Elves In Hoops, A Wounded Man's Christmas

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
soldiers dining hall places.jpg

Christmas dinner for wounded soldiers, place settings ready, various last-minute preparations apparent. Isn't it awesome? It's probably one of the Washington, DC hospitals. Ladies planned months in advance then showed up themselves. It wasn't ' just ' Christmas dinner, it was giving back to the men who stepped up. Tin cups, turkeys and trees- long way from the battlefield where they'd been wounded.

soldiers dining hall from back.jpg

Isn't it an awesome photograph? Ladies in the back were responsible as well as ' subscribers ', people who donated food, money, gifts and entertainment. Mary Todd Lincoln was a Christmas elf along with women too numerous to name. Christmas, to a wounded man far from home looked like this because they'd already given- ladies gave back.

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Look, the turkey! Or A turkey- table is littered with them.
soldiers dining hall turkey.jpg

Photo isn't labeled as Christmas dinner- took one look and thought " OHHHHH ". Hundreds of stories here.

Image from LoC is a huge favorite of mine. Unless you've been poking around in ladies aid societies ( there were hundreds ) it's easy to miss how significant an image this is. No idea which hospital, may be Ascension Church Hospital in DC. I say that because Mary Todd Lincoln was part of the celebration- may be why a photographer was there.

hospital feast mary lincoln.JPG


It's from one of the massive tif images LOC gifts us- it's Christmas every day in those archives.

I'm not saying it was aliens but.... ( sorry, History Channel meme ) it's ok if one of these ladies isn't Mary Todd Lincoln. They were all giants to wounded men.

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God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen, thank you ladies.


hospital feast 1.JPG


soldiers dining hall tree.jpg

Yes, that's a Christmas tree. Stille Nacht.

soldiers dining hall turkey.jpg
 

Seduzal

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Location
Canton, North Carolina
Thanks for sharing this awesome story and photos. Another piece of Civil War history found. Never seen this before. Learning something new today enjoyed reading this interesting story.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
I'm always, always surprised by the general lack of interest in the insane amount of relief work through the war? Yes, battles, stats, individual men and politics ( although I'm really tired of politics ) are what war was. Without relief organizations and efforts IMO the war would have claimed twice the casualties and I mean that.

As a country we REALLY turned out for soldiers, as in down to countless elderly women picking lint by their fireside, if they couldn't manage anything else. Boring to read of sure- that pile of lint just saved a wounded man from bleeding out. That these efforts cast an umbrella over men away from home, in hospitals over holidays makes it clear how comprehensive an effort it was.
 

Mrs. V

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 5, 2017
I'm always, always surprised by the general lack of interest in the insane amount of relief work through the war? Yes, battles, stats, individual men and politics ( although I'm really tired of politics ) are what war was. Without relief organizations and efforts IMO the war would have claimed twice the casualties and I mean that.

As a country we REALLY turned out for soldiers, as in down to countless elderly women picking lint by their fireside, if they couldn't manage anything else. Boring to read of sure- that pile of lint just saved a wounded man from bleeding out. That these efforts cast an umbrella over men away from home, in hospitals over holidays makes it clear how comprehensive an effort it was.
Definitely not enough attention given to the relief societies. Jeez, we collected those new fangled canned veggies and fruits for our troops, organized hospitals and prison camps. Made bandages, requested lemons...etc. Mostly quietly, and steadfast in their desire to help, in whatever way they could.
 

LSBusch

Private
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Location
Reno, Nevada
A couple of impressions: First, how crowded it looks! How could they even lift their arms to eat as closely packed as they must have been? Second, how painful it must have been for a man recovering from wounds to climb onto that bench!
 
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