Christmas During the Civil War

Book Signing News:

Last night, I played my guitar and sang for the SCV camp in El Dorado, Arkansas. They were an attentive and gracious audience, and as always when I’m around them, I learned much about the Civil War. These men are walking encyclopedias of historical facts!

Christmas During the Civil War

Christmas is upon us. While researching various topics related to books I’m working on, I came across a site with some great quotes that related to Christmas during the War Between the States in our part of the South. The site is called, “The Rites of Innocence: Christmas 1861 and is written by James. S. Robbins. The link to the site is here: NDFjZjE1MjRlMjdm ZjAyN2FkNTR hMjc5M2E4MGQxMTQ=

According to Robbins, The Republican (newspaper) of Marshall, Texas, noted that people felt that “the hour of danger has passed; that there may be difficulties and sacrifices, but that their freedom is secure. And hence, when they survey this broad land, and contemplate its future opulence, have they not reason to rejoice, and look upon the past as a ‘happy Christmas?’”

Robbins says that in 1861, the people of the South were positive and optimistic, while those in the North were glum and discouraged. As an example of what fostered this attitude, he relates this story of a Confederate victory on that Christmas day: “In the Oklahoma Territory, Christmas found Confederate Colonel James M. McIntosh, last of his West Point class of 1849, leading elements of five Arkansas and Texas cavalry regiments towards a position occupied by a force of pro-Union Indians led by Creek Chief Opothleyahola. The Indians had dug in on a steep rocky hill covered with oak trees. The next day McIntosh advanced on the Indians . . . [and] threw out flanking forces . . . His next move, with enemy fire still raking his command, was related by trooper A.W. Sparks: “The impetuous McIntosh, who cannot brook a tardy skirmish salutation, orders the charge” . . . The Confederates pushed back the enemy before them, muscling their way upwards towards the summit, dispatching warriors as they went with shot, sword and bayonet. Opothleyahola’s men were routed, and fled towards Kansas into the teeth of an approaching blizzard, hunted by pro-southern Cherokee cavalry. For his victory, McIntosh was promoted to Brigadier General.

For the South, 1861 may have been the best Christmas of the War.


“The South is a land that has known sorrows; 
it is a land that has broken the ashen crust and 
moistened it with tears; a land scarred and riven 
by the plowshare of war and billowed with the 
graves of her dead; but a land of legend, 
a land of song, a land of hallowed and heroic 
“To that land every drop of my blood, every 
fiber of my being, every pulsation of my heart, 
is consecrated forever. I was born of her womb; 
I was nurtured at her breast; and when my last 
hour shall come, I pray GOD that I may be 
pillowed upon her bosom and rocked to sleep 
within her tender and encircling arms.”
Edward Carmack United States House of Representatives (TN, 1858-1908)