Lady and the Camp

In my post dated Dec. 28, 2012 (A Christmas Gift for Sgt. Hirst) I related how Sgt. Hirst’s wife, Sarah, surprised him by appearing at the door of his hut on Christmas Eve. It was also remarkable because it was rare that an enlisted man’s wife would even be allowed such a visit. Conversely, officers’ wives were frequently permitted to visit their husbands, so the visit of Captain Fiske’s wife, Elizabeth, as mentioned in last week’s post was not unique at all. What made her visit special to the regiment was the way in which she was received.

Many of the officers’ wives would visit Stony Mountain during this winter encampment, but Elizabeth Fiske was the first to arrive. In History of the Fourteenth Regiment, Connecticut Vol. Infantry, Charles Page wrote: “She (Mrs. Fiske) was heartily welcomed and was the object of much attention. The band serenaded her with some of its sweetest music and Lieutenant-Colonel Moore tendered her a dinner at which the regimental officers were present. The menu was most elaborate, consisting of soup, roast beef, turkey, chicken, plum pudding, four kinds of pie, nuts, apples, cider and champagne, and two loaves of cake handsomely frosted, which the sutler brought from Washington as a present to the popular Lieutenant-Colonel. The band also added its finest strains to further complete the occasion.”

As this was the only recorded instance of such a welcome dinner, it makes one wonder how the wives of the other officers were received.

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