For ordinary Kentuckians in 1862, Christmas was not the elaborate affair it is today.

Shoppers likely went to a general store that was the closest thing to a department store or mall then available.

And, there was no electricity, much less electric light displays.

The year 1862 was especially hard because Kentucky was caught in the middle of a bloody Civil War that it had hoped to avoid. The war had come to the Bluegrass state with a vengeance as the Confederates invaded in late August. Fighting had raged in Richmond, and five weeks later, a larger and even bloodier battle was fought at Perryville.

This Saturday, from 4 to 9 p.m., members of the Battle of Richmond Association will portray an 1862 Christmas in and around the Pleasant View house that was standing when the battle took place.

The house will be decorated with period ornaments, such as ribbons, shields, stars and popcorn on strings, the common folk would have used to celebrate the Savior’s birth, said Emily Burns, a re-enactor from Waco.

Outside the house, soldiers in tents will read letters from home and the letters they are writing. They also will tell visitors of the hardships of winter camp life and of being away from family at special times such as Christmas.

Inside, children will play with wooden toys and fabric dolls, and guests will be given candle-light tours and refreshed with gingerbread, coffee and grape juice from vines grown on Pleasant View’s farm.

Admission is free, but the association is asking that each car load of visitors donate $5, Burns said.

Bill Robinson can be reached at or at 624-6622.

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