Clark Mountain Musings

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Christmas of 1864

James Robbins

In the winter of 1864, an unexpected sense of optimism and good cheer settled on the northern states. The Civil War continued, but the news from the fronts was promising, and hope flourished that with spring the end would come and peace would return. New Yorkers in particular were in a festive frame of mind, of a like unseen since the before the war began. People skated in Central Park, and rode sleighs through the snowy fields. They stopped at shops for warm cider, confections, nuts and dried fruits. Florists, three dozen shops on Broadway alone, sold fragrant blooms that struck a cheerful note of defiance to the winter chill.

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