From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
The Anthony Letters
Christmas Dinner Was Served In Camp on Secesh Crockery
Leavenworth Times, 1956-7
Headquarers[sic], Camp Johnson
Dec 26, 1861
Dear Sister Susan:
Well, here I am again in command of this camp. Our regiment of 900 cavalry, 3 companies of the 8th Iowa, and Capt. Howard with 3 pieces artillery, and Lieut. Col. Martin with 2 companies 8th Kansas -- in all 1600 men -- quite a handsome command.
Col. Jennison gone to Mound City, Kan. He will return Saturday.
I have selected a fine house for my headquarters -- the owner is in the Secesh army (this letter is written on Secesh paper taken at Harrisonville. The house contains 3 rooms--is unplastered.
Our adjutant, Lieut Hoyt of Boston; Capts John Brown, Jr., and R. J. Hinton; and my orderly Rob't Pierce (one of the best boys in the world) occupy the house with me. Then we have four colored men for servants -- one to take care of the horses, one body servant, one cook, and one waiter.
Today was our first dinner here as we had none Christmas. We called is our Christmas Dinner. We had splendid biscuit, coffee, roast goose and chickens and butter and molasses. All with plenty of Secesh crockery. What we failed in food was made up in dishes. What we did have was gotten up in the very best of style -- I never ate a better dinner anywhere. Tomorrow Tom says he will give us the same with apple dumplings and pies.
The four colored men are playing the fiddle in the kitchen and the boys are playing Euchre in the front room. The sleeping room upstairs is carpeted but unplastered. I have a matress[sic] and featherbed on a good French bedstead, but no sheets.
Hinton sits closeby reading the Chicago Tribune. I had to put 17 men on police duty today for leaving camp without permission. The men all sleep in tents, snow 6 inches deep and quite cold now. They have plenty of straw. We expect to remain here some two months but will probably move south on a scouting expedition with a strong force to feel after Price.
D. R. Anthony