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 Posted: Sat Dec 14th, 2013 02:44 pm
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Old Blu
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I hope all will join in with the stories of the Soldiers lives during Christmas Seasons in the Civil War.
My first is from the Regimental Series of the 52nd Virgina Infantry on the Allegheny Mountain page 10.

"Our cabins are very comfortable. We have two rows of bunks on each side of
the room... One row above the other... Are just as wide as our house at home
and nearly as long... 18 feet. Thousands of families are raised in worse
houses.... The men are all busy, some fortifying, some chopping down timber,
some building cabins... Our bakery will start this week and then we will have
good bread.. – Capt. Hottel."



 Posted: Mon Dec 16th, 2013 03:27 am
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Some Christmas entries from my research of the history of the 139th PA Volunteers:

December 25, 1862
I rote part of this yesterday and now sit down to finish it on Christmas morning after finishing a breakfast of iron pies and fat pork. I expect you had something good this morning but I am content with my breakfast although it is hard.
I am well off compared to some of the brave boys who were well off and in good heart some ten days ago. I hope you will have a merry day.
The boys is all well as far as I know. I think john belles was in the same fight that I was in. I heard the 63 Rgt was in ahead of us but I did not see him nor have I heard from him since I came to the army.

Preserve It Reader In Remembrance of Me
Bardnell pgs 38-39

****

December 1863
· Just after the men settled into their quarters near Brandy Station, Virginia, the holidays were upon them. While some, such as Albert Harper, managed to secure furloughs for Christmas and New Years, most of the men celebrated in Camp.
o On the twenty-eighth, William Dunlap wrote to his sister about the holiday meal. He told his sister, “I spent a plasant [sic] Christmas. I had bread, butter, sausage and .. tea.”
o Robert Guyton concurred with his friend from Perrysville, saying that “Christmas passed off pretty well here.” Nonetheless, Guyton also wrote home that, “some of the boys got a little too much Whiskey by some means and consequently there was a good many knock downs one place and another but I did not here of anybody being seriously hurt.”[4]
Sam Bartlett theses

***

Sunday Christmas Dec 25/ 64 - This is the birthday of our Saviour but we have paid very little attention to it in a religious way. Last night a party of officers from the 49th PA came to my quarters with the band and gave me some fine music. Just as they left a party of officers from the 37th Mass came and gave me a serenade. I invited them in and entertained them the best that I could. About midnight CO F (a new company) arrived in command of Capt John Jeffreys. This gives me six full Companies, and I now have one of the largest regiments in the brigade. About two oclock this morning I turned in for a sleep. This morning it being Sunday was well as Christmas we held our usual inspection, and then I took a ride and dined with some friends. It does not seem much like Sunday or Christmas, for the men are hauling logs to build huts. This is a work of necessity, for the quarters we have been using are not warm enough. This is my fourth Christmas in the army. I wonder if it will be my last.

Elisha Hunt Rhodes pg 194-195



 Posted: Mon Dec 16th, 2013 01:17 pm
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Sure is an eye opener to read what actually happened 150 years ago to the Fighting Men!



 Posted: Mon Dec 16th, 2013 01:38 pm
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Winter of 1862 – 63. The 52nd rotated with other regiments of the brigade in standing
Beckett along the Rappahannock River.

"We have some right rough weather here a few days back. It snowed several snows. The
deepest was about 6 inches deep... We got our houses done before it said in:. We have is
comfortable quarters as we had on the Allegheny mountain. It appears to be more healthy
here than on the Allegheny Mountains. At least the health of the regiment is better now...
We go on picket once in eight days we go 10 miles. Our post are in sight of Port Royal. Our
whole regiment goes at a time and stage 3 days at a time. We have pickets 15 or 20 miles
along the Rappahannock River. We go on post right on the river bank. Sometimes can see
the Yankees riding and walking on the other side. Our reserve is left of about 1 mile and a
half in the rear. We have about 50 prisoners the guardhouse now and they are still coming
in. (Men who had been absent without leave.)-Kersh. Page 31.

The appeals for clothing continued to be answered throughout the winter. Harmon wrote his
hometown paper on March 6 thanking miss. E. T. Hangar and the Soldiers Aid Society of
Waynesboro for a barrel of socks and shirts. – Page 32.

