The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

Sherman’s Plan

What was Christmas Day 1864 like in New York City?

The winter was a cold one, and the ice skaters were already out. The New York Times commented on the overall situation in the metropolis:

Tomorrow is Christmas, the merriest of all holidays.… A walk through Broadway or the Bowery at this time would not convey to a stranger the idea that we were a people impoverished by an exhausted [sic] war, overburdened with taxes and oppressed with woe. Gaily decorated shops, filled with articles of convenience and luxury, crowded with eager customers, attest the prosperity of the people.

Of course, these were not all the people. There were some who shivered in the cold and others who had nowhere to sleep. But New York City then—as now—reflected the image that the upper-class, white American wished to see. And even if all was not perfect in the Empire City, things there were certainly a good deal better than those in the Confederate capital.


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