December 26, 1862: This morning, in Mankato, Minnesota, 38 condemned Dakota and Lakota (Sioux) warriors, out of the original 304 who had been slated for execution for bringing on the Sioux Uprising, were hanged in the what still remains the largest mass execution in United States history.
---Vicksburg, Mississippi: Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and his 20,000 men and nearly 70 ships) arrive near Vicksburg, his men loaded on river transports. Yesterday, they had landed at Miliken’s Bend, the designated landing place and supply depot for the Vicksburg campaign. Sherman plans to steam up the Yazoo River to Chickasaw Bluffs in order to get around behind Vicksburg, but he finds that Gen. Martin L. Smith of the Confederate army has already fortified this precise line of bluffs, hoping for the Yankees to attack there.
---Sarah Morgan, of Baton Rouge, writes in her journal of Christmas with very little to celebrate with, except for a few young officers to join them:
I commenced writing to-day expressly to speak of our pleasant Christmas; yet it seems as though I would write about anything except that, since I have not come to it yet. Perhaps it is because I feel I could not do it justice. At least, I can say who was there. At sunset came Captain Bradford and Mr. Conn, the first stalking in with all the assurance which a handsome face and fine person can lend, the second following with all the timidity of a first appearance. . . . Again, after a long pause, the door swung open, and enter Mr. Halsey, who bows and takes the seat on the other side of me, and Mr. Bradford, of Colonel Allen memory, once more returned to his regiment, who laughs, shakes hands all around, and looks as happy as a schoolboy just come home for the holidays, who has never-ending visions of plumcakes, puddings, and other sweet things. While all goes on merrily, another rap comes, and enter Santa Claus, dressed in the old uniform of the Mexican War, with a tremendous cocked hat, and preposterous beard of false hair, which effectually conceal the face, and but for the mass of tangled short curls no one could guess that the individual was Bud. It was a device of the General’s, which took us all by surprise. Santa Claus passes slowly around the circle, and pausing before each lady, draws from his basket a cake which he presents with a bow, while to each gentleman he presents a wineglass replenished from a most suspicious-looking black bottle which also reposes there. Leaving us all wonder and laughter, Santa Claus retires with a basket much lighter than it had been at his entrance. . . . Then follow refreshments, and more and more talk and laughter, until the clock strikes twelve, when all these ghosts bid a hearty goodnight and retire.