The revivals continued to preoccupy the 13th regiment and the rest of the Mississippi Brigade in their winter encampment in Fredericksburg. But religion wasn’t the only distraction.
Spartan Band quartermaster clerk William H. Hill, for instance, “went to see McLaws Minstrels,” on Feb. 21, 1863, a Saturday, “a company composed of young men from Barksdale’s Brigade.
“They have been playing 3 times a week for the last month to large audiences. The profits of their entertainment will be appropriated to erecting a monument at Jackson Mississippi in the memory of General [Richard] Griffith and the unknown dead of this Brigade.”
The weather didn’t cooperate. “It is very cold and windy,” Hill recorded the next day. “The snow is 15 inches deep.”
“Notwithstanding the inclement weather,” wrote 17th Regiment Private Robert A. Moore, “there is a very fine meeting going on.”
“The revival still continues with unabated interest,” Hill penned in his diary on Sunday, Feb. 22. “Rev. Mr. Styles of Richmond preached this morning and again at night.
“The audience was very large both times. The enemy on the opposite side of the river commenced a very brisk cannonade at 10 a.m. and continued 2 or 3 hours. The cause is not know but it is supposed to be in honor of George Washington’s birthday.”
The next day, the brigade’s theater group got into the act. “The Barksdale Euterpian and Thespian Club gave their first entertainment tonight at the theater,” Hill recorded.
“They played Box and Cox and scenes from Julius Caesar. The musical program was very good….the club is composed mostly of members of the 13th Mississippi Regiment assisted by men of the Howitzer S.C. Club belonging to the 1st Company of the Richmond Howitzers.”
On Tuesday, the snow was melting very slowly, Hill noticed: “Several fine sleighs were on the streets today. There were 4 parties in town tonight. The soldiers are having amusements of some kind every night.”