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Civil War Letters of the Christie Family

Author: Thomas D. Christie
Date: July 10, 1862
Location: Corinth, Mississippi
Addressee: Alexander S. Christie
Description: General news from camp. Thomas mentions a possible visit by Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey.

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Corinth Miss. July 10, 1862

My Dear Brother,

Yours of the 2nd inst. I read with pleasure some days ago but postponed answering because I had written home the same day and William wrote to Sarah the next.

I am glad to see the improvement in your handwriting and composition and hope you will apply yourself diligently to the study and practice of the former accomplishment, for I have found out that it is a most important part of Education and more needed in practical life than many other branches to which more importance is attached in the Schools. My own development in this respect has been retarded by my present mode of life, which leaves no time or opportunity for practice and necessitates hurry in letter-writing, for it will not do to hang over a sheet of paper for 2 or 3 hours when my duties call me elsewhere, and in the way I am living now my hands are full from morning till night.

This is the reason why I have not, (to say the least) improved any in this respect since I joined the Army. However, I think you can read my scrawl well enough, and that will have to do untill [sic] the war is over.

I will expect a good description of your doings on the 4th by the next Mail and also of your adventures at the River when they take place.

I should think that there would be more game up your way this Summer than usual, owing to the absence of the most of the hunting population and the consequent application of the rest to the work of the Community. The game is plenty enough down here, if we only had permission to hunt the Camp would never be out of meat of some kind. I have seen Possum, turkey, and any quantity of Squirrel and woodcock, quail and partridge, there are also plenty of deer and Raccoon in the neighborhood.

I am becoming quite savage and chivalrous in my appearance lately, having become the possessor of an excellent rifled pistol and regular Missssss. Bowie-knife with edge like a razor and silver-mounted horn hilt. This knife was found in a haversack lying in the woods near the Rail Road by one of our Mess of whom I purchased it for a quarter.

On account of this ridiculously low price and my friendship for the man, I regard it more as a gift than a purchase. The pistol I paid 1.5-0 for and consider myself very lucky in getting it at that price, for while we were coming down the Mississippi there was considerable practice of floating wood and crows on the Sandbars, and I made some very good shots with this same pistol which is of Allen and Wheelock make, and carries a ball about the size of a Buckshot. I hope to take these things home with me together with a beautiful little powder horn that I picked up at Shiloh from beside a dead Rebel Rifleman whose flintlock rifle was grasped in his hand even in death, this horn had been used for priming with being entirely too small for loading purposes.

Our 2 howitzers returned from their Expedition day before yesterday after remaining at a small village named Kossuth for (about ten miles out) a night and a day. Nothing was seen of the Rebel Cavalry although plenty of Rebels in Calico were met with who would reiterate vehemently the Southern cry “We can never be conquered.” Well, Well, we will see about that. I notice that they have no objection to our money however, never failing to ask the very highest price for anything we want to buy, such as potatoes or milk. The old man from whose well we get our drinking water is becoming softened a great deal by our good treatment of him. He is a type of a large class of Southern men.

[Postscript at the top of page] Save some Buckwheat cakes hot till I come home and tell Father to buy another cow before that time. Oh, yes I'd be green beyond reason to think that they miss me at home.

Men who have only become Rebels by the immense pressure of opinion around them and who only need good treatment and forbearance shown towards them to bring them back to their allegiance.

The difference between the Southern soldiers and our men in moral character, Mr. Williams says, has convinced him of the righteousness of our Cause and our eventual triumph.

We get along firstrate with him now and, seeing that we have almost worn out his Bucket and rope by continual hauling, we took up a subscription yesterday and raised money enough to buy a new rig for him. The well is of the kind generally seen around here, bored very deep and having a long tin bucket on a rope that runs over a pully [sic] and from thence is wound round a windlass. The water is impregnated with sulphur and iron to a great extent as is the case with all the water in this vicinity.

We are expecting the Governor here today and consequently have had a good deal of policing to do round Camp to make things look smart. He has been to see the other Minn troops first as we were out of Camp. Let me hear again from you soon.

T. D. Christie

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