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Mary Vance's Scrapbook © Jennie Avila

Guitar and Vocal - Jennie Avila · Violins - Jay Ansill · Upright Bass - Ralph Gordon

This is the first song that emerged from the inspiring research partnership that evolved between Doug Bast and me. A Union soldier sent souvenirs to Miss Vance of Washington, PA, who preserved them. All of the souvenirs mentioned in the song are on display at Doug's Boonsborough Museum of History, MD. Mary Vance's scrapbook is also in the exhibit. The exact nature of the relationship between Miss Vance and the Union Soldier is not known, so I envisioned a formal courtship. This is the story that drew me into heartfelt Civil War history and a desire to give voice to the past.

My Dearest Mary Vance, take good care of this
It was given to me under difficult circumstances
I may be bold to say, I will return when this war ends
And with God's will someday we will be much more than friends
I am yours until then, my dearest Mary Vance

As I read his words, "Take good care of this"
I feel both hope and fear
My name is Mary, and he sends me souvenirs
Dried flowers from the southern sea
Strange Confederate currency
The seal from Virginia's library
What could be wrapped so delicately?

My Dearest Mary Vance, we Federals are proud to say
That a rebel could pass for a clod of dirt in gray
I met one face to face. Oh, I've been blinded by the Blue
Yet I'll fight, I'll stay, for our purpose here is true
I entrust this to you my dearest Mary Vance

Last fall a scrap of battle flag torn and charred made me cry
But then I laughed so hard when in his very next card
Entitled "The Spoils of War", he sent me a horse chestnut
He stole from Jefferson Davis's yard
Now as I read "Take good care of this"
I wonder at his plea for he knows
I cherish all his gifts

My Dearest Mary Vance, 'tis my enemies dying wish
A rebel grabbed my hand. He said, "Take good care of this"
A satin ribbon of pink tied around a tiny curl
Oh Mary do you think someday we'll bring a beautiful girl
Into a peaceful world
My Dearest Mary Vance, take good care of this