The winter of 1864 was hard in Washington, D.C. The prospects of a divided country were anything but an abstraction as its inhabitants gazed out at the Confederate lines that had been drawn at Virginia's border, just across the Potomac. That summer, an attack on Fort Stevens had nearly taken the capital itself. The weather had turned especially cruel. Now it was Christmas.
Paula Vogel's panoramic A Civil War Christmas locates a series of obscure and historic figures in and around the city on Christmas Eve. War widows, laborers, infantrymen and children go about their business, their labors and cares interwoven with those of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Robert E. Lee and John Wilkes Booth.
Bing Cox directs a cast including Gil Faison, Mary Forester, Alphonse Nicholson and John Paul Middlesworth in a work leavened by popular songs of that time. —Byron Woods