Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas at Carlyle House, 1777.

        After leaving the walls of Fort Mifflin and the return of its rifle companies from the victories at Saratoga in 1777, the First Virginia settled down for the winter at Valley Forge.  A few fortunate souls returned to Virginia on recruiting duty, to fill the vacant ranks.
        On December 1st, we made our way to Carlyle Historical Park in Alexandria Virginia.  Carlyle House was the home of John Carlyle, second son of a Scottish Baron.  Carlyle established his import business just prior to the Seven Years War near what was a tobacco warehouse in a village that would become the colonial seaport of Alexandria, Virginia.  Carlyle married Sarah Fairfax, securing his place in the Virginia aristocracy.  He was also the particular friend of George Washington and served as commissary general to the Virginia Forces in both the Seven Years War and the American Revolution.

Preparing the fire for some liberated chickens.
Alas, the chickens sentenced.

Loafing...we seem to do quite a bit of this,

Captain Dean, of the artillery,  haranguing the crowd,
as he is often wont to do

Roast chicken, skeletonized.

Mrs. Sarah Fairfax Carlyle at her embroidery

Take one fiddler, add a handful of soldiers and one punchbowl of lemon shrub:
instant party.
The local chirgeon.
             Old Saw-Bones, lurking in the Carlyle's cellar.  I believe I'll return to the fiddler and the lemon shrub. I've a better chance of keeping all my limbs.

Firing the Christmastide Guns

        Then off to Gadsby's Tavern for an evening of yuletide merriment, "fathoming a bowl" of lemon shrub, ale, &c, &c.  Our annual "mess night" gave us an opportunity to pour over the latest copy of the Virginia Gazette, enjoy each other's company, recall the follies and misfortune as 1777 winds down, and attempt a few songs, to the melodies of Mr. Hall's English guitar.

A memento of our Mischianza.

Mr. Hall regaling the party with his loquatious wit.

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