Christmas Fort Bridger 1857

In spite of the soldiers ballet, Captain Jesse Gove of the 10th Infantry found his 1857 Christmas at Fort Bridger somewhat lacking. As we can see in this letter to his wife, he was homesick for more than festivities.

"Friday December 25 It is Christmas and my thoughts fly to you in Concord. I imagine I see Charlie wishing his Papa a Merry Christmas. Well, today I went up to camp. Called on Colonel Johnston. Several of the officers and myself then started out for calls. Went to Mrs. Canby's, who is living as comfortable as a heart could wish, and on Mrs. Burns, then on Governor Cumming and lady. She is a small pert woman, looks like Miss Retchie, wears spectacles, very agreeable and affable. Comfortable as could be desired, took some wine, et cetra. All these people have comfortable homes and tents, and in this delightful climate everybody is happy and cheerful. At 4:00 PM, I dined with Captain Dickerson. During the evening the soldiers had a ballet in two large hospital tents. Most of the officers went in and took a glass of wine with the managers. Last night the 10th Infantry and 5th Infantry bands were out all night playing throughout the camp. A Merry and Happy Christmas to you and the dear ones." "Friday January 1st 1858 A Happy New Year to you all! I think I have spent the holidays very poorly. The ball last night, given by the non-commissioned officers of the 10th Infantry, was a great affair. They danced until daylight. I am now glad I did not go up."

From the Gallant Custer's Widow

If instead of writing a Christmas welcome to the thousands of women to whom this Christmas Journal will go, I could enter the homes myself and talk with you, it would please me far better than using this greeting made formal by pen and paper. Perhaps in the midst of Christmas carols and Christmas cheer there would be no opportunity to take me about your homes and show me what ingenuity, taste and thought you have given to ornamenting and making pleasant the blessed abode for your husband and children . I might not be permitted, for want of time on your part, to know the history of each gift which you have planned and thought out late at night, and in the calm of early morning. But still, I dearly wish that I might enter your comfortable homes, and hear of your aims, your blessings and perplexities, your sorrows. In wishing all the good things this world gives may descend on the households to which the Journal goes, I would that it might give me the special privliege to let me enter those thousands of little makeshifts for home throughout our land that the busy women of limited means have set up; the dingy rooms under the eaves, where deft fingers have made such transformations; the little apartments where is ever semi-twilight, where God's beautiful twilght comes in thru the narrow windows-ah, it is to you, brave, but lonely women, if any such read these words, that I wish to send my love, and whatever of courage deep felt words can convey. The widows, the girl bachelors, the solitary old maids, all of you who are so much to me, I envy the printed and pictured sheets of this holiday Journal, the cheer and comfort they carry.

Elizabeth B. Custer
Ladies Home Journal 1890