Many moons ago I'd stop in Fredericksburg for dinner and a stroll on the heights. I found it as expedient to linger in town for an hour or so as to continue north into the Washington rush hour on the drive from North Carolina to my parent's.
This time of year, as twilight fades through the trees and the lights appear down in the town center, the setting is as special as it is timeless.
Scamp, I wish I could have been in Fredericksburg on the anniversary, but I live too far, and as a teacher, really only have the luxury of travel in the summer. I came across something you may like, though: The following letter was written by Tally Simpson, 3rd South Carolina Infantry. Tally would not see another Christmas "roll around"--He was killed at Chickamauga the following year.
Camp near Fred'burg
Dec 25th 1862
My dear Sister
This is Christmas Day. The sun shines feebly through a thin cloud, the air is mild and pleasant, [and] a gently breeze is making music through the leaves of the lofty pines that stand near our bivouac. All is quiet and still, and that very stillness recalls some sad and painful thoughts. This day, one year ago, how many thousand families, gay and joyous, celebrating Merry Christmas, drinking health to absent members of their family, and sending upon the wings of love and affection long, deep, and sincere wishes for their safe return to the loving ones at home, but today are clad in the deepest mourning in memory to some lost and loved member of their circle. If all the dead (those killed since the war began) could be heaped in one pile and all the wounded be gathered together in one group, the pale faces of the dead and the groans of the wounded would send such a thrill of horror through the hearts of the originators of this war that their very souls would rack with such pain that they would prefer being dead and in torment than to stand before God with such terrible crimes blackening their characters. Add to this the cries and wailings of the mourners - mothers and fathers weeping for their sons, sisters for their brothers, wives for their husbands, and daughters for their fathers - [and] how deep would be the convictions of their consciences. Yet they do not seem to think of the affliction and distress they are scattering broadcast over the land. When will this war end? Will another Christmas roll around and find up all wintering in camp? Oh! That peace may soon be restored to our young but dearly beloved country and that we may all meet again in happiness.