The members of the 52nd showed their concern for the destitute citizens of Fredericksburg
who had been driven from their homes with only the cloths on their backs. Their homes lay
in ruins. They were living in the nearby woods in tents and cabins in this stressful
conditions. A member of the 52nd wrote to the vindicator that the officers and men of the
regiment had donated $439 toward their relief. Other Confederate units had done likewise. – Page 32

The brigade had moved closer to Fredericksburg during March. The regiment is a camp
above the road about 2 miles from Hamiltons crossing. – 32 Col. (extra Billy) Smith,
recovered from his wounds, was promoted to brigadier general and resume command of the
brigade. – Page 33

Last edited on Mon Dec 16th, 2013 01:47 pm by Old Blu



 Posted: Mon Dec 16th, 2013 07:27 pm
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This is coming from Patricia Mitchell's Civil War Celebrations from a Charles James Winston who served in Co. G, 11th Virginia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia. He was writing home from Centerville on December 27, 1861. From pages 16 and 17:

"We received your kind favor Exas [Xmas] eve, also the box which came in good order. Capt. Otey also received the barrel of pickle which was busted open. Most of the vinegar was out, but the barrel was about 2/3 full of pickle which are very fine. and the boys seem to enjoy them very much, and for which we return you all many thanks.... Mr. Burks of Lynchburg got our company a Xmas treat and the citizens sent it down the day before yesterday, so we had a fine dinner yesterday. We had quite a variety of meats and deserts and plenty of hot apple toddy to drink it down.... We had a very ple[a]sant time... The were several very appropriate toast[s] dr[ u]nk. We enjoyed the day finely, it being so different from any other we havespent or ever expect to. Little did I think one year ago that we would be on the tented field accustomed to the cannons Roar, the muskets rattle and wield shrick of the warier [wild shriek of the warrior]. We have orders to move our horses inside of the Breast Wors, that is our present encampment, We will commence tomorrow. The weather is very cold and we will have a tough time of it. Will was at a party at the Powhatan troop yesterday....

"We have just finish another little dinner party given by tent No. 3 at some o the members o the Powhaton troop. We had 5 gal. of the best apple toddie in the first place: In the second place we had 2 1/2 gal. of egg nog -- the best you ever sent them. We eat dinner. We had ham [,] turkey, chickens, cornd beef, 2 kinds of pickle, three kinds of cake, three kind of pies, and etc. Well may we enjoy such a dinner when we pause for a moment and think how did we happen toget it! Sent to us by kind friends, Aunts, sisters, sweethearts, and last but not least dear and beloved mothers, all of whom we can never forget, while there exist a grain of sand on the sea shore."


And there's a little more from Winston on page 17 that's separated from the above. Either it's part of the same letter or part of a different letter. Mitchel's notes in the back of the book does place it in the same set of correspondence, so my guess would be it's from the same letter:

"Tom Harvey received a box last night with a 1/2 gallon of fine Apple Brandy so we had a fine bucket of Eggnog this morning. But the dull monotony of camp still held its sway. Oh how much would like to be with you all to enjoy the quiet and piece [sic] of home once more...."

Last edited on Mon Dec 16th, 2013 07:28 pm by Hellcat



 Posted: Mon Dec 16th, 2013 08:10 pm
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Hellcat wrote: This is coming from Patricia Mitchell's Civil War Celebrations from a Charles James Winston who served in Co. G, 11th Virginia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia. He was writing home from Centerville on December 27, 1861. From pages 16 and 17:

"We received your kind favor Exas [Xmas] eve, also the box which came in good order. Capt. Otey also received the barrel of pickle which was busted open. Most of the vinegar was out, but the barrel was about 2/3 full of pickle which are very fine. and the boys seem to enjoy them very much, and for which we return you all many thanks.... Mr. Burks of Lynchburg got our company a Xmas treat and the citizens sent it down the day before yesterday, so we had a fine dinner yesterday. We had quite a variety of meats and deserts and plenty of hot apple toddy to drink it down.... We had a very ple[a]sant time... The were several very appropriate toast[s] dr[ u]nk. We enjoyed the day finely, it being so different from any other we havespent or ever expect to. Little did I think one year ago that we would be on the tented field accustomed to the cannons Roar, the muskets rattle and wield shrick of the warier [wild shriek of the warrior]. We have orders to move our horses inside of the Breast Wors, that is our present encampment, We will commence tomorrow. The weather is very cold and we will have a tough time of it. Will was at a party at the Powhatan troop yesterday....

