Only a few days left and I was thinking about what kind of last minute, quick gifts to make for Christmas. A couple of years ago I made a few of these Civil War "huswife" needle cases for friends -
Sallie Brock Putnam of Richmond VA wrote that Christmas 1861 had been spent making and preparing warm items for the soldiers - caps, stockings and colorful scarves. The soldiers were foremost in people's minds and what food they could afford was sent to the camps to cheer and comfort those who would not be making the trip home for Christmas. The absence of loved ones was keenly felt around most dinner tables and vacant chairs were set as reminders.
As I was sorting through and organizing papers recently I came across pages of the diary entries that were in my Remembering Adelia book. Adelia was 19 and lived in northern Illinois in 1861, the year the Civil War began. I thought some of you might enjoy reading a simple, firsthand account of what Christmas was like for many families that year:
Dec 19, 1861
Mother made the stuff all ready for mince pies, chopped apples and all that sort of thing getting ready for Christmas.
Dec 20, 1861
Mother made nineteen mince pies today which took about all of her time. I made a housewife for Lester and Elias is going to Woodstock to carry it to be sent to Washington [where Lester, her "young man" was stationed].
How unfortunate! When we have got so much work to do. I have been real sick most all day. Got breakfast and washed the dishes and did nothing till three o'clock. Elias went to Crystal Lake after Jule's coffin.
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