Tammy's All Things History

Bringing the Past to Life!


December 2013

History on Saturday: Christmas Bells

Minolta DSC

I found a little piece doing some research and wanted to share it. It is a poem written during the Civil War. It seems to me people found a way to celebrate even though the times were uncertain for them. Have a good Christmas holiday how and if you celebrate!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Christmas Bells

I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”


Camp Life in the Civil War

Sutler Camp
Bealeton, Va. Sutler’s tent at Army of the Potomac headquarters, courtesy Library of Congress

Comforts of home brought to the front lines of the Civil War. Sutler’s contracted their business to sell wares to troops(1).

1. Edward G. Longacre, A Regiment of Slaves: The 4th United States Colored Infantry, 1863-1866 (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2003), 40.

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