Posted on by fobbnc
This Christmas, for the first time ever, visitors experienced the Harper House not as a field hospital, but as a home. During the day and lamplit at night, seeing the house set up as a home brought a totally new and different perspective to the iconic house than has not been seen in a long time.
With two programs in one day, Bentonville brought forth the holiday season in grand fashion on December 3rd, 2022. Over 1,000 visitors celebrated with us while exploring the battlefield!
During the annual ‘A Civil War Christmas’ program from 10:00-3:00, living historians discussed how soldiers and civilians alike would have celebrated Christmas during the Civil War. Visitors walked through the Harper House and saw how the Harpers themselves might would have celebrated Christmas during the Civil War, with minimal decorations, all harvested from the farm itself. And of course, our most popular activity, visitors and staff both had a blast painting their own Bentonville Christmas ornaments!
Check out a few pictures of the day’s festivities below:
The real exciting event, however, came at night. From 5:00-8:00, the site hosted “In Heavenly Peace: Christmas 1865.” This program showed visitors a view into how the Harpers may have celebrated Christmas in 1865, just months after the deadly battle of Bentonville raged nearby. With their house still standing and their sons home from war, there would have been much to celebrate. But after four long years of war and blood stains still on their dining room floor, there was cause for somberness as well. With resources still limited as the area began to rebound from the battle, the Harpers most likely did the best they could with what they had to make a bright Christmas focused on the reunion of family and the newfound peace in the nation.
After walking through the lamplit home and seeing the Christmas decorations, visitors enjoyed delicious cookies and cider by a warm campfire. Finally (or to begin and end for many families!), a ride on the Bentonville Christmas wagon with flashing LED lights and Christmas music brought it back to 2022 in style!
We as a staff had a blast at the Christmas program, talking with visitors, making ornaments, drinking cider, and more! We hope the visitors had as much fun (or more) as we did!
A huge thank you goes to the Friends of Bentonville Battlefield for sponsoring and supporting the day’s events and to our staff and volunteers for their hard work! Thanks to John Trogdon, Megan Peedin, and Anna Kulcsar for sharing their photos. Also thank you to the Harper House Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy for supporting the battlefield and providing some snacks, coffee, and hot chocolate. Finally, another huge thank you goes to the living historians of the 27th NC Co. D for helping us out all day!
Check out more pictures from our event below and be sure to subscribe to the blog and don’t miss our exciting upcoming posts!
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