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New Year’s Eve Civil War Style

The turn of the year from old to new has long been celebrated in a variety of ways sometimes with frivolity and sometimes with spirituality, and sadly, sometimes on the battlefield. This is true of the Civil War period also. Celebrating with Frivolity According to Alexis McCrossen, writing for We’re History, men and women belonging... Continue Reading →

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Who Wore What: A Book Review

` Who Wore What?: Women's Wear, 1861-1865 by Juanita Leisch My rating: 5 of 5 stars There is plenty of useful information in Who Wore What by Juanita Leisch. However, as she admits, the sample of photographs she worked with, although carefully dated, were not random and were not identified as to location. So her... Continue Reading →

Christmas Preparations Civil War Style

In the mid-1800s, the Christmas season was a time for family get-togethers, good cheer, and good will. It is also a time when the different cultural practices brought by immigrants from various backgrounds began to meld together into those we are familiar with today. We can find descriptions of what holiday celebrations were like in... Continue Reading →

Desiccated Vegetables Civil War Style

Today when we want fresh vegetables in the middle of the winter we need go no further than our local grocery. During the Civil War, it wasn't so easy. In the next series of posts, I will be examining how foods were preserved in the 1860s. Drying Air and heat drying is one of the... Continue Reading →

Sleigh-Riding Civil War Style

Brr. It's January and the snow is falling at least in some parts of the world. Are you looking out your window right now? Are you lucky enough to see expanses of white snow and to be dreaming of riding with your beau in a one-horse sleigh? How romantic you might be thinking. However, Jennie... Continue Reading →

Christmas Poems and Pictures Civil War Style

The 1864 Christmas Poems and Pictures: A Collection of Songs, Carols, and Descriptive Poems relating to the Festival of Christmas is typical of the Christmas books popular during the Civil War period. Published in New York by James J. Gregory it contains old English Christmas carols such as "A Carol for the Wassail Bowl", religious... Continue Reading →

Elevators Civil War Style

Yes, there were elevators in use during the Civil War. In fact, elevators actually have a very long history. Elevators or hoists to lift supplies to the top floors of buildings or to lower men and equipment into mines using pulleys can be dated back to the third century. These simple platforms were raised by... Continue Reading →

Becoming a Woman Doctor During the Civil War period

There is a contemporary perception that women could not become doctors during the Civil War period because they were banned from medical college. But while their paths were not "strewn with flowers", at the time of the Civil War, there were places women could go to study medicine. The Boston (later New England) Female Medical College was founded... Continue Reading →

Simplifying the Wash, Civil War Style

Oak tubs, washboards, iron pots, fire grates, homemade soap, bluing, and plenty of back-breaking work were the basic things needed to get clothes clean mid-century. This 1861 drawing of two hard-working entrepreneurs gives a good idea of the basics. However, Robert Kemp Phillip in The Family Save-All (1861) suggests numerous ways to make the process "easier."... Continue Reading →

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