"We have just finish another little dinner party given by tent No. 3 at some o the members o the Powhaton troop. We had 5 gal. of the best apple toddie in the first place: In the second place we had 2 1/2 gal. of egg nog -- the best you ever sent them. We eat dinner. We had ham [,] turkey, chickens, cornd beef, 2 kinds of pickle, three kinds of cake, three kind of pies, and etc. Well may we enjoy such a dinner when we pause for a moment and think how did we happen toget it! Sent to us by kind friends, Aunts, sisters, sweethearts, and last but not least dear and beloved mothers, all of whom we can never forget, while there exist a grain of sand on the sea shore."


And there's a little more from Winston on page 17 that's separated from the above. Either it's part of the same letter or part of a different letter. Mitchel's notes in the back of the book does place it in the same set of correspondence, so my guess would be it's from the same letter:

"Tom Harvey received a box last night with a 1/2 gallon of fine Apple Brandy so we had a fine bucket of Eggnog this morning. But the dull monotony of camp still held its sway. Oh how much would like to be with you all to enjoy the quiet and piece [sic] of home once more...."


I bet they did have a ball with that Apple stuff!!  +_



 Posted: Tue Dec 17th, 2013 04:55 am
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Hey, you did say stories of soldiers lives during the Christmas season :D.

Think I'll stick to 1861 for this next one, but will go with a Federal officer. How about from Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, pages 168-169:

Guard-Tent Second Massachusetts
Camp Hicks, near Frederick, Md, 31/2 o'clock, A.M.
December 25, 1861

Dearest Mother,

It is Christmas morning, and I hope it will be a happy and merry one for you all, though, it looks so stormy for our poor country, one can hardly be in a merry humour.

I should be very sorry to have a war with England, even if we had a fine army, instead of a pack of politicians for officers, with their constituents for rank and file; and all the more so, of course, thinking that we shall have to take many "whoppings" before we are worth much. War isn't declared yet but it doesn't it look very much like it to every one at home? Here, we have made up our minds that we shall have much more soldiering to do than we expected when we started. I think we may as well consider ourselves settled for life, if we are to have a war with England!

My Christmas Eve has been very much like many other eves during the last six months. On the whole, I have passed quite a pleasant night, though what our men call the "fore-part" of it was principally occupied in taking care of two drunken men (one of tem with a broke pate), and in tying a sober one to a tree. After this was over, I did a goo deal of reading, and, towards 1 o'clock, A.M., had some toast and hot coffee,--having previously invited my Sergeant to take a nap, so that I might not be troubled by hungry eyes, and made to feel mean, for there wasn't enough to give any way. The drummer (who, with the Sergeant of the Guard, for some reason which I never discovered, sits and sleeps in the officers' tent) kept groaning in his sleep, and I couldn't help imagining that his groan always came in just as I took a bite of toast, or a large gulp of coffee. This diminished my enjoyment; and when he suddenly said, "Martha! there isn't any breakfast," I was certain that my proceedings were influencing his dreams!

It began to snow about midnight about midnight, and I suppose no one ever had a better chance of seeing "Santa Claus"; but, as I had my stockings on, he probably thought it not worth his while to come down to the guard-tend. I didn't see and of the guard's stockings pinned outside their tent, and indeed it is contrary to army regulations for them to divest themselves of any part of their clothing during the twenty-four hours.

Please ask Father to bring me a pocket-revolver, if he can get it, when he comes,--one small enough to carry in the breast-pocket. Also, tell the girls that Harry would be very much obliged if they would send him seventy or eighty pairs of mittens. I heard him say he would like to have some. The men were all glad to get them, though, as usual, they didn't express their thanks. They get so many things that they are spoilt, and think they have a right to all these extras. Thirteen dollars per month, with board, lodging, and clothes, is more than nine men out of ten could make at home. Poor soldiers! poor drumsticks! But this is not the sort of language for me to use, who am supposed to stand in the light of half mother to the men of my company. I should like about fifteen more pairs mittens; and some warm flannel shirts and drawers would be very useful, if there are any spare ones. "Uncle Sam's" are miserable things. "Merry Christmas" and love to all, dear Mother. I suppose Sue is at Mrs. Schuyler's. I am so glad she is coming with you next month! Alex. and Annie will be here next week.

Your loving son,
Robert G. Shaw.



