Off to Fight the Demons of Northern Fanaticism
Though this scene was from Smithville (now Southport) North Carolina in 1861, similar groups of ladies presented their fathers, sons, brothers and husbands with flags to carry into battle against an invader.Bernhard Thuersam
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Off To Fight the Demons of Northern Fanaticism:
“Officers and Gentlemen of the Smithville Guards:
Standing on this beautiful greensward, with gay uniforms before me, and smiling faces around me, memories of the past crowd thick upon the mind. This soil was once crimsoned with the blood of our Revolutionary sires, “Twas here that General Ashes at the head of our brave Militia drove our British foes from old Fort Johnston.
Remember, Gentlemen, that upon the soil of Old Brunswick the first armed resistance was made to British Tyranny. Every foot of our soil is hallowed by the memories, and illustrated by the deeds of Moore, Ashe, Howe, Harnett and Waddell and a host of others equally brave of whose names and deeds history makes no mention. Their fame is your richest heritage. Oh! preserve and perpetuate it.
With this injunction, the ladies of Smithville, whose honored Representative I am, present you with this flag. We know that you will bear it bravely, for the soil of Brunswick does not produce cravens. You have our earnest prayers for success in all the affairs of life. We trust that sweet peace may ever smile upon our favored land. But should the stern war cry come, whether from Europe’s monarchy or from the demons of Northern fanaticism, remember your motto and “maintain your Constitutional rights at all hazards.”
Strike-till the last armed foe expires!
Strike-for your altars and your fires!
Strike-for the green graves of your sires,
God, and your native land.
Should this dire calamity befall us, the Women of Brunswick place their lives and honor in your keeping. Come back to us as conquerers, and we will bind the laurel around your brows. But should numbers overpower you, fall with your faces to the foe; and we will cherish your memories as household words. We will bedeck your graves with flowers and water them with our tears. Your graves will become Pilgrim Shrines, and our matrons will take their children there and reciting to them your glorious deeds, teach them how brave men die. I now resign this flag to your keeping.(Remarks made by 17-year old Sophia Drew as she presented a flag of the Confederacy to the Smithville Guard in 1861)