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Civil War Letters of the Christie Family

Author: Alexander S. Christie
Date: March 15, 1865
Location: Hart Island, New York
Addressee: James C. Christie
Description: Here, camped on an island with many other recruits, Alexander finds himself in the middle of rampant disease, death, and thievery.

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Hart Island, New York Harbor
March 15th 1865

My Dear Father

Now we are waiting for transportation to Wilmington or Charleston, and it is likely that we get it tomorrow. The Admiral is now in New York seeing to it in order to get by the first boat the goes, for not only are we desirous to join our regiment at the front, but we are heartily tired of this desert Island already. The keep us [ ? ] steadily all day, and are very tyrannical. I do not object to the work, if they would only give us time to write my letters.

This Island is situated in the west end of Long Island Sound and several miles from the city. Coming down the Hudson to this point we were all stowed away in a Steamer where we had no chance to see even in what direction we were going, save those immediately at the little windows. As to seeing the city, you have seen as much of it as I, almost so I cannot speak of it. But I have been sufficiently near it to hear the "hum" and see a few of the rowdies & pickpockets. Right here on this Island stealing & robbing goes on daily. Last night a small boy was surrounded by three thieves, his pocket ripped open & $600.00 extracted almost before he was aware of it. The villains got into the crown & were helped off. Our boys are losing their things every day and two have been robbed since coming here. Small Pox is raging among the troops, and the white tents & graves at the extremity of the Island attest its presence dismally.

Had I time I could write many sheet description of our Journey to this point and what I see here, but this I do not have. I am writing now on my knee instead of eating my supper. I enjoy myself firstrate, better than the most of them, although I have had some tough times of late. I wish I could get letters from home & the Boys but I suppose it will be along time ere I do. Heavens, I am anything but homesick.

I told you in my last of the loss of my money at Chicago. I know you will be sorry and inclined to blame me for it, but you have no idea how easily it was done under the circumstances. Had i been awake it could not have happened at all.

Well, if my misfortunes are to consist in the loss of a little money I am content. I borrowed a couple of dollars of Wm. Duncan to buy stamps and some such things. I had to buy a knapsack at Fort Snelling, for I could not draw on, and without either it or a [ ? ] I could not do. It cost me $5.00. I would not care if you would send me a V. for I will need to have a few cents about me and I wish to pay Duncan as he is in need of it and besides I hate to borrow.

Vessels pass in & out by this Island at the rate of one every two minutes. Some Men of War are anchored near by. Mind & care for the valise at the Ticket office at the old Watertown station. And all of you write immediately, to Co. A. 2nd Minn. Inft. 14th A.C.

I have no more time or light. Excuse the scribbling for it has been executed under difficulties, your Loving Son

A.S. Christie

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