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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Thursday 24th

24 December 1863

Saturday 26th.

26 December 1863
25 December 1863
Friday 25th

The morning was beautifully clear, and as I sat in my dressing room looking out on the green lawn made resplendent with the slanting rays of the sun, I could hardly imagine that it could be winter. Singularly enough my three Christmas visits here have been marked by this same characteristic, lonely weather, so that I may perhaps always so associate it in my mind. The children assembled and received their presents before breakfast, which was at ten o’clock. We then went to church. Mr Sturgis and a portion of the young going to the old place where I have attended heretofore, and Mrs Sturgis with the Major and two of her older boys, Col Hawley and myself to a new edifice just opened in Oatland park. It is a neat building in humble imitation of the Gothic, all the fashion just now, but which I look upon as an anachronism. The service as usual, excepting only the detestable Athanasian creed, which was repeated zealously by the people as if it was sense, and charity and love. Col Hawley and I walked both ways. After luncheon, I sallied out on a longer trip. The sky had527 become overcast, so that I did not see the sun set clear as on my former occasions, neither did I follow exactly the same road. The bridge over the river which was in ruins before has been rebuilt, so I crossed it and followed the bank up in search of another bridge to return. But from accidentally missing the point at Weybridge I actually went all the way to Chertsey. The country is flat and uninteresting but yet very rural. The river winds a great deal, making the distance longer. But the air was soft and balmy, and as the shades of evening fell the clouds gradually faded away. Crossing at Chertsey, I then with some doubts made my successfully to Weybridge and thence to Walton. From the time taken and my fatigue it must have been a walk of near ten miles. Yet I enjoyed it even more than those of former years; for my thoughts are as serene, and yet without the background of care in London. The change in the political sky both at home and here leaves me with a thankful heart to enjoy in silence and meditation the quiet of nature. The Scotia brought her news this morning—the main feature of it being negative. The only item of interest was that General Meade was freely granting furloughs to his officers and men. In that case, possibly our hope to see Charles here may be gratified. If we could hope to see the end of the war with him safe, the chief anxiety of my life and motive for remaining here would be removed. I confess I long for repose in my own home, before I am called from the world. After dinner, we had dancing for the children, and the lottery for sugar plums, and the pies to draw presents from, until I though Mrs Sturgis must give up from fatigue. The children from all the neighborhood came in—neither did the last one go much before midnight. The mistake of Mrs Sturgis is that she orders it. To bed, quite tired.

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA63d359