Distributing Thanksgiving Favors to the Soldiers of the Army of the Potomac (Siege of Petersburg)


Distributing Thanksgiving Favors to the Soldiers of the Army of the Potomac (Siege of Petersburg)


Camp scene; in Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper 12/24/1864, p. 212.


November 24, 1864


Recto: Sign: "New York Comm. Thanksgiving Soldiers and Sailors."
Verso: "Distributing the People's Thanksgiving favors to the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac // Commissaries issuing the fowl, apples, pies, by weight to the different details of the 5th Corps // Sketched at the Headquarter Commissary's of the 5th Corps // [Signed] Joseph Becker." Newsprint attached to rear: "Thanksgiving at Hampton Roads and off Wilmington. A correspondent of the New York Times, writing from Fortress Monroe, Nov. 22d, says; The steamer Kensington, having on board a large supply of turkeys for the navy, arrived in the Roads yesterday. The friends who so liberally contributed towards the purchase of this welcome gift will be pleased to know that their worthy effort has already been productive of the most cheering results. Both officers and men have repeatedly testified their appreciation of the generous motive which prompted this consideration of their comfort and happiness on Thanksgiving day, and look upon the act as one not to be forgotten. In a General Order, issued by Admiral Porter, it is directed that each man throughout the squadron shall receive at least a ration of two pounds. The vessels in the immediate vicinity of the Roads and Norfolk, are receiving their modicum to-day. A steamer was also at the steamer's side this morning taking on a supply of turkeys for the portion of the fleet up the James River. The Kensington will proceed up the blockading fleet off Wilmington in season to supply the vessels there. It isn't the Turkey but the Idea Advices have been received from the turkeys sent to Sheridan's army for Thanksgiving. Forty-nine thousand eight hundred and fourteen pounds of poultry were distributed in that army exclusively to enlisted men. Gen. Sheridan, in a letter of thanks says "I am confident that as I write-now Thanksgiving day-many of our gallant soldiers are tacitly blessing those at home for the kind remembrances so substantially manifested." Seventy-five wagon loads of poultry reached Winchester. The agents accompanied the poultry report: Tanksgiving [sic] day we rode over part of our lines and made personal inquiries and inspection as to the practical result of our mission. The want of proper appliances compelled most men to broil or stew their turkeys, but every one seemed fully satisfied and appreciated the significance of this sympathetic thank-offering from the loyal North. One soldier said to me, "It isn't the turkey, but the idea that we care for," and he thus struck the key note of the whole festival. Could the donors of this Thanksgiving gift have been with us on this ride they would have felt satisfied that, whether as a token of grateful appreciation of past valor or as the inspiration of future effort in the good cause, it had not been made in vain.".


Ripping along vertical crease and crumbling at upper margin.


graphite on wove paper


13.25 x 9.75 in.


Graphite drawings--American--1860-1870


37.2279279, -77.4019266999999


Original drawing location: CW-JB-VA-11/64a (Box 2.)



Ref. Number




Becker, Joseph, 1841-1910, “Distributing Thanksgiving Favors to the Soldiers of the Army of the Potomac (Siege of Petersburg),” The Becker Collection, accessed October 25, 2020, https://beckercollection.bc.edu/items/show/2008.