CHRISTMAS AT MOSS NECKGenerals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson & Major Walter Taylor
Moss Neck Manor - Caroline County, Virginia
During the winter of 1862-63 General Stonewall Jackson made his headquarters at one of Virginia’s most lavish estates, Moss Neck Manor. The 1600 acre plantation owned by the Corbin family was eleven miles down river from Fredericksburg. The majestic home was 250 feet long with two wings. Moss Neck Plantation became the winter quarters for the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. The soldiers camped near the stables several hundred yards from the manor.
The last days of 1862 were cold and snowy. Both General Jackson and Lee wrote letters to their wives expressing their hopes and dreams of peace for the coming year. Jackson’s wife Anna wished him to take leave and travel to North Carolina to see his family for the season. Stonewall replied, “It appears to me that it is better for me to remain with the command so long as the war continues, if ever gracious Heavenly Father permits. The Army suffers immensely from absentees. If all our troops, officers & men were at their posts, we might through God’s blessing, expect a more speedy termination of the war.”
As Christmas approached the Corbins and Jackson prepared for a big celebration. Grateful southern citizens brought so much food to the manor that Jackson invited General Lee, Stuart, Pendleton, along with selected staff members to a Christmas dinner. A lavish table was prepared with three turkeys, ham, oysters, vegetables, pickles, and freshly baked biscuits. A bottle of wine would be served by servants wearing white aprons. When the twelve officers arrived for dinner, all were surprised at the bounty of the feast. A great time was had by all.
On the last day of the year General Lee published to his army a congratulatory order on the successful battle of Fredericksburg. But in it he warned that new duties lay ahead. “The war is not yet ended. The enemy is still numerous and strong, and our country demands of the army a renewal of its heroic efforts in her behalf.”
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