Merry Christmas to all of my AT friends

Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone here a very merry Christmas and happy new year.  We will be travelling over the holidays and spending some quality with family and loved ones.

Today, we remember President Lincoln and Christmas 1864:

One hundred fifty years ago, the United States experienced its last holiday season of the Civil War. For the past three Decembers, President Abraham Lincoln had been frustrated by defeats on the battlefield and the continuation of a seemingly endless war. This Christmas of 1864 however, President Lincoln had much to celebrate...

In addition to being elected to a second term in November, President Lincoln had good news from the front indicating the Confederate war effort might be coming to an end. General Philip Sheridan drove the Confederates out of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and a Confederate effort to capture Nashville, Tennessee resulted in the defeat and near collapse of Confederate forces in the Western Theater. Perhaps the largest victory of all, however, came as an early Christmas gift to Lincoln in the form of a telegram from General William Tecumseh Sherman. The telegram read, "I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton."

With Savannah in Northern hands, victory seemed that much closer to President Lincoln. Washington celebrated the news of the fall of Savannah with a 300-gun salute... 

On Christmas Day 1864, Tad Lincoln, the President's young son, embraced the spirit of the holidays, inviting several cold and hungry newsboys he had met into the White House for Christmas dinner. Although the unexpected guests were a surprise to the White House cook, the president welcomed them and allowed them to stay for dinner... 

As Lincoln celebrated his last Christmas both in the White House and during his life, he probably reflected upon previous loss and a hopeful future. During Lincoln's last peacetime Christmas in 1860, the Lincoln family was in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln had been elected president. Although war had not broken out, war clouds loomed over the nation. That Christmas Eve, Lincoln's close friend Senator Edward Baker visited Lincoln. One year later, Baker was dead, having been killed at the Battle of Ball's Bluff in October 1861. In February 1862, the President experienced another personal loss when his son Willie suddenly fell ill and died in the White House. The holiday season of 1862 was marred by the Union defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg only a few weeks before Christmas. On January 1, 1863 President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation redefining the purpose of the war and, by the end of 1863, victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg had bolstered the Union cause.

Members of Company K of the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry celebrated Christmas in winter quarters on the grounds of the White House in 1863 and 1864. While several years previously they had enjoyed the holiday season with their families in Pennsylvania, they were now celebrating with their fellow comrades protecting the president and his family...

The Lincoln White House celebrated the Christmas of 1864 on a more positive note as the end of the war was in sight. While challenges remained, Union victory seemed inevitable that Christmas season. Although Lincoln would not see another Christmas, the decisions he made during his time at the White House to prevent the dissolution of the Union ensured the nation would endure, and through Lincoln's presidency the White House came to symbolize for all time the trials of the office.

We will see you in a few days.  Twenty twenty will be a great year, and we will have a lot to say about it.

Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

If you experience technical problems, please write to