As Christmas approached in 1861, the men of the First Georgia, many away from home for the first time, did their best to prepare celebrations for the holiday. Lieutenant William O. Fleming of the Bainbridge Independents wrote in a letter to his wife how he could “see you all now, in my imagination, seated around a nice, blazing Georgia christmas Eve fire.” Private Lavender R. Ray and his messmates in the Newnan Guards gathered the ingredients for eggnog and “enjoyed ourselves last night and this morning.”
In his memoirs of service with Oglethorpe Infantry, entitled Under The Stars And Bars and published in 1900, Walter Clark wrote of a Christmas feast that did not turn out quite as planned:
With a laudable desire to celebrate the day in appropriate style we had arranged with a colored caterer to supply our mess table with the proverbial turkey and such other adjuncts as the depleted condition of our financial bureau would permit. The day dawned and in the early morning hours our appetites for the coming feast were whetted by an eggnog kindly furnished the entire company by Lieu*. J. V. H. Allen. The Christmas sun passed its meridian and traveled on its setting with no Joshua to stay its course. The appointed dinner hour came, as all appointed times do, but the proverbial turkey came not, with adjuncts or without. With our gastronomic hopes knocked finally into pi, but not mince pie, we sat down at last to our hardtack and bacon, lamenting in our hearts the uncertainty of “aught that wades, or soars, or shines beneath the stars.” Whether the roost, from which our caterer expected to supply our larder was too well guarded on the preceding night, or whether the rating given our mess by the commercial agencies was unsatisfactory has remained through all these years an unsolved problem.
To everyone from the Martin family, best wishes for a very Merry Christmas!