Christmas During the Civil War: From the Frontlines

0001Instead of focusing on one single letter, I’m bringing to you a collection of snippets from soldiers during the Civil War. I know that together, they’ll paint an accurate picture.

December 25, 1862:
“This is Christmas, and my mind wanders back to that home made lonesome by my absence, while far away from the peace and quietude of civil life to undergo the hardships of the camp, and may be the battle field. I think of the many lives that are endangered, and hope that the time will soon come when peace, with its innumerable blessings, shall once more restore our country to happiness and prosperity.” ~Corporal J. C. Williams


“During the days preceding Christmas, I received some boxes from home, full of nice comfortable things, and the letter which came to me at that time, you may be sure, made me feel homesick.” ~John H. Brinton


Wednesday, Dec. 25th, 1861, camp near Swan’s…
“This is Christmas & and very dull Christmas it has been to me.  Had an egg-nog to-night but did not enjoy it much as we had no ladies to share it with us.” ~ Robert A. Moore


“It is Christmas morning and I hope a happy and merry one for you all, though it looks so stormy for our poor country, one can hardly be in merry humor.” ~ Robert Gould Shaw


“December 25th
My dear sister,
This is Christmas Day.  The sun shines feeble 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 is quiet and still and that very stillness recalls some sad and painful thoughts.  The 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… When will this war end?  Will another Christmas roll around and find us 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.”  ~Tally Simpson

“December 26th  A despondent Christmas has just passed, yet people contrived to eat hearty and good Christmas dinners.  The soldier unfortunately have not even meat, and have had none for several days.  The Commissary General has singlely failed in his duties; while there is plenty of food in Georgia there is none here.  There is no sufficient excuse for this.  The food must be brought here, and the means to so provided and organized..” ~
General Josiah Gorgas


“The one worn-out railroad running to the far South could not bring us half enough necessary supplies: and even if it could have transported Christmas boxes of good things, the people at home were too depleted to send them.” ~General Gordon











6 thoughts on “Christmas During the Civil War: From the Frontlines”

  1. Thank you for sharing these letters with us. While reading the letters, I admired their writing style. I have not read any letters lately that were as descriptive as the one from Tally Simpson. I wonder if he was an author. 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for sharing the link. I enjoyed reading the full letter. I daresay our youth of this time period probably cannot write in such descriptive language.

        Liked by 1 person

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