Dear Reader:  This year’s December issue will again be dedicated to the holidays celebrated trench-side. Also enclosing last years December (2012) issue. Have a Blessed Christmas!


   One of the greatest social events in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on December 14, 1862, was the wedding of  twenty-one year old Mattie Ready, daughter of one of the most prominent Rutherford County families.

   Her father, Colonel Charles Ready Jr. has been a United States congressman before the war.

   The bride was a girl of rare beauty; tall, dark-haired and blue eyed with a creamy complexion and perfect

features. Her bridal dress was one of her best ante-bellum frocks, inasmuch as it was not possible at that time to purchase material for a trousseau.

   Three regimental bands provided music for the blessed occasion. They were stationed in the ballroom, the garden and on the porch.

   The groom was a classic Southern aristocrat, raven-haired, black-mustached and six feet tall, handsome and a devotee of the Southern code of honor. He had been expelled from college for dueling, had a reputat-ion as a gambler and a libertine.

    He was recently widowed.

    In his general’s uniform, the groom looked like a hero of chivalry. His name was John Hunt Morgan.

     FROM: “GOD REST YE MERRY, SOLDIERS,” by James McIvor, 2006


      Holiday Eggnog

Like George Washington made

    Blend first: a pint of bourbon, half pint of rye whiskey, half as much Jamaican dark rum and same of

sherry. Set back.

   Then take a dozen fresh eggs and separate them and beat the whites ‘til very stiff, adding a cup of sugar and stir in a quart of cold milk and same amount of good, thick cream. Mix real good. Stir yellows w/fork & add.

   Add all to your bourbon mixture and then fold in the beaten egg whites gently and chill. Serve with freshly  grated nutmeg in chilled punch cups.

   The secret of successful nog: dribble slowly the spirits into the mixture drop by drop, stirring all the time. It may take a little while, but the taste will be worth it.

   Let set in cool place for several days and taste frequently.

   If nothing else, guaranteed to produce a genial host.

After they had found a farmer who had eggs to sell for their eggnog, Rebel officers from the 13th South Carolina allowed  We are just trying to have some enjoyment for Christmas out here in the woods.”


    “This sad Christmas has passed away. The Christmas turkey and ham were not. We had aspired to a turkey, but finding the prices range from $50 to $100 in the market on Saturday, we contented ourselves with roast beef. Ginger-bread cakes and tea made two very rare indulgences.”                                      Confederate officer stationed

                                 outside Richmond,1864


   “Thanksgiving is almost over and I have had neither turkey, nog or pumpkin pie.      Col. Alvin Vris in his

                                                         diary, November 1862


    Yesterday our Thanksgiving consisted of turkeys sent us by the Sanitary Commission from New York.”

     We ate it thankfully, and hoped that when another Thank-giving rolls around, there would be no picket lines in these Re-United states.”                       Wilbur Fisk, on picket duty

                                                       Shenandoah Valley, Virginia


    Two foxhole buddies from the II Corps in a Pennsylvania Regiment, entrenched outside Petersburg, shared a goose leg and a chicken leg cooked in a one-quart tin cup, with dumplin’s made from flour and water.


     Thanksgiving passed off joyously enough, there being Turkies for all – it seemed more of a Holiday here.”

                                     Flornce Grugan of the 2nd Pennsylvania

                                     Heavy Artillery, attached to the Chief

                                     Quartermasters office at City Point


   “I am under a thousand obligations to you all for the nice poundcake I received.”     A Confederate in the 5th Kentucky

                                                Infantry, early January 1863.


                      OLD FASHIONED POUND CAKE

                      Aunt Clara’s version – travels well.

       Traditionally contained a pound of sugar, and a pound of soft butter, 8 eggs, 4 cups of flour and some flavorings. Cream your butter, add sugar gradually, beating ‘til fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, again beating well, along with tsp of vanilla. Sift dry ingredient and add to creamed mixture a few spoonfuls at a time. Mix some more and pour into parchment lined loaf pans or tube pan and bake in slow oven for about two hours depending upon how big the pan is. Needs no icing. Box and mail to a soldier!

        FROM: Seasons on the Farm” Joe Allen, Fox Hill Farm, May 2000.


    An incident happened outside Fort Stedman near Peters-burg on 25 March 1865 that fore shadowed a changing in the air.

    Pickets on either side, often struck up conversations during the long nights of guard duty – a sort of tense, personal amity.   

    As darkness fell and a Sunday stillness spread over the lines,  pickets on both sides, emerged from the woods, spontaneously.

    Then cautiously, with mutual consent, slowly laid down their weapons and came forward to “no-man’s land.”        

    They spoke not as enemies, but ordinary men in the same business, who had stopped at the roadside to trade shop talk.

     They exchanged newspapers, swapped coffee beans for tobacco and cigars. Then picked up their arms and returned to their posts as Forward Pickets. From: “Don’t Know Much About the Civil War.”