View Full Version : Thanks Giving?

11-22-2008, 11:23 AM
I have a question y'all,
How would a soldier(north or south) during the civil war Have celebrated thanks giving Day, if they did at all? I don't know if they ever did and cannot find any resources on this subject, except I remember hearing Lincoln made it a national Holiday. Other than that I have no record of thanksgiving during the war.
any help would be great

Ken Balos

11-22-2008, 11:32 AM
A quick search on Google

Came up with this article and this link


11-22-2008, 12:23 PM
God, the Giver of Victory and Peace. A Thanksgiving Sermon, Delivered in the Presbyterian Church, September 18, 1862, Raleigh, N.C.

http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/giver/giver.html (http://http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/giver/giver.html)

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Our Cause in Harmony with the Purposes of God in Christ Jesus. A Sermon Preached in Christ Church, Savannah, on Thursday, September 18th, 1862, Being the Day Set Forth by the President of the Confederate States, as a Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, for our Manifold Victories, and Especially for the Fields of Manassas and Richmond, Ky.

http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/elliott5/elliott5.html (http://http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/elliott5/elliott5.html)


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More at: http://www.googlesyndicatedsearch.com/u/docsouth?q=thanksgiving&sa=Search

Official Records: http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/moa/sgml/moa-idx?type=simple&slice=1&page=results.layer2.mvmono.within&mvmono=waro&coll=monograph.raw&q1=thanksgiving

11-22-2008, 12:24 PM
Thanks For your reply Mr. Huck
I read both articles and founde that they were very beneficial to me thanks again
Ken Balos

11-22-2008, 02:26 PM
thanksgiving was celebrated far before the CW era. I recently came across some original newspapers from the early 1850s that mention the celebration.
Columbia Gazette, CA., Saturday Nov. 26, 1853. John C. Duchow, Editor.
Thanksgiving Ball.
The Ball, given by the gentlemen of the Hook & Ladder Company, came off, on Thursday evening, at the Exchange Ball room; and we understand, was a brilliant affair. The ball room was magnificently decorated and illuminated; and furnished additional evidence of the good taste and liberality of Col. Thos. Cazneau; in fact, in this instance, he has even surpassed himself. About sixty couples were present, and the room was crowded with the beauty and elite of the country, for miles around; and all appeared to enjoy themselves to the utmost. The dancing was lively, although somewhat cramped by the crowded state of the room, and the music enchanting.
About one o'clock supper was announced. Everything that the market afforded was on the tables, and reflected great credit upon the caterer, Mr. Joseph Whitman. In the center was a beautiful temple, in confectionary, the base of which, represented the ball room, in relief; and taken altogether was the most superb ornament of the kind, we ever saw.
After supper, the dance was resumed, and continued until daylight streaked the eastern sky, and informed the party that another thanksgiving had passed away, and that a rainy day had been ushered into existence.

I think those who say that Lincoln originally created the holiday are stuck on those urban myths. He may have made it a legal holiday for the North, but Davis had the fourth Thursday in September as the South's Thanksgiving. In any case, the celebration of a family, or town, certainly predates the CW era.

11-23-2008, 03:27 PM
Lincoln was the first President to declare Thanksgiving a NATIONAL holiday (yes, he invited the South to participate but that did not go over so well). Prior to that, the governor of each State selected a day of Thanksgiving, if they chose to observe one, and not always in November. This was a New England tradition, one Sarah J. Hale of Godey's loved as a child and took it upon herself to do a one-woman letter writing campaign that spanned over decades to have every American in every state observe a day of Thanksgiving on the same day, every year. George Washington made a feeble attempt at organizing a national holiday on the 4th Thursday of November but low response and support discouraged him from trying again.
Elizabeth Topping


Hank Trent
11-23-2008, 04:56 PM
More on the pre-war tradition of celebration, from The Book of Days by Robert Chambers, 1832.

This summary is from an English viewpoint, but it emphasizes, correctly I think, that Thanksgiving had a long tradition in New England and already was celebrated in a traditional way with specific customs in place. So New England soldiers at least would have been aware that it was a time when scattered families should gather, a large meal should be eaten, and so forth, whether they tried to replicate that or not in the field.

Thanksgiving-Day in America.
The great social and religious festival of New England, from which it has spread to most of the states of the American republic... the governors of the states [appoint] every year some day in autumn, generally toward the end of November, as a day of solemn prayer and thanksgiving for the blessings of the year, and especially the bounties of the harvest.

Thanksgiving-day is always celebrated on Thursday, and the same day is chosen in most of the states. The governor's proclamation appointing the day, is read in all the churches, and there are appropriate sermons and religious exercises. Families, widely scattered, meet at the bountiful thanksgiving-dinners of roast turkeys, plum-pudding, and mince and pumpking pies. The evenings are devoted by the young people to rustic games and amusements.

The subjects of the thanksgiving-sermons are not unfrequently of a political character, and in the chief towns of the union, those of the most popular preachers are generally published in the newspapers. The thanksgiving-festival, though widely celebrated, is not so universally respected as formerly, as the influx of Roman Catholics and Episcopalians has brought Christmas again into vogue, which is also kept by the Unitarians with considerable solemnity. As a peculiar American festival it will, however, long be cherished by the descendants of the Puritans. Source (http://books.google.com/books?pg=RA2-PA614&lr=&id=K0UJAAAAIAAJ&as_brr=0&output=html).

Hank Trent

11-24-2008, 08:24 AM
thank you every one for your help!
I did not realize that they celebrated Thanks Giving during the war this has been very helpful to a young historian like myself
deep thanks
Ken Balos

Johnny Lloyd
11-26-2008, 06:56 PM
Need more background for Thanksgiving historical research?

Another good read on Thanksgiving and the Revolutionary War...

Thanksgiving 1777:


Happy Thanksgiving- Johnny Lloyd:wink_smil