“Little Doctor on the Black Horse” Post #12 – Christmas in Savannah –

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Little Doctor on the Black Horse

Christmas in Savannah

by Harriott Benedict Wickham Barton


“Savannah, Dec 25 – My dear Wife: Today is Christmas, so I send you Christmas Greetings. I don’t suppose Aggie and Baby will know me when I get home. I think you are letting Aggie go to school most too young. It is not well for children to be confined so young.” (Aggie was 2 months short of her 4th birthday! Evidently Hattie heeded the warning, for Aggie finished high school at the usual age.) “I thought I would go to church today and hear the chants sung once more. After breakfast and fixing up some, the chaplain and I started on foot for the city, 5 miles. We took what was once the R. R. tracks, as it was better walking. I wanted to go to St. Paul’s on Madison Square, but could find no one to direct me. Then I saw one that looked like an Episcopal Church but it was not open. Then someone came along, and I found it was the right place, would open soon and the sexton would give me a seat. It is a nicely furnished church, in Gothic style, inside and out. A good organ and well played. Their singing was tolerable. One lady tried to overdo herself, I suppose because the church was crowded with Yankee officers. Many citizens were present, both men and women, but not a pretty one amongst them. Perhaps the pretty ones would not condescend to show their graces to this mob of ‘Lincoln’s Hirelings” or “Mudsills”. Most of them were dressed in black. The chants were good, the reading of the service good, but he left out the prayer for the president, prayed to it, and around it. I had a nice prayer book, and in the margin I wrote: ‘This prayer was omitted Dec. 25, 1864.’ The preacher was very good. After church I went to the Pulaski Monument, where I met the chaplain. The inscription reads: ‘Pulaski, the Heroic Pole, who fell, mortally wounded, while fighting for American Liberty, 9th Oct. 1779.’


Pulaski Monument

Pulaski Monument


“We got back to camp about 2 o’clock, and found our cook had gone to town, no Christmas dinner. However, I begged a few spoonfuls of rice, got a cup of sugar and started eating. One of my friends added a hard tack, another a slice of cold fried pork, and another a cup of coffee. So by this time I had a fine Christmas dinner.”

NEXT POST – In Camp at Savannah

Index of Posts


Editor Note: In 2003, I visited Savannah and traced David Benedict’s steps through the city, using his letter as my guide. Read an account of what I discovered in the post Hear the Chants Sung Once More.

harriott-wickham-1915-20-2About the Author: Harriott Benedict Wickham Barton   (1890-1981) was born in Norwalk, Ohio to Frank and Agnes Wickham. Her father was the youngest of twelve children of Frederick and Lucy Wickham, early settlers of the Firelands, and her mother was the great-great granddaughter of Platt and Sarah Benedict, who founded the city of Norwalk. Educated at Norwalk High School and Wooster College, she became a teacher. She marched as a suffragette and worked for the Labor Department during World War I. After the war, she went west to teach school, and became one of the last homesteaders, proving up a property near Wheatland, Wyoming. She married Angus Barton in 1924 and they raised four children on the homestead through the Dust Bowl and World War II. In the late 1940s, she and her Angus moved to Ohio, where they spent the rest of their lives. During the 1950s and ‘60s, she wrote “Little Doctor on the Black Horse,” poetry, and short stories, some which were published in various journals and magazines.

© 1961 by Harriott Benedict Wickham Barton. All rights reserved.

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