|Christmas Boxes in Camp, 1861 by Winslow Homer *|
Union soldier L.W. Wolcott wrote to his mother on September 22, 1862:
If this reached you in time I wish you would send me my rubber blanket, two pair of homemade socks (they are so much better than we can get), a good stout tablefork and a spoon as it is impossible to get them here. The socks Mrs. Lockwood gave me are about worn out but the towel does good service yet.It warms any knitter's heart to hear someone say that a pair of homemade socks are "... so much better than we can get," and I can imagine Wolcott's mother picking up her knitting needles the second she put down his letter!
Side Note: So what are "drawers"? Underwear. Men in the 19th century didn't wear the briefs or boxers of today, instead they wore long cotton pants under their wool trousers to keep clean (drawers were washed more frequently than the trousers) and to prevent itching in delicate areas.Those socks you sent me came in just the time. Our boys are mighty hard up for socks, they have neither socks, or drawers.
|Six and Eighty-Six Knitting for the Soldiers, 1865 **|
Want to try knitting a pair of Civil War socks? Here is an original pattern from 1865, posted by the Atlantic Guard Soldier's Aid Society (a Civil War reenacting group). It's fun to read, but hard to knit - primarily because knitting terms have changed over the years ... you'll feel like you're reading a foreign language. However, all is not lost! The March / April 2009 edition of Piecework has wonderful patterns for both a Union sock and a Confederate sock, written for the modern knitter and available on Ravelry.
Need help with your socks? The staff at FiberWild! have knit many socks, both modern and historic patterns. Give us a call, we're happy to help!
|Civil War woman knitting. Perhaps socks?|
* "Christmas Boxes in Camp - Christmas 1861" by Winslow Homer and published in Harper's Weekly on January 4, 1862.
** "Six and Eighty-Six Knitting for the Soldiers" is from The Tribute Book: A Record of the Munificence, Self-Sacrifice and Patriotism of the American People during the War for the Union (yup, that's the whole title) by Frank Goodrich. Published in 1865, it highlights the aid societies and volunteer work done by many, and especially women, during the Civil War. Click here to see a digital copy of it in the Hathi Digital Trust.