 Posted: Wed Dec 18th, 2013 03:45 am
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Ok, how about we play The 12 Days of Christmas 1864 style. This is going to be from The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865 pages 54 to 56. Which will put it in the diary of 1st Sergeant Samuel Clear, Co. K 116th Penn. Infantry. At the time the 116th was a part of the siege of Petersburg:

Wednesday, Decr 14th

Still cold. Sergt Sembower and myself carried mud, warmed water and made mortar and stopped all the holes in our tent, we feel very comfortable.

Thursday, Decr 15th

Still the same old thing, no change worthy of note.

Friday, Decr 16th

To day the whole division was ordered out to see the execution of three deserters. We moved about half a mile to the rear of our camp and formed in hollow square. The men looked clean and nice, their guns glistened in the sun which shines nice, but the air is raw and cold. At half past eleven we heard the brass band strike up the dead march and move slowly from Division Head Quarters. The Gallows was already up and the graves dug and the men could look down in them as they was led up the steps of the Gallows, on they came and passed through a gap that was made through the Square. First came the band then the three poor devils and then a file of twelve men before and twelve behind -- They was led up under each rope. Then the priest (for they were Catholics) went to them and pow wayed a while and then the ropes was tied around the neck and a white cap was drawn down over the head to the shoulder, arms tied behind them and legs tied together. While this was going on you could hear the boys talking in this way, desert us will you, fight against us will you -- Old Phil Sheridan happened to know you did he -- a little bit sorry for what you have done ain't you. I will bet the little fellow dies game. I know by the way he stands, that big one says another is such a calf he can hardly handle stand. Some one cold and teeth chattering. I wish they would hurry and not keep us waiting here all day gaping at them Sons of B------. Now a fellow stands under with a big wooden mallet ready to Knock out the stanchion at 12 O'Clock, he gets the signal, out goes the prop and down goes the three poor fellows about three feet but they stop suddenly and commence to struggle. It is an awful sight, I will stop here. -- As the word is attention, right face -- forward -- file right -- march. And off we go, I think no more of it until we get our dinners, as that is the next thing on the programme.

Saturday, Decr 17th

All busy cleaning up for inspection at 2 O'Clock . Inspection is over, Co C all O.K. Twelve sick men sent back out of our regiment. Capt Weltner came up.

Sunday, Decr 18th

We had the usual Co inspection, we got our dress coats this evening.

Monday Decr 19th

We all got in line to receive Genl U. S. Grant and lady, but it was too cold for them and they did not make their appearance -- very cold.

Tuesday, Decr 20th

Things look like a short stay, officers and men fixing up for the winter. I went over to Division Head Quarters to see the guard mount, all guards has to go there and be inspected, of the Whole Division.

Wednesday, Decr 21st

Very wet and muddy to day, rained all last night and until noon to day, we have a bad looking camp.

Thursday, Decr 22nd -- near Yellow house

Cold this morning, the rain has stopped, the air is getting cold. All quiet in front, we have the regular old routine of camp life.

Friday Decr 23rd

We drew new clothing to day and the boys all have a full suit, and we need them for it is a good deal winter here.

Saturday, Decr 24th

Nothing worthy of note to day. The same old rigmarole of camp life.

Sunday, Decr 25th -- Christmas

To day our division was ordered out to see a man from the 5th New Hampshire Regt shot. He was shot at 12 O'Clock, the time they always


I'm not sure that Christmas entry is the actual Christmas entry in Clear's diary. It reads exactly the same as the entry of December 30th, up to the always anyway. The full December 30th entry reads

Friday, Decr 30th

To day our division was ordered out to see a man from the 5th New Hampshire Regt shot. He was shot at 12 O'Clock, the time they always shot or hang them. While we was returning to camp the snow commenced to fall and is still falling like mad.


It's possible Clear was repeating himself on these two days (it would be interesting that two men from the 5th NH were shot five days apart) or it may have been a mistake either on Daniel Chisholm's part when he transcribed Clear's diary into his notebook or editors William Springer Menge and J. August Shimrak when thy were transcribing the notebook for print.



 Posted: Mon Dec 23rd, 2013 01:35 am
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Ok this next one is from Christmas Day and December 26, 1862. It's a letter that appears in James McIvor's God Rest Ye Merry, Soldiers written by an Edward P. Norman of the 28th Alabama. He started it on December 25th and added onto the next day. I'm going to break I into two quotes, the second being the added on stuff. From pages 85 and 86:

My dear and Affectionate Wife and Little Children:

I for the last time seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know the I have heard my sentence and it is death. I am to be shot tomorrow the 26th. Dear wife and children, I see that I must die and I never on earth can meet you more, but thank God I have faith to believe will meet you in a better world....

