Month: December 2015

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s #Christmas Bells and the #CivilWar

We were fortunate enough to visit Shepherdtown, WV for their Second Annual Civil War Christmas. Check out my previous post for details and images. However, we missed their shadow play based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Christmas Bells.

It has long been a favorite carol of mine; what I did not know, was the story behind the poem. There is a sad melancholy attached to the piece that is impossible to miss, and yet it still ends on a happy note with that single abiding human emotion that links us all together – hope.

So, in celebration and in contemplation for this Christmas week, please find the words to Longfellow’s poem below and a beautiful video put together by SpiritandTruthArt.  

Happy Holidays from all of us on the Invalid Corps Team and wishing you always, “peace on Earth, and goodwill to men.”

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!


A Civil War Christmas in Shepherdtown, West Virginia

This weekend, we went out to Shepherdtown, WV to see if we could get a little extra footage. This was the second annual “Civil War Christmas in Shepherdstown.” Organized by the Shepherd University Department of History, the George Tyler Moore Center, and the Shepherdtown Visitors Center there were a plethora of activities and things to see. We got lost a few times. I am not sure the maps were created for out-of-towners like us, either that, or we just had a terrible sense of direction. I suspect the latter.

There was some great living history and we took a tour of the Conrad Shindler House, which houses the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, and finished off our day at the Ferry Hill plantation. Both of the buildings had portions that existed during the Civil War. We also saw the making of 19th-century ornaments, but sadly missed the shadow play that was scheduled to highlight Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Christmas Bells.” Below are a few photos from the day.

Civil War Christmas Tree with paper chains and tin ornaments. Many had carved wooden ornaments as well
Chair, table, and books at George Tyler Moore Center. A room, as it was in the 1860s.
Close up of binoculars and a book – Casey’s Infantry Tactics
Oranges with Cloves (pomander) on the fireplace mantel. The cloves helped preserve the fruit from spoiling and the aromas helped fragrance the home for many months.
Front of Perry Hill Plantation
Evergreen is everywhere. The most common decoration for the season at the time.