Thursday, November 28, 2013


By Wes Teel
Day was predated by the Confederate Thanksgiving Day. Both in 1861 and 1862 President Jefferson Davis declared Thanksgiving Day for the Confederate States. His eloquent declaration states: 
"To the People of the Confederate States 
Once more on the Plaines of Manassas our armies have been blessed by The Lord of Hosts with a triumph over our enemies. It is my privi- lege to invite you once more to His footstool, not in the garb of fasting and sorrow, but with joy and gladness, to render thanks for the great mercies received at His hand.                                                                                       
In such circumstances, it is meet and right that, as a people, we should bow down in adoring thankfulness to that gracious God who has been our bulwark and defense, and to offer unto him the tribute of thanksgiving and praise. In his hand is the issue of all events, and to him should we, in an especial manner, ascribe the honor of this great deliverance. 
Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, do issue this, my proclamation, setting apart Thursday, the 18th day of September inst., as a day of prayer and thanksgiving to Almighty God for the great mercies vouchsafed to our people, and more especially for the triumph of our arms at Richmond and Manassas; and I do hereby invite the people of the Confederate States to meet on that day at their respective places of public worship, and to unite in rendering thanks and praise to God for these great mercies, and to implore Him to conduct our country safely through the perils which surround us, to the final attainment of the blessings of peace and security.

Given under my hand and the seal of the Confederate States, at Richmond, this fourth day of September, A.D.1862." 
Jefferson Davis 
Unlike their northern counter parts, who feasted on turkey, fruit, coffee, and vegetables, our southern soldiers were usually relegated to modest meal of rice, hard tack, sweet potato, and gingerbread cake.

Pat Lang writes in his article entitled "Thanksgiving in the Field - 1863" "On the 26th they had Thanksgiving. Smoot and Harris explained the nature of this feast to Balthazar (a French officer who had come to ob- serve Gen. Let's army), telling him of the memory of God's providence to the colonists at Jamestown. He (Balthazar) heard them out, and sent hunting parties into the woodland. 
Jubal Early came to dinner. He sat on a saw horse in the barn where they ate, a tin plate of venison and wild turkey in one hand, a tea cup of whiskey beside him. The troops sat in the hay eating happily." Good old Jubal, never one to turn down a good cup of whiskey.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, but we should give credit to who actually declared it first and that was Jefferson Davis, not Abraham Lincoln.