Christmas 1864: A serenade by the band

There wasn’t a good Christmas noted by a 13th Regiment letter writer, diarist or memoirist after 1861 in Leesburg. That was the last one where food was plentiful with all the comforts, even if furloughs had been revoked.

Christmas 1862 was warmer than expected but they spent it on picket duty in Fredericksburg, with a brigade drill on Christmas Day.  Christmas 1863 was much worse, spent building shelters in frigid East Tennessee with the mercury hovering above zero and little clothing and few shoes. Parched corn was the usual fare.

But 1864 brought a new low “celebrated” in wet, rat-infested trenches east of Richmond. At least the remnants of the regimental brass band got a trip to the capital city:

“On Christmas our band got permission to go to Richmond on a serenade to play for some of our officers,” 3rd Sergeant Wilborn P. Smith of the Pettus Guards wrote his sister back home in Mississippi. “I…have to pay $2 for a quart of meal. I reckon you can buy a bushel for that. I have money about $150 in cash can make that do me for some time…[the rest was illegible].”

There would no Christmas 1865 as a regiment. At least the survivors would be home.

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About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Fredericksburg, The Pettus Guards and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Christmas 1864: A serenade by the band

  1. Dr. Virginia Cornue says:

    William Wallace Beard, Miss 18th Co G Camden rifles also writes about dreary Christmases. His correspondence to his family in Mecklenburg,County, NC where he grew up will be published in So Much Blood: The Civil War Letters of CSA Private William Wallace Beard 1861-1865. I and William R. Trotter have edited this amazing collection and it will be out in print and e-book the end of March. Of the entire Miss 18th, Beard was one of about 110 who survived. hereturned to Miss, married, fathered a number of children and died 39 years later and almost to the day when he mustered in to the 18th.
    The So Much Blood website will be up soon.

    • Dick Stanley says:

      Thanks for the comment, Virginia. I’ll be sure to check it out at the end of March. Correspondents, diarists and memoirists of the other regiments in the brigade frequently shed light on what the 13th was up to. As did the 17th’s diarist Robert A. Moore whom I quote here on the blog and also in the Bloody Thirteenth.

  2. Dick Stanley says:

    No, I mean the diarist R.A. Moore of the Confederate Guards of the 17th Regiment whose three pocket diaries were published in 1959 as “A Life for the Confederacy.” He was killed at Chickamauga.

  3. thefrozenwoman says:

    Enjoyed this story of Christmastimes during the Civil War era!

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