Letters

What Was Christmas Like During the Civil War?

Present-day Christmas conjures memories of snow, lighted trees, cinnamon, gifts, parties, and music. If we lived during the Civil War, what kinds of memories would we have? Would they be of family, food, warmth, and parties, or would they be of just trying to survive and stave off hunger? Would there be presents under the tree, or would we be happy just to be present with our loved ones. To learn a bit more about Christmas during the years 1861-1864, explore the items in the library and the Web sites listed below.

In the Library:

Wilbur Winkle Has a Complaint

By Wilbur Winkle

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"Wilbur Winkle, an idiosyncratic nebbish with a peculiar focus on the odd and unlikely fact, has corresponded for years with America's major corporations. Fueling his complaints and comments is a single overriding premise: that the rights of consumers - his rights - are under siege, and he must do what he can to defend them."

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Funny Letters from Famous People

By Charles Osgood, editor

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This is a selective gathering of humorous letters written by famous denizens of show business and the arts, celebrated writers, politicians, and American Presidents.

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Welcome the Hour of Conflict: William Cowan McClellan and the 9th Alabama

By edited by John C. Carter

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Some collections of Civil War letters are either too brief or have too many writers to get a significant sense of life on the march. These letters represent the full four years of camp, march, and battle with much of the time spent in Virginia. Appendices include a list of letters, the regiment’s casualties/enlistment totals, officers and infantry assignments, Private McClellan’s military record, the regimental roster, notes, and an index.

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Sorcery And Cecelia, Or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot : Being The Correspondence Of Two Young Ladies Of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals In London And The Country

By Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

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In 1817 in England, two young cousins, Cecilia living in the country and Kate in London, write letters to keep each other informed of their exploits, which take a sinister turn when they find themselves confronted by evil wizards.
 

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Letter to Adrienne Lafayette from Valley Forge, January 6, 1778

What a date, My Dear Heart, and what a country from which to write in the month of January! It is in a camp in the middle of woods; it is fifteen hundred leagues from you that I find myself buried in midwinter. Not too long ago, we were separated from the enemy by a small river; now we are seven leagues away from them and it is here that the American army will spend the winter in small barracks hardly more cheerful than a jail. I do not know if the general … will decide to visit our new abode; should he, we would show him around. The bearer of this letter will describe to you the pleasant place which I seem to prefer to being with you, with all my friends and amidst all possible pleasures.