Dear wife, I want you to get along the best you can and not grieve for me for we all have got to die sooner or later. This world is a world of trials and tribulations, our pleasures are now done on this earth but I hop we will meet in heaven where parting will be no more. Dear wife, I want you to try to raise my children right, treat them as well as you can and teach them to put their trust in God who is able to save them.... The time is fast approaching. It looks hard after going through the fatigue that I have and exposure trying to defend the rights of my country and after all I must now be put t death for going home to make some necessary preparations for my little family while others that left at the same time are not even arrested.


I have given my pocket book to James M. Tidwell with $2.25 in it to send to you and two small pieces of tobacco, my pocket knife an my clothes, all but these I have on. Give my knife to little Stephen and dear son, it's the best thing your papa ever expects to give you and I want y to keep it in remembrance of me. I want you all to be good children ad mind your mother and try to conduct yourselves here on earth so when you come to die you will be prepared to met God in peace.... Dear wife the time has arrived when I must go to the place of execution.... So good bye for awhile, E. P. Norman

What was written on the 26th was obviously written just before Norman's execution.

Staying in the same source but going from Western Theater to Eastern Theater, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee to Fredericksburg, Virginia. This next one is from a Tally Simpson of the 3rd South Carolina. The date is Christmas, 1862. Pages 24 and 25:

My dear Sister,

This is Christmas Day. The sun shines feebly through a thin cloud, the air is mild and pleasant, a gentle breeze is making music through the leaves of the lofty pines that stand near our bivouac. All I 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 trough 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 tis 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--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?



 Posted: Mon Dec 23rd, 2013 06:42 pm
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Excellent post!!)(90



 Posted: Mon Dec 23rd, 2013 11:56 pm
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Returning to The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm, this time from the letters of Chisholm and his brother Alex. At this time Daniel Chisholm was a Corporal in Co. K 116th Pa and Alex was a sergeant. From page 141:

Decr 13th, 1864 -- Camp near Petersburg Va
Brother Alex's Letter

Dear Father,

I now seat myself to answer your last letter received Decr 12th, dated 5th Decr. It found me enjoying good health considering the weather. We have had some cold rainy weather lately and a small skift of snow. We left our quarters on the 9th and went up to the left, that I our division the 1st. It was to attract the Rebs attention so as to draw the force from Genl Warrens front down about Stony Creek, he had his Corps there and sure enough we did draw their attention. Genl Warren advanced some 20 miles and tore up some 20 miles of the South Side Rail Road and done some other damages. He has returned to camp.

Yesterday evening I got my Gloves, safe. I think $2.80 was a big price for such Gloves as those. They fit pretty well. You done better than I expected by Mr. Clawson. I suppose he hadn't done yet had he. I would like to have got a crack at that cousin of mine Peter as you call him, I would have put one Johnny out of the road.

I think we will be paid some time in next month. I have $150 coming next pay day. Good for that.

I just came in off Picket this morning. I went on yesterday morning. We have good times on Picket now to what we had before Petersburgh. We now and then see a Johnny at a distance lurking around like a wild beast in the forest. I can hardly hold my old rifle from bearing on them. Tell all my friends to write soon. This is all this time.

From Your Son -- Alex Chisholm.



 Posted: Tue Dec 24th, 2013 02:34 am
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Christmas Eve 1862 found Union Brigadier General John Geary in Fairfax Station, Virginia, nearing the end of his convalescence from a wound he had received at Cedar Mountain in August. He took some time to offer holiday and fatherly advice to his daughter at home in Pennsylvania:
My Dear Little Pet, On this Christmas Eve I have no doubt you have been enjoying yourself, perhaps with the toys of the season, eaten your nuts and cakes, hung up your stockings in the chimney corner for old Kris Kinkle, when he comes along with his tiny horses, "Dunder and Blixen" and his little wagon to fill in Lots and Gobs of sweet things, sugar, candy sugar plums, and if you please, sugar every thing. Well, When I was a little boy, a good many years ago, I was fond of such things myself. And when I look back, they were indeed the happiest days of my life. Enjoy them my little "Pet"--they come but once. The boys, I mean the two Willies, are getting too old for the enjoyment you can have. When ignorance is bliss `tis folly to be wise. I wish you a Merry Christmas and many of them. I must close. There is a lot of soldiers at my door giving me a serenade and I must give it some attention. Your affectionate Papa



 Posted: Tue Dec 24th, 2013 07:09 pm
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Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune pages 273 to 274:

Fairfax Station
Dec. 30, 1862
Dear Mother,

This morning I wrote a short note to father, and having been "hauled up" very suddenly by departure of the mail, I didn't tell him that our sutler got the "Napier" and the cigars in Hagerstown, a few days ago.

