In December, 1863, diarist Sarah Morgan and her mother took the oath of allegiance to the Union in order to move in with Sarah's brother and not starve as refugees.
The block is an interesting one in my six inch size. This is the last block of the Dixie Diary series, but there will be another Block of the Month next year. Next year's blocks are designed to be 12 inches.
I don't have any correspondence from Shep in December and I have already quoted from Billy's letter of the 2nd because it recounted his experience taking part in the charge up Missionary Ridge. Probably a day or two before the 14th, in a letter missing its first sheet, Billy writes to his sister Joanna that he does not think he will be among the boys coming home for Christmas, "... because there is no such thing as person getting a furlough here. And for my part I would rather not come than to come in some way that would be a disgrace to me and my folks. And there is another thing I don't care much about coming home until all the boys can come home and stay. Our Company is out on picket. The weather is quite warm, looks very little like rain, we have had but little cold weather here." Billy adds on the 14th that he has just washed and put on some clean clothes "... I made some toast which was excellent, it tasted like home." He complains he has not been getting as many letters as he writes and he wants Joanna to tell him the dates of the letters he sends, as well as how long they are in transit.
Fellow Company B member Allen W. Brown's letters to his wife in December speak to homesickness and loneliness because, he says, there is no news to write. He has never seen as still a time since he came in the service and there is no talk of moving this winter. He asks for two pair of boots and complains though there are plenty of socks, "they are not much count and they are so coarse that they scrach my legs and make me think that grey backs are on me." On the 11th, he reports that the regiment is going to work on the bridge across the Tennessee River and it will take at least two months to complete the job. Unlike Billy, he thinks the chances he'll get a furlough in about a month are pretty good.
On the 23rd, Brown says that the health of the Company has never been better, "and the confidence of the Army in its leaders never has been better. Grant and Thomas and I have no doubt that if they lead this Army in its next campaign, that they will lead it to victory. But, they cannot lead a victorious Army without loss of life and property." Unlike earlier in the month, it's been cold for four or five days. The men were preparing for a fine chicken dinner for Christmas Eve the next day.