As we move to within two weeks of Christmas, I thought we'd take a look at some of the Christmas activities that have taken place in my books. South Carolina's Low Country does a wonderful job of celebrating Christmas. There's still nowhere else I'd rather be spending these next days. But since I'm confined to quarters this year while the pelvis heals, I invite you to look back at some of the Christmases Past with me.
My first exploration of Christmas during the Civil War came while I was writing A Scratch with the Rebels. That book, some of you will remember was straight factual history, and I had trouble finding any mention of how the soldiers actually celebrated their day. Here's the result:
The Georgia troops at Fort Pulaski near Savannah celebrated Christmas 1861
with food sent in by friends and eggnog parties all over the camp. One young Georgia
private made a diary notation: “Fine day here. plenty of fighting and whisky drinking.”
But Christmas had passed without much fanfare for the Union troops. Harrison Beardsley,
stationed at Beaufort with the 50th Pennsylvania, wrote to his parents: “I guess I shall not
hang up my stocking for Old Santaclaus don’t come down here in Dixies land.”
The 48th New York Regiment “bought sassiges of the nigers and hoe cake and built a fir and cooked our sassiages.”
The Roundheads played ball all day and tried not to think about how far from home they were.