Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas at Camp Rolla, 1861

The railroad had been laid to Rolla when the War Between the States began. The Union army moved in and took over the place because of the importance of controlling the railroad.
Here's an excerpt from a soldier's diary:

Until two weeks before Christmas the weather was relatively mild, but now the cold set in and two to three feet of snow covered the ground. We could not stand it any more in our tents. We four tent mates decided to build for ourselves a better house. Three fellows went into the nearby woods and felled trees which they carried to the building site. In the meantime, I quarried stones for our fireplace and in five days we had a spacious warm house. The walls were daubed with clay and the roof was covered with corn stalks and made so tight that it did not rain through. Others followed our example and soon threw up a new town which we called Camp Fremont. We celebrated Christmas in style. One of our housemates was a St. Louisian. His folks sent him a few flasks of wine, a small keg of the best beer, fifty cigars, a few packages of tobacco, sausages, ham, cheese, and other delicacies.

From “The Civil War Diary of John T. Buegel, Union Soldier”

Missouri Historical Review, July 1946

Cited by John Bradbury in Newsletter of the Phelps County Historical Society, January 1985

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