SANTA CLAUS AMONG OUR SOLDIERS. CHILDREN, you mustn't think that Santa Claus comes to you alone. You see him in the picture on pages 8 and 9 throwing out boxes to the soldiers, and in the one on page 1 you see what they contain. In the fore-ground you see a little drummer-boy, who, on opening his Christmas-box, beholds a jack-in-a-box spring up, much to his astonishment. His companion is so much amused at so interesting a phenomenon that he forgets his own box, and it lies in the snow, unopened, beside him. He was just going to take a bite out of that apple in his hand, but the sight of his friend's gift has made him forget all about it. He has his other hand on a Harper's Weekly. Santa Claus has brought lots of those for the soldiers, so that they, too, as well as you little folks, may have a peep at the Christmas number. One soldier, on the left, finds a stocking in his box stuffed with all sorts of things. Another, right behind him, has got a meerschaum pipe, just what he has been wishing for ever so long. Santa Claus is entertaining the soldiers by showing them Jeff Davis's future. He is tying a cord pretty tightly round his neck, and Jeff seems to be kicking very much at such a. fate. He hasn't got to the soldiers in the back-ground yet, and they are still amusing themselves at their merry games. One of them is trying to climb a greased pole, and, as he slips down sometimes faster than he goes up, all the others who are looking at him have a great deal of fun at his expense. Others are chasing a greased boar. One fellow thought he just had him; but he is so slippery that he can't hold him, and so he tumbles over on his face, and the next one that comes tumbles over him. In another place they are playing a game of football, and getting a fine appetite for their Christmas dinner, which is cooking on the fire. See how nicely the soldiers have decorated the encampment with greens in honor of the day! And they are firing a salute to Santa Claus from the fort, and they have erected at triumphal arch to show him how welcome he is to them. But Santa Claus must hurry up and not stay here too long; for he has to go as far south as New Orleans, and ever so far out West; so he says, "G'lang!" and away he goes through the arch like lightning, for he must give all our soldiers a Merry Christmas. http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1863/january/battle-fredericksburg-description.htm
You are viewing one of Thomas Nast's Most Poignant Civil War Illustrations. The illustration is Captioned, "Christmas Eve, 1862." The illustration shows a Civil War soldier on picket duty on a cold lonely night. The snow is falling around the lonely union soldier, as he looks longingly at photographs of his family. At this same time, the illustration shows his wife, praying for his safety, and his safe return home. Their children lay asleep in the bed as the wife prays. If you look carefully in the upper left of the illustration, you will see one of the very early Thomas Nast images of Santa. Santa can be seen approaching the chimney, and his reindeer are parked on the roof. http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1863/january/christmas-eve.htm
We met with Maryland Delegate Barrie Ciliberti today at the farm. Read about this on our blog here.
Added 123 more images from the 155th Battle of Crampton's Gap event courtesy of Erika Burgoyne-Hongell. Erika was asked to be the official photographer for the event. If you would like a high resolution copy or print of any photograph without the watermark, contact Erika at firstname.lastname@example.org here.
Added 67 more images from the 155th Battle of Crampton's Gap event courtesy of Carl Byrd here.
Added 129 images from the 155th Battle of Crampton's Gap event here.
An Open Letter to the Residents of Burkittsville:
The Burkittsville Preservation Association thanks each and every one of you for your participation in the 155th Battle of Crampton’s Gap! We also thank you for sharing our wonderful town with the participants. It was evident to all of them that we take pride in our town and they could not have been more complimentary of you. Time and time again, they individually remarked at how period the town felt, not marred by 21st century trappings and commercialization beyond the necessities of roads and power. They recognized that we are lucky to live here. This was the perfect setting for street fighting!
We are especially grateful for your enthusiasm. As we drove around on Saturday, shuttling participants to the Ciderworks, Crampton’s Gap, Charlie’s barbecue, parking at the Ruritan, and the individual camps, everyone was out sweeping and pruning. The cars disappeared from the streets and it was like we were living in a Twilight Zone episode. The Confederates, meager in number, camped without tents in Guyton Park. They marveled at the beautiful vista the morning sun exposed. They also worked on eliminating the grape and apple surplus in the park!
The Federals enjoyed camping surrounded by corn fields, taking advantage of the buildings and vistas which appeared in their photographs. They also kept period photographer and former resident, Todd Harrington, busy producing some great keepsake images. Our neighbors from Pleasant Valley, Larry and Julie McGrane, provided their wonderful service to the army as the Christian Commission.
We also want to thank Diane Tso, Cara Murray, and Liz Richardson for handling registration and giving historical tours of the Hamilton Willard Shafer house. Their pleasant and caring manner went a long way in setting the tone for our participants, who had long journeys getting here. They came from Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia. Thanks also to Ryan Conklin, author of the book “The 18th New York Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster,” for talking to the Federal reenactors on Saturday.
