Friday, November 19, 2010

JCHC Fun Fact: Thanksgiving During the Civil War

Hello everybody.  Since this is probably going to be my last post until after the Thanksgiving holiday, I figured I would make it holiday related.  I did a little searching as to what Thanksgiving was like during the Civil War.  I came across a lot of great links and information, but there are a few things that were really neat that I would like to share.

First, I found a transcription of a proclamation by Abraham Lincoln dealing with his thoughts and feelings about the war and the USA in general around the time of the holiday.  Have a look...

Thanksgiving In The Civil War
        The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
        In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
        Needful diversions of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battle-field, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
        No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
        It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
        In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
        Done at the city of Washington this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
By the President:
Secretary of State.

I found this document at this URL:

Second, I found a really neat picture of a Civil War camp during Thanksgiving...

We all can be thankful for the service of all the people involved in the Civil War.  Many of them risked everything to make a stand for what they believed was right.  Without them, our freedoms that we take for granted today would be non-existent.  Take a moment this holiday season to reflect on all the great men and women who made huge sacrifices to get us where we are today, not just during the Civil War, but during every day that our great country has been independent.

I hope everybody has an enjoyable Thanksgiving!

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