I am very anxious to hear how Aunt Susan bears Theodore's death. What a terrible thing it must be for the! When I think what an affliction Susie's death was to her, it seems as if this would kill her. Why should he be killed a month after leaving home, while I have been out for twenty months without a scratch? It must be all chance; for if he had lived, he would probably have done more good in the world than ever shall.

The Rebel cavalry passed within three miles of here, while we were away, and we heard that all out luggage had been destroyed. They say that the Rebel commander telegraphed from the station below this to General Meigs, that "The last lot of mules received from him wasn't quite up to the mark, and he would like to have him attend to it"!

It was mild weather Christmas, so we could take our dinner out of doors without much discomfort. To-night it is cold and drizzly, but we have to take our supper out of doors just the same. We are fast putting up some log-huts, in which all hands will be comfortable, if we don't move before they are finished. One of our men has had his toes frostbitten, though we are in the "Sunny South."

Wasn't Burnside's report to the committee an honest account? It doesn't give any one any great idea of his military ability, but he must be a real good man.

Isn't it strange that Joe and Theodore, both so near to us, should have been killed in battles in which the loss was so small compared to the numbers engaged? At Fredericksburg there are so many slightly wounded and so few killed, that I think the enemy must be reduced to buckshot. The proportion of killed to wounded is usually one to four. It was much less at Fredericksburg.

I suppose you saw Annie when she was in New York. I have no herd from her for some time. Thank Susie for her comforting letter.

Your loving Son



 Posted: Thu Dec 26th, 2013 03:01 am
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Merry Christmas everyone, hope yours has been better than mine. Slept most of the day thanks to a stomach flu I came down with last night (let's just say I got to know john) after opening gifts this morning. Before the morning I was trading places with my bed and the couch depending on how bad I was feeling, trying to sleep it off when not hitting the bath room. Was able to stay up in the morning for the gift exchange, but opening presents jostled my stomach enough that I ended up back in my bed until this evening. That was an experience I don't want to repeat any time soon, hopefully I'll feel much better tomorrow.

I had hoped to do this after midnight today, but I as I said I was under the weather and went to sleep for the evening and then again for most of the day. I believe this source is appropriate to the day, Kevin Rawlings We Were Marching on Christmas Day. This first comes from Randolph McKim of the 2nd Maryland, pages 76 to 77:

We are just through the 'festivities' of Christmas and Duncan and I have been wondering how you all enjoyed yourselves on the day. I said 'the festivities' of Christmas; they consisted only of a very nicely prepared and beautifully set out family dinner. We had everything that you could think of, except ice-cream and iced fruit, etc. Our plum-pudding too did not have any raisins in it, but cherries made a very good substitute. Shall I give you out bill of fare?--Oyster Soup--Roast Turkey, Ham, Round of Beef, Fresh Beef, Fried Oysters, Lobster Salad--Hominy, Potatoes, Beans Salsafy, Rice, Dried Fruit--Plum-pudding, Charlotte Russe, Jelly, Pound Cake, and Jelly Cake, Puffs, etc., and Java Coffee! That will do for the Southern Confederacy, where everybody is starving! You must not suppose people generally, however, are so fortunate. Mrs. Phillips is a capital housekeeper, and had large supplies of everything on hand when the war broke out. I only make this enumeration to show you how well Duncan and I fared on Christmas Day. The day was a very happy one to me.

This next one is from George Grenville Benidict of the 12th Vermont. Benidict is writing his hometown paper. Pages 77 to 78:

Dear Free Press: We have had a very fair Christmas in camp. The day was as mild as May. By hard work the day before our mess had 'stockaded' our tent and it is now a little log house with a canvas roof. W have in it a 'California stove'--a sheet of iron over a square hole in the ground--and as we have been confined of late to rations of hard tack and salt pork, we decided to have a special Christmas dinner.

