Monday, December 7, 2020

The Civil War Christmas Song by Kimberly Grist

One of my favorite Christmas songs was inspired by a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Tragically in 1861, Longfellow's beloved wife of eighteen years died after her dress caught on fire. Longfellow was unable to attend her funeral due to the extensive burns he received attempting to save her life. His facial injuries caused him to stop shaving. He wore a beard from then on which became his trademark.

In March 1863, Longfellow's oldest son Charley, left home unannounced to travel to join the Union Army. On December 1, 1863, Henry received a telegram that his son had been severely wounded while involved in a skirmish during the battle of the Mine Run Campaign.

On Christmas day in 1863, Longfellow a 57-year-old widowed father of six children heard the Christmas bells proclaiming, "peace on earth" and wrote, "I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day."

The poem was first published in 1865. Longfellow's despair can be felt in its message, that "hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men." The conclusion of the poem and song is the message of renewed hope. The powerful message resonates with many who are dealing with feelings of loss, worry, and or grief during the holiday season.

More on Longfellow's Poem:

Set to music in 1872, the song would later be called "The Civil War Christmas Song" and continues to be popular today. The song with background photos taken during the Civil War can be viewed here:

The Carol remains popular today, carrying renewed hope for peace among men.

About Kimberly Grist:

Kim has enjoyed writing since she was a young girl. However, she began writing her first novel in 2017, "
I wear so many hats working inside and outside the home. I work hard, try harder, and then begin again the next day. Despite my best efforts, sometimes life just stinks. Bad things happen. I need and want an outlet, an opportunity to relax and escape to a place where obstacles are met and overcome." 
Fans of historical romance set in the late 19th -century will enjoy stories combining, History, Humor, and Romance, emphasizing Faith, Friends, and Good Clean Fun. 

Connect with Kimberly:

Amazon Author Page:


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Kimberly. That is one of my all-time favorite Christmas carols and the story behind it is so touching.