Other Alabamians shared Nott's patriotic zest for the new Confederacy. Henry Hotze, a newspaper editor from Mobile serving in the army, wrote after arriving in Virginia that the soldiers had been learning a new song titled "Dixie," the lyrics for which were being "plentifully distributed" on "slips" of paper, which Hotze predicted "will be preserved as historical relics, when the pretty girls who welcomed us shall have become grandmothers, and relate to the wondering little ones about the times when the first troops of Confederate volunteers came from the far South to fight the Yankee's [sic] on Virginian soil." Back in Alabama, those who could not fight also participated in the nationalistic fervor sweeping the South. The Southern Advocate reported that the Huntsville Guards "were presented with a rich and tasteful Silk Flag of the Confederate States…by the Pupils of the Huntsville Female College."
Yet even as Confederates across the South sewed flags and sent their young men to battle singing songs celebrating their new nation, in the aftermath of the Battle of Manassas, some of the glamour of war was already beginning to fade. One soldier, John Henry Cowin, wrote the day after the battle that he awoke "very tired and sore." While taking a walk, he "was witness to some awful scenes. Saw the wounded, shot in every portion of the body." By the end of 1861, Alabama's young men who had participated in the battle were beginning to realize the horror of war. Nevertheless, as Confederates prepared for another year of conflict, the memory of their victory at Manassas gave them hope that their dreams of independence would become reality in the near future.