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November 2008 An Electronic Blast

From Fort Laramie Historical Association

In this issue

Be a Part of History!

  • Western expansion began at Fort Laramie and can only continue with your involvement. If you would like information on becoming a Fort Laramie Historical Association Member, please send us an email.

    Being a part of history benefits everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Cause For Thanksgiving”  A picture from the Nov 26, 1887 issue of Harper's Weekly.  Four hungry soldiers are shown gathered around a small campfire, as their comrades approach with food.

I couldn't find any mention of Thanksgiving being celebrated at Fort Laramie, so I did a little Google searching and ran across a website called Ragged Soldier Sutlery & Vintage Volumes where Virginia Mescher has an article called "Thanksgiving As A National Holiday In Peace and War". In it, Virginia tells of the beginnings of the Thanksgiving Day celebration, but what caught my eye was the section on "Thanksgiving Among The Troops In The Civil War", where she gives us a peek into what Thanksgiving was like for the soldiers back then. I've only included a couple paragraphs from her article, so you might be interested in reading the rest of her article, here. Enjoy the memories of a few soldiers during Thanksgiving long ago and I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Captain George F. Noys, the purveyor of the Army of the Shenandoah which was commanded by Phil Sheridan, supplied the soldiers with fifty thousand turkeys on Thanksgiving eve. Not having enough spits or any tin kitchens did not stop the preparation of the feast in the army camps. The turkeys were boiled or stewed, but the lack of a properly roasted turkey did not lessen the enjoyment. One soldier wrote, "It isn't the turkey, but the idea that we care for."

Some soldiers wrote home to loved ones about how Thanksgiving was celebrated among the troops. In one letter to the editor of Plymouth's The Old Colony Memorial newspaper, a soldier sent a description of an 1861 celebration in Newport News, Virginia. The writer described the hall and wrote the following, "We actually sat down to a table with a white cloth, loaded with all manner of good things, and handled knives, forks, and spoons, like civilized men. Moreover, those who wanted it, drank cider out of a tumbler. The men ate heartily, and yet seemed to remember that too great a change of diet would be injurious. Turkey, chicken pie, and pudding disappeared..."

Apparently, football is not just a modern Thanksgiving tradition. A soldier from an Indiana regiment wrote, "We had an excellent dinner here Thanksgiving Day, turkey, chicken pies, cakes, nuts, apples and everything nice. We have the best kind of times. We have a foot ball and we have a good deal of fun with it. The boys are in a game now."

December Sale

Fort Laramie Historical Association Bookstore & Gift Shop

Christmas Sale

December 1 -31

Christmas Tree

10% Off Everything (excludes stamps, memberships, gift cards, and reduced items). Member discount still applies! If you are a member or become one, you receive an additional 15% off!

New Items

Fort Laramie Kid's T-Shirt


Fort Laramie National Historic Site Kid's T-Shirts in blue & pink for $12.95Close up of Fort Laramie National Historic Site Kid's T-Shirt in blue for $12.95

We have new T-Shirts for kids! These 100% cotton t's come in kids sizes Small(2/4) to Large (14/16) and in a lovely pink or handsome blue. The drawing is of four adorable kids, in the period attire of a Native American, Pioneer, Fur Trapper, and Cavalry Soldier. Around the kids it says "Fort Laramie National Historic Site - Wyoming". What a fantastic new t-shirt! Even if I do say so myself! I've already been asked why I don't have these in adult sizes. If I have enough requests, that might become a reality!

Fort Laramie Magnet


Fort Laramie National Historic Site Magnet for $3.95

Our brand new magnet is the same design as our new kid's t-shirt, except it's in technicolor! This 2" metal magnet is wonderfully hand-painted with rich enamel colors. A must have for any well dressed memo board or fridge!