This Book and Christmas are Free, But Back Then?

Do you wonder what she’s thinking about? That’s Kat Flannery, bestselling author of “Chasing Clovers” and “Lakota Honor.” With today’s last FREE day for her latest book, “Hazardous Unions” (co-authored with Alison Bruce), Kat’s thinking about what’s free and what’s not, what to be grateful for and the things that most, during the days of the Civil War, were more grateful for than we could ever imagine.

This is what Kat had to say about Christmas during the Civil War.

On the home front:

 Women and children were left to tend the family home; work, or help in the hospitals while their husbands and fathers went off to war.

Christmas traditions were steadfast as families celebrated a part from one another trying to keep a normalcy that wasn’t there.

 Decorating the home was something that kept the family spirit up. A Christmas tree was the most important decoration in any home; often small and usually sat on the top of a table, it was the centerpiece. Homemade ornaments of dried fruit, strung popcorn and pinecones littered the tree. Holly, ivy, pines and mistletoe were strewn around doors, mantels and stair rails. 

 Depending on your financial status, Christmas dinner varied from home to home. Salted pork, turkey, goose, potatoes, corn bread and puddings were all holiday favorites.

 If the women knew where their husband was stationed, they’d put together a care package of baked fruit, cookies, dried pork, knitted socks or scarves and a letter.

In the field:

 Many of the men grew homesick for their families around Christmas, and the mood around camp turned melancholy. In an effort to lift the men’s spirits a Christmas tree was erected in most camps.

 Alfred Bellard of the 5th New Jersey noted, “In order to make it look much like Christmas as possible, a small tree was stuck up in front of our tent, decked off with hard tack and pork, in lieu of cakes and oranges, etc.” 

 The men were fed canned pork, beans, bread and coffee, a much different fare than loved ones back home.

 Silent Night, Away in a Manger and Deck the Halls were sung in the camps, and in homes across the country. These carols must’ve been difficult for both the families at home and the men at war to sing knowing their loved ones were so far away.

Thanks for sharing this, Kat. This Thanksgiving and Christmas are certainly times to be grateful, not just for our freedoms and for those who have fought for them, but also for easier times to be grateful in. Pick up your FREE copy of Hazardous Unions right now and experience not just a more enjoyable, but a more meaningful Christmas this year.


Click here for your FREE copy:


Twin sisters separated by war, bound by love…

After the death of their father, twin sisters Maggie and Matty Becker are forced to take positions with officers’ families at a nearby fort. When the southern states secede, the twins are separated, and they find themselves on opposite sides of America’s bloodiest war.

In the south, Maggie travels with the Hamiltons to Bellevue, a plantation in west Tennessee. When Major Hamilton is captured, it is up to Maggie to hold things together and deal with the Union cavalry troop that winters at Bellevue. Racism, politics and a matchmaking stepmother test Maggie’s resourcefulness as she fights for Bellevue, a wounded Confederate officer and the affections of the Union commander.

In the north, Matty discovers an incriminating letter in General Worthington’s office, and soon she is on the run. With no one to turn to for help, she drugs the wealthy Colonel Cole Black and marries him, in hopes of getting the letter to his father, the governor of Michigan. But Cole is not happy about being married, and Matty’s life becomes all about survival.

Kat Flannery Author Site:

Alison Bruce Author Site:

And now, to put you more in the Holiday Spirit, a song to sing, courtesy of Kat Flannery!

Christmas Bells (By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet
The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime
A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Happy Holidays! Yours in literature,



One thought on “This Book and Christmas are Free, But Back Then?

  1. Kat Flannery November 22, 2013 / 4:24 pm

    Thanks so much for having me on, Jesse! 🙂

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