The Copperheads, according to Mark Boatner in his Civil War Dictionary, were "Northern Democrats who opposed the Union's war policy and favored a negotiated peace" with the Confederacy. "[President Abraham] Lincoln assumed strong executive powers in suppressing them, including arrests, suspension of the press, suspension of habeas corpus, and censorship. Their organizations included the Knights of the Golden Circle, Order of American Knights and Sons of Liberty, and their strength lay mainly in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana."
As this poem expresses rather dramatically, the Copperheads were looked on as traitors, cowards, and Southern sympathizers.
This poem was found by Joel Craig of Joel Craig's Bivouac in the July 28, 1863, edition of the Poughkeepsie Eagle.