The Fight For Tennessee: July 1863 to January 1864

Gettysburg Address

What was the first national Thanksgiving Day like?

Recording the feeling on an individual level was impossible: there were far too many homes and families to accomplish that. But on a national level, the first Thanksgiving was a major triumph. No one planned it—no one could have—but the news of Union triumphs in the Western theater arrived on the front page of the newspapers on Thursday, November 27, 1863.

“Glorious Victory! General Grant’s Great Success; Bragg Routed and Driven from Every Point; Successful Battle on Tuesday.” These were the headlines in the New York Times. Many people commented on the extreme good fortune that Lincoln and his administration enjoyed in public relations. The news of Gettysburg and Vicksburg arrived on or slightly after the Fourth of July, and the news of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge came just as the newspapers were setting their type for Thanksgiving Day.


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