" A Sumptuous Repast ", Artists Send Home Thanksgiving At War

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Feb 14, 2012
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winslow homer thanksgiving 1864.JPG

Winslow Homer, 1864. Before Rockwell, Homer hooked us into scenes using the same sense of recognition evocative of tradition and drawing on connection with each other.

That one answered a question I'd had too- how long have we been squabbling over that wishbone? And keep your thumb down, it's cheating.

Artist/journalists following armies through the war left us wonderful eye witness accounts of their holiday. Something to think about in the midst of 2019's celebrations.

Beats spending your Thanksgiving in the airport after snow cancelled flights.

thanksgiving soldiers in camp crop.jpg

I realize these artists were sometimes accused of portraying ' war ' too romantically and this camp had the same bugs, mud and disease as most of the others. Beyond Homer's whimsical scenes I'm not sure they did. Most of these look about right, don't they?

Love Waud's rough sketch.
thanksgiving waud 1.JPG

They refined and finished most of these to send Harper's and Leslie's polished versions for publication. I like these better- Waud was there. Descriptions like ' sumptuous repast ' abound as men wrote home about their holiday. I'm not big with bemoaning the largely fictional Good Old Days BUT ' sumptuous repast ' beats any version of " The turkey was good ". Bring back sumptuous repasts.

And somewhere an entire ball held in a casemate, 1862.
ball army 1862.JPG


We hadn't been celebrating Thanksgiving as a national holiday very long, there's not as much left to us as Christmas and New Year's. Still, sharing today around the table, maybe give thanks for the men and women away from home keeping watch over our feast. Love to know what Waud and Homer would have sent home in 2019.

Happy, thoughtful Thanksgiving.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
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