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 Posted: Thu Dec 26th, 2013 03:01 am
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Hellcat
Root Beer Lover


Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
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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.

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