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Soldiers' Christmas

During the war, soldiers celebrated Christmas and the New Year in many different ways. Illustrations from the period range from the quiet reflection depicted in "The Sentry's Christmas" to the jubilant "Holiday Festivities of the 44th New York Volunteers." They also include Thomas Nast's first image of Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly; Santa appears patriotically dressed in a star-spangled jacket over a striped robe or trousers, visiting with soldiers in an army camp.

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Thumbnail Image Caption/Description Source of Illustration Publication Date
Thumbnail of the image The Sentry's Christmas, a black-and-white image from New York Illustrated News. The Sentry's Christmas - Thoughts of Home New York Illustrated News,
January 4, 1862,
front page
1862-01-04
Thumbnail of the image The Bright Side of War, a black-and-white image from Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. The Bright Side of War - Holiday Festivities of the 44th New York Volunteers, at Their Camp, Hall's Hill, Virginia Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper,
January 11, 1862,
front page
1862-01-11
Thumbnail of the image Santa Claus in Camp, a black-and-white image from Harper's Weekly magazine. Santa Claus in Camp Harper's Weekly,
January 3, 1863,
front page
1863-01-03
Last Updated: July 26, 2021