Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
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.
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.
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.
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.
Turkey-pork, same thing. 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.
Laden to the water's edge! That's a LOT of turkey.
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's donation, Thanksgiving in camp, 1862- below, the Thanksgiving of 1864.
And Thank You, Winslow Homer- there's 50.000 bucks and there's priceless.