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Christmas Season In Civil War Era Covington GA

Christmas Season Civil War Era Covington GaOne of the most famous Christmas gifts reported in Civil War history was when General Sherman captured the city of Savannah in December of 1864. This was considered a significant military success signaling the eminent end of the war. General Sherman reportedly telegraphed Abraham Lincoln: “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 100 and 50 guns and plenty of ammunition, also about 25,000 bales of cotton.”

After the capture of Savannah, the soldiers of General Sherman reportedly dressed their horses like reindeer to deliver food and supplies to hungry families in Georgia.

Certainly, these accounts conjure images of fair play, generosity and good will toward your fellow man, but Ms. Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge in her memoirs entitled, “ A Woman’s Wartime Journal”, tells a far more realistic tale of what a Christmas Season in Civil War Era Covington Ga was like.

December 22, 1864

Tuesday, the nineteenth of the month, I attended Floyd Glass’s wedding. She was married in the morning to Lieutenant Doroughty. She expected to have been married the week after the Yankees came, but her groom was not able to get here. Some of the Yankees found out in some way that she was to have been married and annoyed her considerably by telling her that they had taken her sweetheart prisoner; that when he got off the train at the Circle they took him and, some said, shot him.

The Yankee’s found Mrs. Glass’s china and glassware that she had buried in a box, broke it all up, and then sent her word that she would set no more fine tables. They also got Mrs. Perry’s Silver.

December 23, 1864

Just before night Mrs. Robert Rakestraw and Miss Mary drove up to spend the night with me. They had started down into Jasper County, hoping to get back their buggy, having a heard that several buggies were left at Mrs. Whitfield’s by the Yankees. Nothing new! It is confidently believed that Savannah has been evacuated. I hear nothing from my boys. Poor fellows, how I miss them!

December 24, 1864

This has usually been a very busy day with me, preparing for Christmas not only for my own tables, but for gifts for my servants. Now how changed! No confectionery, cakes, or pies can I have. We are all sad; no loud, jovial laugh from our boys is heard. Christmas Eve, which has ever been gaily celebrated here, which has witnessed the popping of firecrackers [the Southern custom of celebrating Christmas with fireworks] and the hanging up of stockings, is an occasion now of sadness and gloom. I have nothing even to put inside Sadai’s stocking, which hangs so invitingly for Santa Claus. How disappointed she will be in the morning, though I have explained to her why he cannot come. Poor children! Why must the innocent suffer with the guilty?

December 25, 1864

Sadai jumped out of bed very early this morning to feel her stocking. She could not believe but that there would be something in it. Finding nothing, she crept back into bed, pulled the cover over her face, and I soon heard her sobbing. The little Negros all came in: “Christmas gift, mist’ess! Christmas gift, mist’ess!”

I pulled the cover over my face and was soon mingling my tears with Sadai’s.

This Christmas when you raise your glass or begin your holiday meal, take a moment to remember those brave soldiers and civilians who gave their lives and service during the Civil War in Covington, Ga.

To learn more about Mrs. Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge and the Burge Farm history, log on to their website at

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