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Civil War Letters of the Christie Family

Author: Thomas D. Christie
Date: July 19, 1862
Location: Corinth, Mississippi
Addressee: Alexander S. Christie
Description: A general description of camp life. Thomas also describes young Southern women, and recounts a strong storm in the area.

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Corinth, July 19th, 1862

Dear Brother,

Your 2 letters to W. dated the 9th Inst. and 17th Ult. were received last night, and as he is engaged cleaning his sabre for inspection tomorrow I will answer for him. We were much amused by your description of the Invincibles and the doings on the 4th. I hope you will continue to keep up the Military Spirit in Clyman by such displays, for it may be needed yet. By the way, how does the recruiting under the new call go on in your vicinity? Rather slowly I suppose, for I hear there is talk of drafting to fill up the quota.

July 21.

I have not been in writing humor for the past few days and therefore delayed finishing this untill [sic] I could think of something to fill up with. Although I feel somewhat stupid this afternoon and would like to go for apples, yet I think it would be rather shamefull [sic] to neglect you so long. So here goes for what I can think of. In the first place the weather is inferno hot just now and the least exertion brings the sweat out profusely. We had an awfull [sic] thunderstorm a few nights ago during which the water fell in torrents. By some means the ditch around our tent became obstructed, and the rain rushed in streams under the blankets wetting them through completely. While this was accomplishing we were sound asleep and did not waken till we were lying in pools of the element.

In fact I don't think I would have wakened at all if a terriffic [sic] gust of wind had not blown down the tent and the booth that we had built on one end. Crash: or Slush went the wet canvas on our sleeping faces, inducing smothered groans and angry exclamations from the four dwellers in the Land of Nod. There was no help for it, out we had to crawl in our dripping shirtflaps and put up the tent again, going through of course with a complete course of Scientific Bathing, including shower bath, Diving, (when we fell into a pool), and the sitting bath, (when we went into the tent). After this, sleep was impossible and so we sat huddled together like wet poultry untill [sic] morning when the rain abated a little and we sallied forth to view the condition of Camp. One of the tents was filled to the depth of 2 feet with water and several were blown down. Strangely enough, these misfortunes instead of disposing us to melancholy, made us the most hilarious set you ever saw, and the appearance of each victim as he emerged from his place of refuge with bedraggled clothes stuck to his skin, was recieved [sic] with shouts of laughter and inquiries about his health and nights rest.

Probably this jocose way of taking the accident prevented us from taking cold, for none of us were injured by our bath although the whole of the succeeding day was very rainy.

Contrary to our expectations the health and vigor of the Camp is steadily improving during these hot months and the physical strength of the men is gradually coming up to the Ft. Snelling standard. Not so with our weight, however. We are all becoming as lean and cadaverous as the Citizens themselves almost and probably at the end of the war we will be as yellow and billious [sic] looking.

I have remarked the same thing here that Bayard Taylor did among the dwellers of the far North, Viz., that the young women are handsome and the old ones hideous. I have seen many very good looking girls down here, but the moment you get into conversation with them you are disenchanted (presupposing, of course that you was enchanted at first sight.) They display the most deplorable ignorance of (illegible - 1 word) the commonest subjects of conversation, and by the languages they use show their nonacquaintance with English Grammar or its most simple rules. In fact the most of them are almost wholly uneducated, and know nothing beyond the narrow sphere of their domestic duties. Of the young men I cannot say much as I have seen but 2 or 3, and those are but poor specimens of human nature, all though able bodied being in the Army.

Contrabands are constantly coming in, and I saw lately a very good looking quadroon with her 3 children who had fled from the threatened punishment of her master. Her story was very interesting, but I have not space for it. All of our Camp are full of these people and more would come but for the damper that is put on their efforts by Authority on our side.

I was after apples this afternoon and secured a rose for Sarah from Russels house. My love to all with it, and may Wisconsin homes never show the Desolation that reigns over the place of its growth. Your crumpled Brother T. D. Christie

[Postscript along left side of page] William writes soon, Expect letter from Father.

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