Civil War Culture · Holidays · Literature

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 Christmas Preparations Civil War Style

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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 Christmas Poems and Pictures Civil War Style

American Civil War · Civil War Culture · Civil War History · Civil War Life · Entertainments · Holidays

Valentine’s Day Civil War Style

"...this is the day on which those charming little missives, ycelped*¬†Valentines, cross and inter-cross at every street and turning. The weary and all forespent twopenny postman sinks below a load of delicate embarrassments, not his own." Valentine's Day in Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb 1860 (*called) Valentine's Day was a well-established holiday by the… Continue reading Valentine’s Day Civil War Style

American Civil War · Civil War History · Civil War Life · Holidays

The Christmas Tree Civil War Style

When we think of magic, probably one of the most magical things of the Christmas season are brilliantly lit Christmas trees. Although decking the house with boughs of pine was a traditional Christmas practice [the pine scent was believed to clean the air and prevent disease], Christmas trees were uncommon in early America. The custom,… Continue reading The Christmas Tree Civil War Style

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Thanksgiving during the Civil War

Thanksgiving had been celebrated in America from the time of the Puritans, and soldiers had taken the tradition with them when they went to war. In 1863 President Lincoln declared November 26 as a national day of "thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens" in response to a letter from… Continue reading Thanksgiving during the Civil War

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Games for Girls from the 1862 American Girls’ Book

While the boys were outside building snow forts and giant men, the girls were inside putting on plays, playing games, or amusing themselves with paper and cardboard and cloth following the directions in the 1862 American Girl's Book by Miss Leslie, a volume intended as an "unpretending manual of light and exhilarating amusements; most of… Continue reading Games for Girls from the 1862 American Girls’ Book

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Sleigh Rides in the 1860s

  Why do parties choose a moonlit night for sleigh rides? Because they are pleasanter than dark nights. "Proceedings of the Farmers' Club" in the ¬†Annual Report of the City of New York 1864 p. 165. Here it is December 15, and no snow, no snowmen, and no sleds. I am looking¬† out my window… Continue reading Sleigh Rides in the 1860s