"We got some excellent oysters of the sutler, also some potatoes. Two of the boys went off to a clean, free-negro family, about a mile off, an got two quarts of rich milk, some hickory nuts, and some dried peaches. I officiated as cook, and, as all agreed, got up a capital dinner. I made as good an oyster soup as one often gets, and fried some oysters with bread crumbs--for we are the fortuate owners of a frying-pan. The potatoes were boiled in a tin pan, and were as mealy as any I ate. We had, besides, good Vermont butter, boiled pork, good bread, and closed a luxurious meal with nuts, raisins and apples, and coca-nut cakes just sent from home. For supper we had rice and milk and stewed plums. Now that is not such bad living for poor soldiers, is it? But we do not have it every day; though we have had many luxuries since our Thanksgiving boxes came.

"We have a pleasant camp ground just now, and if allowed to remain, shall make ourselves quite comfortable.


Lastly I turn to a staff officer in the Army of Northern Virginia, a Henry Kyd Douglas. Douglas was writing of a Christmas dinner hosted by General Jackson near Fredericksburg. Among those in attendance were General Lee, General Stuart, and General Pendelton. Stuart supposedly presented Jackson with a new uniform as a Christmas present at this dinner, though I had thought he'd presented it to him before Fredericksburg. Page 76:

On this Christmas day, I paid my respects of the season to General Jackson and was again asked to remain to dinner--I had received the invitation before. I was anxious to do so, as Smith, aide-de-camp, was giving especial attention to that dinner. It was to be spread in that decorated office of which I have spoken, and Generals Lee, Stuart, Pendleton, and others were expected as guests. They came, it was said, and made it a lively dinner for the General. General Lee rallied him on his style in having a real dining room servant with a white apron on, and when Jeb Stuart discovered a fighting cock stamped on the 'pat of butter' which Mrs. Corbin had sent him, he bemoaned such an indication of moral degeneracy. Randolph and I dined with Mr. and Mrs. Corbin and the guests at the Hall and the evening was not slow.



 Posted: Mon Jan 20th, 2014 06:54 pm
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Old Blu
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Hellcat wrote: Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune pages 273 to 274:

Fairfax Station
Dec. 30, 1862
Dear Mother,

This morning I wrote a short note to father, and having been "hauled up" very suddenly by departure of the mail, I didn't tell him that our sutler got the "Napier" and the cigars in Hagerstown, a few days ago.

I am very anxious to hear how Aunt Susan bears Theodore's death. What a terrible thing it must be for the! When I think what an affliction Susie's death was to her, it seems as if this would kill her. Why should he be killed a month after leaving home, while I have been out for twenty months without a scratch? It must be all chance; for if he had lived, he would probably have done more good in the world than ever shall.

The Rebel cavalry passed within three miles of here, while we were away, and we heard that all out luggage had been destroyed. They say that the Rebel commander telegraphed from the station below this to General Meigs, that "The last lot of mules received from him wasn't quite up to the mark, and he would like to have him attend to it"!

It was mild weather Christmas, so we could take our dinner out of doors without much discomfort. To-night it is cold and drizzly, but we have to take our supper out of doors just the same. We are fast putting up some log-huts, in which all hands will be comfortable, if we don't move before they are finished. One of our men has had his toes frostbitten, though we are in the "Sunny South."

Wasn't Burnside's report to the committee an honest account? It doesn't give any one any great idea of his military ability, but he must be a real good man.

Isn't it strange that Joe and Theodore, both so near to us, should have been killed in battles in which the loss was so small compared to the numbers engaged? At Fredericksburg there are so many slightly wounded and so few killed, that I think the enemy must be reduced to buckshot. The proportion of killed to wounded is usually one to four. It was much less at Fredericksburg.

I suppose you saw Annie when she was in New York. I have no herd from her for some time. Thank Susie for her comforting letter.

Your loving Son


I guess the Confederate Cavalry be Mosby with that smart answer!! :D



 Posted: Mon Jan 20th, 2014 09:22 pm
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Hellcat
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Might have been Mosby for all I know. I can find that Stuart gave him permission to raise his band of rangers and operate in the Loudoun Valley area. As Loudoun County and Fairfax County are neighbors, I suppose you could say it could be a hop, skip, and a jump to go from the valley to within three miles of Fairfax Station.

What I love is the comments of how good a man Burnside must have been. This coming about two weeks after Fredericksburg, he even makes mention of the battle later in his letter. Obviously wasn't involved in the battle, and I doubt he'd have viewed it the way he did if he had been. Might not have felt the same about Burnside either.



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