Soldiers, Turkeys And Pig Heads From Home, Thanksgiving Goes To War

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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thanksgiving soldiers in camp crop.jpg

Sans linen, silver and Grandmother Alice, a Thanksgiving table in camp still brought the dog looking for scraps. And a family sharing the meal is a family sharing a meal, with Thanks.


It's seriously wonderful how many articles you can find about Thanksgiving in camps from 1861 through 1864. We miss this now, that connection between communities and those in uniform we had, down to the last family, thinking of loved ones who can't come home. It's heart warming because warm hearts prevailed on the topic.

thanksgiving soldiers 1.JPG


New York City, a bakery turned butcher's for the effort, preparing thousands ( I think two thousand ) turkeys headed for Thanksgiving Dinner not only for New York regiments. " .... all who could be reached ".
T. Roosevelt gave 50.000 towards the project, one of hundreds through the holidays. Through the whole war.

thanksgiving soldiers 2.JPG

And another NYC bakery charged with roasting them- bet you could pick up the scent of roasting turkey blocks away.

Putting this in ' Soldier Stories ' because it's part of daily life- if this is the wrong forum please move?

So you can't find ' the best ' Thanksgiving In Camp ' account because each year through the Civil War relief organizations, women's groups, heck, entire communities pulled together so that men away from home celebrated Thanksgiving. A man named er, Theodore Roosevelt ( yes, that family ) stepped up one year with enough financial backing to shorten the lives of thousands of fat fowls by sending them to the front. He wasn't the only gazillionaire to put his money where his country was, either.

thanksgiving waud 1.JPG

Where there's turkey there's a hopeful dog. Pretty happy Waud included the one in the camp where he spent a war-time holiday.

Certainly, we have countless accounts where men celebrated with hard tack or nothing at all- it was war. Those who could be reached had at least a feast- and if not turkey, something else. I'm still trying to track down the camp Forbes documented in one of his war-correspondent sketches. Boxes of pigs' heads were delivered to one camp, may have been Petersburg. Yum.

forbes thanksgvg petersburg.JPG

Turkey-pork, same thing. :angel: Forbes documented holiday food , sent by one of the ' soldiers and sailors ' relief organizations.

Thanksgiving as a holiday in camp was a big, huge deal- lucky for us. In lieu of photographers, artists left us their images in pen and ink. Few word required, including snip from Vermont a little typical of nearly all these accounts.

1864 vermont.JPG

Laden to the water's edge! That's a LOT of turkey.


1864 vermont 2.JPG


From 50 cents to 50.000 dollars, we wanted our men home but if they had to be the empty seat at Thanksgiving dinner, well, send their plate to where they were.

winslow homer thanksgiving in camp 1862.JPG

Winslow Homer's donation, Thanksgiving in camp, 1862- below, the Thanksgiving of 1864.

winslow homer thanksgiving 1864.JPG

And Thank You, Winslow Homer- there's 50.000 bucks and there's priceless.

Happy Thanksgiving.
 
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connecticut yankee

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone---And here is some "food" (cranberries to be exact) for thought today...

"Next to turkey and stuffing, no food is more linked to Thanksgiving than cranberry sauce; you’d think that buckle-shoed Pilgrims were slipping tubes of jellied Ocean Spray onto the original Plymouth table.

In fact, the American Thanksgiving tradition of cranberry sauce started when Civil War Union General Ulysses S. Grant served the condiment to his troops during the Siege of Petersburg. This bitter, nine-month stalemate also marked the beginnings of trench warfare, with both forces stubbornly embedded, sniping from mud holes over a long, Virginia winter. The Confederate Army finally yielded in 1865, ceding the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia, to the Union Army. We commemorate Grant’s linchpin Civil War victory every year by consuming cranberry sauce.

And while we’d like to think that those Pilgrims were eating bronzed Butterball turkeys, there are no documents remaining from 1621 that describe the actual menu of the original feast. In fact, we don’t even know the exact autumn month in which it occurred—the original Thanksgiving meal might have been eaten in September or October (though we know it took three days to eat). Again, our modern Thanksgiving meal has Civil War-era origins: in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the last Thursday of every November. This explains why today’s Thanksgiving meal—with stuffed game and sugary fruit compote—feels so reminiscent of 19th-century menus."
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
19,655
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Happy Thanksgiving everyone---And here is some "food" (cranberries to be exact) for thought today...

"Next to turkey and stuffing, no food is more linked to Thanksgiving than cranberry sauce; you’d think that buckle-shoed Pilgrims were slipping tubes of jellied Ocean Spray onto the original Plymouth table.

In fact, the American Thanksgiving tradition of cranberry sauce started when Civil War Union General Ulysses S. Grant served the condiment to his troops during the Siege of Petersburg. This bitter, nine-month stalemate also marked the beginnings of trench warfare, with both forces stubbornly embedded, sniping from mud holes over a long, Virginia winter. The Confederate Army finally yielded in 1865, ceding the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia, to the Union Army. We commemorate Grant’s linchpin Civil War victory every year by consuming cranberry sauce.

And while we’d like to think that those Pilgrims were eating bronzed Butterball turkeys, there are no documents remaining from 1621 that describe the actual menu of the original feast. In fact, we don’t even know the exact autumn month in which it occurred—the original Thanksgiving meal might have been eaten in September or October (though we know it took three days to eat). Again, our modern Thanksgiving meal has Civil War-era origins: in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the last Thursday of every November. This explains why today’s Thanksgiving meal—with stuffed game and sugary fruit compote—feels so reminiscent of 19th-century menus."

Three things here are brand, new information ( to me ) thank you! Grant's role in putting cranberry sauce ( never can bring myself to buy a can, not a berry in sight ) on the table is interesting! Where on earth did he get enough for the whole army, for one thing! Also disremember understanding the Pilgrims ate for 3 days in a row, cool stuff. They hopefully did not enjoy it much, which would have been a Puritan's idea of fun. Said no dictionary ever " Puritan- jolly, loved a good belly laugh, tolerant of human foibles, dressed well ".

Wow. So with Petersburg as an example of the futility of trench warfare, we still had another, international shot at it. Never thought about that aspect of Petersburg before- WW1 was a crazy example of not learning from History.
 
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Northern Light

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Pilgrims ate for 3 days in a row, cool stuff. They hopefully did not enjoy it much, which would have been a Puritan's idea of fun.
Haha! "Do NOT relish that third piece of pie which thou has taken, John! "Martha, thine meal has been adequate to meet our needs. I thank God that he has moved thine hands to prepare it properly." Fun time all around.
 
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