12/08/04 — An 1862 Christmas on hand at the River House

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An 1862 Christmas on hand at the River House

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on December 8, 2004 2:00 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- The public is invited to the River House this weekend to celebrate Christmas the way it was celebrated in 1862 and to participate in a Civil War memorial service.

At 6 p.m., visitors can take a trip back in time and sing Christmas carols beside a campfire behind the River House at 100 Main Street in downtown Seven Springs. The caroling will be led by Paige and Liz Dawson of Seven Springs.

Two Civil War cannons will fire during Saturday night. The Andrews Battery of Goldsboro, under command of Danny Davis, and the 27th N.C. Infantry, under command of Leslie Creech, will camp behind the River House Saturday night. The public can tour several living history sites and hear and see presentations showing how the soldiers spent their Christmas.

And at the Seven Springs Museum other living history presentations will show how the families and children on the homefront celebrated their Christmas. In the museum amother will read Christmas stories to children.

The presentations will continue until the people stop coming. The Civil War re-enactors will remain encamped all night, and visitors can come and go as they like.

Other features Saturday night will be a outdoor Christmas tree decorated with hardtack, a flour mixture dried like a large cracker. During the war, the soldiers would often use it in the field. It would softened up in coffee.

The hardtack will be cut in different shapes and hanging on the tree, which will also be decorated with dried apples and oranges and garlands of cranberries and popcorn.

The 1862 Christmas is sponsored by the Seven Springs Area Historical Society and the Andrews Battery Civil War Historical Association.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, the town will observe the 142nd anniversary of the Battle of Whitehall with a memorial service. This will be the town's third memorial service held to commemorate the battle.

The honor guard will be the 27th N.C. Infantry. The cannons, fired by Andrews Battery, will sound off three times during the ceremony. The speaker will be Glen Fields, a member of the Historical Society and long-time resident of Seven Springs.

The public is welcome, and refreshments will be served after the service.

Bobby Mozingo, who lives at the river house with his wife, Karen, is a member of both re-enactor units and a third one.

Historical markers for the Civil War Trail are being erected at Whitehall Landing on West River Street. The Civil War Trail starts in Virginia and Maryland with red, white and blue historical markers along the highways and at historical sites. Kinston is getting eight, Seven Springs one and Goldsboro two.

The markers tell the story of the Civil War. Seven Springs will be marked as a Civil War historical site on a map at the N.C. Visitors Centers. The town will also appear on a brochure directing tourists along the Civil War Trail.

"This is the first year it's been in North Carolina," said Mrs. Mozingo. The first one in the state went up at Morehead City to explain the Burnside Expedition between New Bern and the coast. Foster's Raid was between New Bern and Goldsborough Bridge from Dec. 11 to Dec. 21 in 1862.

"The overall objective was thinking they could pull Confederate troops out of Petersburg so that Union forces would have a better chance of destroying Lee's army, which did not work," said Mozingo. "All of these Foster's Raid signs should be up by the end of March. Next is the Carolina Campaign, which brought the end of the war."

The Mozingos are co-chairmen of the Seven Springs Historical Society. They said that, although the museum is being used this weekend, it will not be ready until spring for a permanent opening.

Bobby Mozingo's ancestors, the Whitfields, founded Whitehall, which later became Seven Springs. "You won't run into many people around here who are not related to us," he said.

Mrs. Mozingo's mother used to talk about Seven Springs a lot. Her mother told her on the fourth of July there wasn't anywhere to go but to Seven Springs.

They say the town has a rich history. At one time, it had three hotels, the Seven Springs, the Sewell and the Ninth Spring.

When John Lawson stopped at the village along side the river in 1710, they say, the Indians were found running a trading post. They were trading with white people, and everybody brought their sick to the "healing waters."