The seemingly endless time of cold darkness crept past in a succession of grey days and long nights.
In its camps, the Army of Northern Virginia once again experienced the religious fervor that came to them when they were not busy. At such times, men of all faiths sought solace in prayer and gathered in revival meetings where many found the inner peace that war denied them.
Families came to the winter camps to spend the season with their men. Most boarded with local families. Bearded warriors held in their arms for the first time tiny folk who had not yet been seen. The children brought joy to them all, but in the evenings the soldiers brooded over their families, their thoughts unreadable in the light of the fireplaces.
Amateur theatrical productions were a natural gift of this army, something so familiar from home that the men expected them. Wooden theaters sprang up in the snow and frost caked mud. These were crude structures of field sawn boards, each with its glowing pot bellied iron stove. The programs were filled with familiar plays, but some of them were only a year or so old in London or New York. One of these was entitled "Our American Cousin."
Balthazar was fond of the theater. At school in England he had been prominent in Christmas pantomime and Shakespeare alike. Now, he did all a commander properly could to interest his men in this activity, thinking it a healthy diversion from the boredom of the winter. The Stephen Foster songs he had heard in Richmond appeared on the boards as renditions by his battalion chorus. Soldiers' singing groups were a tradition in the French Army. He followed the custom in America. The foreigners in the battalion made up the backbone of the soloists and Joseph White played the piano to accompany. His skill was yet another of Clotilde Devereux's gifts to the Whites. Balthazar played the role of Falstaff in a Second Corps' officers’ production of "The Merry Wives of Windsor." His English accent and baritone were praised around sentry fires for weeks after the play's run.