From the recording Johnny's Gone for a Soldier

This is an Irish melody which came here early and was adapted for the Revolution, and still sung during the Civil War. It relates to all women left to wonder as their husbands leave for the battlefield. It's important to know that when the young wife offers to sell her spinning wheel and flax, she is making a very significant contribution to the war effort. The soldiers had to arm and outfit themselves and this often demanded great sacrifice from the family left behind.