$5 Confederate Note with the Poem by Confederate Major Sidney Alroy Jonas Printed in Hand on the Back
According to the website, CivilWarPoetry.org: The poem on the framed piece found at the Museum at the Portage is called “Lines on a Confederate Note.” Following Confederate Gen. J.E. Johnston’s April 1865 surrender of his forces in North Carolina, Maj. Sidney Alroy Jonas penned these verses on the back of a half-printed $500 Confederate bill at the request of a young Northern lady who wanted to take the note home with her as a souvenir. The Daily Register could not find reference to the poem being on the state capitol in Richmond, Va., as referenced on the framed item.
Our note is a $5 Confederate bill and not the $500 one in the museum. The printing our note is in nice dark ink all in period hand. Whoever did it… possibly Jonas, did a meticulous job. You definitely need your glasses on! Of course, for display, this penmanship could be enlarged, and it tells a great story.
We do know that after Major Jonas did his penmanship, this poem was printed on some Confederate notes for a reunion as a souvenir. So, is ours an original Jonas note? All we can say is that it is a “period piece”… “with lots of character”.
Lines on the Back of a Confederate Note
Representing nothing on God’s earth now,
And naught in the waters below it,
As the pledge of a nation that’s dead and gone,
Keep it, dear friend, and show it.
Show it to those who will lend an ear
To the tale that this trifle can tell
Of Liberty born of the patriot’s dream,
Of a storm-cradled nation that fell.
Too poor to possess the precious ores,
And too much of a stranger to borrow,
We issued to-day our promise to pay,
And hoped to redeem on the morrow.
The days rolled by and weeks became years,
But our coffers were empty still;
Coin was so rare that the treasury’d quake
If a dollar should drop in the till.
But the faith that was in us was strong, indeed,
And our poverty well we discerned,
And this little check represented the pay
That our suffering veterans earned.
We knew it had hardly a value in gold,
Yet as gold each soldier received it;
It gazed in our eyes with a promise to pay,
And each Southern patriot believed it.
But our boys thought little of price or of pay,
Or of bills that were overdue;
We knew if it brought us our bread to-day,
‘Twas the best our poor country could do.
Keep it, it tells all our history o’er,
From the birth of our dream to its last;
Modest, and born of the Angel Hope,
Like our hope of success, it passed.
#D400 – Price $95