To celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, The Front Line will be posting different “Voices from the Past” about Civil War soldiers’ Thanksgiving experiences. Our first quote comes from the 1861 diary of David L. Day, 25th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
“According to the customs of our Puritan Fathers, last Thursday was observed in Massachusetts and other states as a day of thanksgiving to God, for his manifold mercies and bounties to the erring children of men. The day was observed here throughout all the camps as a holiday. All drills were suspended, and in our camp religious services were held, after which the boys engaged in ball playing and other amusements to which their inclinations might lead. Although deprived of joining our friends at home in their festivities and meeting them around the dear old board, it seems we were not forgotten. Our thanksgiving dinners are just beginning to arrive, and our camp is literally piled up with boxes and bales containing good things from the dear ones at home.”
Source: Day, David L., “Diary of David L. Day, November, 1861,” in My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Milford: King & Billings Printers, 1884).
Image Credit: Harper’s Weekly, 29 November 1862.