The anticipation grew in town as the time came for the opposing forces to meet. The battle plan went a little off script, but as normally happens, it was for the better. There was almost constant firing somewhere on the street as they battled, heading west with the predictable conclusion. The town’s people, their guests, and lucky passersby witnessed something that is getting harder to see. Although there are younger men joining the ranks, the majority of reenactors are getting long in the tooth. Add to this our current political climate regarding views on the Confederacy and the loss of large event promoters, and it is getting harder to find places for quality events. Those of you lining the streets could not have been more appreciative. One reenactor, the victim of “taking a hit,” was welcomed on to someone’s porch for a cold beer! Women in period dress and not, handed cookies and apples to other “wounded” men.
We would like to thank Mark Carroll and his able assistant Jayme Marshall for a fabulous meal. I heard compliment after compliment about the delicious meal each participant enjoyed. The Southern boys also received some leftover biscuits and ham for breakfast! Rebecca, Rachel, and Nan provided tasty desserts while helping out Relay for Life. Charlie Cottingham, Kirk Evans, and Marissa Smith provided wonderful music at dinner. If it wasn’t period, it was darn close. They also came back to the Federal camp to play awhile, providing the camp with some great period atmosphere.
We also give a shout out to Troop 1066 in Jefferson, for providing numerous water containers when our plans for pumping water timed out. We were so close to being able to use the newly installed hand pump, courtesy of Tri County Pump Service, but our water quality tests weren’t good enough yet.
Thanks also to Gladhill Tractor for their donation of a John Deere lawn tractor for the farm. Matt Morris, Frederick County’s Agriculture Agent, bush hogged the more wild part of the HWS farm for the event and helped with road closures and shuttling participants. And a thumbs up to Tyler Savage for a job well done, pitching in where we needed him with a great attitude and work ethic, not lost on the participants. Thanks also to Jody Brumage, bringing the SMHS museum to the front porch while members prepared for their big fund raising book sale! St. Paul’s and the Ruritan Club provided the best sites for both the dinner and parking. Thanks to all the participants for without you there can be no event. You provide a living link to the past, educating young and old alike. You could not have been more gracious guests! And thanks to the board members of BPA, the last week especially, for their hard work and preparation, making the event a success!
Is anyone up for repeating the event in 2018?
Added Architectural Drawings of the barn and outbuildings from the NPS HPTC to the Documents Page. here.
Added the Deed History of the Hamilton Willard Shafer Farm to the Documents Page. here.
Watch an animated 3D video of the Shafer house made by Preservation Maryland on the Blog at here.
Added information about Tim Reese's Sealed With Their Lives on the Home page and added two documents to the Documents page courtesy of Tim Reese; Colonel Bartlett's 1889 National Tribune article on his Crampton's Gap remembrances and a selection from Tim's High Water Mark.
View images of the Federal campsite on the Hamilton Willard Shafer farm on the Blog here!
Read about Tri-County Pump Service working at enabling water service at the Hamilton Willard Shafer Farm on the Blog here!
Thank you to all who came to or helped with our first House & Garden Tour! Unfortunately, our NPS HPTC work day was cancelled due to the weather today. We hope to reschedule soon.
If you shop at Amazon, you can now donate 0.5% of your purchase price to BPA. Just click the button below the scrollbox and find out how!
Cedar Ridge Soaps will make donations as a percentage of sales marked for BPA. Just click the button for Cedar Ridge Soaps in the righthand column and follow the directions!
For a copy of our first seminar for the residents of Burkittsville and how you can participate in the September Reenactment, click here!
BREAKING NEWS (03/12/2017):
The Burkittsville House & Garden Tour is coming May 20th! The proceeds will go toward the preservation of the Hamilton Willard Shafer farm. You can help out by volunteering for jobs before the event here or jobs during the day of the event, Saturday, May 20th here.
BREAKING NEWS (02/23/2017):
Thanks to Preservation Maryland, the roof is sealed! It doesn't look pretty, but it will allow the interior to dry out so that interior work may start. Also, read about what's going on in a recent Middletown Valley Citizen in the Blog here!.
BREAKING NEWS (02/12/2017):
1) Today was a work day in the attic of the house. Todd, Jody, and Alex sifted through the trash and brought the artifacts down to the second floor where their historical value may be obtained in a dry, light-filled work area. The attic is almost swept clean! 2) We have announced Jody's consulting position on the Home page with a link to his blog. 3) We have also added a link to the crowdrise page where Preservation Maryland is raising funds for our roof repairs. The image above is looking south from a hole in the roof!
BREAKING NEWS (02/03/2017):
Added our new logo to the Home page and redesigned the Images page while adding 50 new photographs.
BREAKING NEWS (01/01/2017):
Check out new postings on the blog!
BREAKING NEWS (12/08/2016):
Check out new postings on the blog!
BREAKING NEWS (11/30/2016):
Check out new postings on the blog!
BREAKING NEWS (11/10/2016):
Recent articles published on the blog!
BREAKING NEWS (09/18/2016):
Shannon C. Shafer and Sarah B. Shafer have donated the Hamilton Willard Shafer Farm at 1606 Gapland Road, Burkittsville, MD, to the Burkittsville Preservation Association, Inc. to preserve the property so that future generations may understand the property's significance in the Battle of Crampton's Gap.!
BREAKING NEWS (05/19/2016):
Blog is now active!
BREAKING NEWS (03/20/2016):