The Knox boys in the 30th Virginia Regiment spent the final ten months of the Civil War in the trenches of the Howlett Line. This line of Confederate defenses spanned the Bermuda Hundred area, and the soldiers here spent days on-edge with enemy soldiers just a few hundred yards distant.
The young men from the Knox Family (originally from the Fredericksburg area) wrote rather frequently to their homefront family and fortunately many of the letters survived. Here are excerpt from one written in December 1864 with details about the arrival of a Christmas box.
Considering the high inflation, lack of supplies, and uncertainty of that year in Confederate Virginia, the package for the Knox boys is probably the exception to the norm in the saga of Civil War Christmases in the South.
Decr 24th 64
Yours of the 19th inst was received by me while on picket. Buck Berry having met his brother Robert in Richmond & he brought the letters straight to the regiment while Buck remained behind to take care of the boxes &c. I was on picket yesterday & had a terribly cold time of it. Our Brigade goes on picket every other night now….
Alick… will be down tomorrow again to join us in the attack upon “Turkey,” & the other edibles… The cakes fairly flew. They were excellent & much enjoyed. The apples and chestnuts will be duly disposed of. We gave Col. Chew and Lt. Col. Goulding some apples and will gave[sp] Charlie Carmichael some in your name….
Accept our thanks for your valuable Christmas gifts. Every thing will be duly appreciated. We shall fare very well indeed. My pants look nice indeed. I have put them on, my others having given out entirely. The books will be enjoyed if we stay here. I wish we had some thing which we could send you first a Christmas gift, but there is nothing except our warmest love and thanks. Alick says he has two baskets which he bought for Christmas gift for Sister & Mollie. Alick got his socks all safe tell Mary….
Every thing us quiet all around us. Rhodes Division is near us ready to support us in case of attack upon us. The Yanks know that Hunton has gone from deserters[.] Mr. Moncure has gone home go spend his Christmas. So we will have no preaching unless Rev Warren Owebs will preach & he is sick, taken sick since left home. His two sons are in my company. I hope you will have a merry Christmas[;] at least we wish you one.
It is now getting dark so I must close with any quantity of love to yourself & all & all friends.
Again thanking you for your kindness & Christmas gifts I must close.
Your affec[tionate] son
Source: The Circle Unbroken: Civil War Letters of the Knox Family of Fredericksburg, published by Central Rappahannock Heritage Center and Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, 2013.