, "You surely never have denied A lady, some brass buttons?" "Why never, no!" the gallant said, And paling white and blushing red, The hero of this valorous deed Delivered up the buttons. With a merry twinkle in her eye, The lady smiled and made reply-- "I thank you, sir! most heartily For these poor Rebel buttons!" From her pocket out a twine she drew, And strung them quickly in his view, And round her neck the necklace threw-- And a tear dropped on the buttons. "I love these relics, for they tell How long our poor boys fought, and well-- The story makes my proud heart swell, The story in these buttons!" And galvanized they now appear, Adorning many a shell-like ear, Of certain girls who dare to wear These precious, proscribed buttons. A brooch their spotless collar pins, Burnished, until like gold it shines, You'll see them all along "the lines," The Rebel girls in buttons. "Oppressed by might, and want and care, Meekly subdued" the "men," we hear, But bravely, and without a fear, The women wear the buttons.

Confederate button
Confederate staff officer's button

Postwar Remembrances

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Last modified 18-April-2001