The 13th regiment’s run-up to the 1861 holiday was dreary, enlivened only by night work on the dirt forts near Leesburg (night work because day work attracted snipers from across the Potomac), cold weather with occasional sleet, and false alarms of advancing Yankees.
Christmas Day, depending on the viewpoint, dawned pleasant or cold, quiet or merry:
The Minutemen’s Hubbert: “Camp is in quite a stir this morning. The boys all feel gay from the effect of the fashionable old drink, Egg Nog.”
Quartermaster clerk Hill: “It is very quiet in camp considering it is Christmas Day. Col. Barksdale invited the officers of the Regiment this morning to drink eggnog.”
The day after Christmas, Gen. Beauregard sent them a stocking full of coal: He revoked furlough opportunities because of more fears of Union attacks.
By Dec. 28th, with no attacks occurring, there was still plenty of eggnog around. Hubbert celebrated his birthday with “a quantity” of it “then went to building a [winter quarters] house, which I found quite a task having nothing to work with but a club ax.”