New Year’s Eve in History

469030-uss-monitor-public-domain-image285_rosecransOn New Year’s Eve 1862, the USS Monitor sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras, NC. The ship was being towed to Beaufort, NC by the USS Rhode Island, when a tow line broke and ship began taking on water. The Monitor sank with the loss of 4 officer and 16 crew. The wreck was discovered in 1974.

Also on New Year’s Eve 1862, and continuing into New Year’s Day 1863, was the Battle of Stones River outside Murfreesboro, TN.  The Federal Army of the Cumberland under General Rosecrans ( left ) engaged Confederates of the Army of Tennessee under Braxton Bragg. The result was a retreat by Bragg that abandoned much of Middle Tennessee  to the Union. After the battle, the Federals constructed  a huge fortification called Fortress Rosecrans that served as a supply depot and base of occupation for the Union for the duration of the war.

Merry Christmas from the 79th New York

nyhs_harpers1_3_1863_001-de1The 79th New York Infantry would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a joyous Holiday Season.

The scene at right was published in the January 3, 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly. The image, by Thomas Nast, shows Santa Claus visiting a Federal camp. In the background is a sign that reads “Welcome Santa Claus.” The illustration shows Santa handing out gifts to children and soldiers, one of whom receives a new pair of socks. Santa is pictured sitting on his sleigh, which is being pulled by reindeer. Santa has a long white beard, a furry hat, collar and coat. Santa is holding a dancing puppet of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in one hand, and Davis appears to have a string tied around his neck, so Santa appears to be lynching Jefferson Davis. This is Nast’s first published picture of Santa Claus.