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ng in the evening and all manner of demonstrations illustrative of the freedom and the happiness of the people were in order. After the harvest and garnering of the grain came Thanksgiving, observed always by a feast. Everything that flies in the air, swims in the sea, grows out of the ground, or upon tree or vine, contributed to the abundance laid upon the table for the Thanksgiving dinner. In almost every home family parties gathered together to utter their gratitude to a bountiful Providence, and to feast upon the good things set before them. It must be confessed that there was sometimes indulgence beyond the proprieties. But the holiday of all the year was blessed Christmas-tide, extending from Christmas to and including New Year's Day. For weeks before parents and children would lay aside, with scrupulous care and great secrecy, all they could for Christmas; and none was so poor as to be indifferent to the influence of the pretty custom of remembering loved ones with s
ething akin to terror. During the sieges of Forts Henry and Donelson, Shiloh, Nashville, Corinth, and all the battles from Memphis to Vicksburg, and during the capture of that stronghold, so many brave men had fallen and so many widows and orphans were all around us, constantly appealing to our sympathies, that we had no respite. That Hope long deferred maketh the heart sick was experienced daily. It took moral courage to face the facts of the situation, and I sometimes think a special Providence must have sustained both the people and the soldiers through these trying times. The women of the country, both North and South, bore no small part of the burden of the war, and I have vivid recollections of seeing them display moral courage of the highest order. Trained nurses and undertakers were unknown in southern Illinois. These important offices were performed by the neighbors and friends with the loving-kindness and faithfulness that can not be purchased at any price. Though