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Civil War Letters of the Christie Family

Author: Thomas D. Christie
Date: October 28, 1862
Location: Corinth, Mississippi
Addressee: Sarah J. Christie
Description: This letter describes a particularly exciting session of artillery shooting.

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Corinth, Miss. Oct. 28th 1862

My Dear Sister,

Yours of the 30th Ult. came to hand day before yesterday, and I must offer several excuses for not answering it immediately. First: I was on guard, Second: wrote to Father yesterday, and one letter per day is as much as I have time for, and, Third, I waited for another letter of later date.

I direct this to the Lake in the hope that you have returned thither from Clyman. It will not pay, my dear sister, to leave your Mathematics every time you hear of a Battle that we are engaged in.

According to my opinion we have work before us this fall and winter of no easy accomplishment, and you will have to bear with patience and fortitude the news of many a hard fought battle in this Department before the Mississippi is opened and Mobile garrisoned by National troops.

Our Major of Artillery has gone to report at Bolivar to take a command under McClemand, whose mission it is to take Vicksburg by a land assault, seeing that the gunboats have made no impression on it with their shell. It is not at all improbable that we will follow the Major as we all would like to serve under him.

By his absence Capt. Munch is brevetted Major Commanding Artillery Battalion of the 6th Division, and this makes Clayton Lieut. commanding in the Battery.

We held an election yesterday and appointed orderly Sergt. J. M. Allen and Sergt. Munch, Second Lieutenants.

On account of want of men the 16th Wis. was consolidated today into 3 companies and put in with the 14th and 18th to form one Regiment. The most of the men of Co. D (raised at Watertown) are coming into the Battery, which, with the recruits from other companies will give us our six-guns again. John Shaller and Charley Visgar are coming in and if Amos Nobles was here he would join, but he is in the hospital taking care of the wounded. The boys are tired of the Infantry service and are glad of an opportunity to join the Artillery, which, as every soldier knows, is the finest branch of the service and is to the army what the Old Guard was to Napoleon— the right arm.

We had some splendid long range practice on the third, the first time that we have had a chance to use our guns as they should be used, to play on heavy columns instead of scattered skirmishes. At the very first shot from our rifle we had the range and plumped a Hotchkiss percussion Shell right into the midst of the Greybacks, whom we could see plainly marching along at a “Right Shoulder shift.” The way they scattered was a caution to snakes, and wherever a bunch of them could be seen we would plant a shell or spherical case, till you could not see their backs for the dust. Some reckless scamps among them returned our fire with their muskets although they were a half mile distant, but I noticed that they sent no more men up that road. I should like to get my revenge out of them in this way to compensate for the way we had to fight them at Shiloh — at short pistol range — and compelled to use nothing but canister and short-timed shells.We may be in many a fight yet and see death and wounds enough, but I doubt if we ever see another such time as we had there.

Our troops here naturally look upon themselves as “Some Pumpkins” after giving Van Dorn the whipping that we did. They are inclined to look down on the Army of the Potomac as inferior soldiers, but I think this is not warranted as there they have had a far more difficult task to do than we have.

Did not the news of James Dempsey's death shock you Sarah? I am sure it did me and at first I could not believe it. He looked so full of life and so handsome when I saw him on the morning of the Battle, that I could not bring myself to believe that he was killed. We have one consolation — that he died at his post with his face to the foe like a true Soldier as he was. I am sure that Clyman will mourn his death more than the loss of any other one of those who have gone from among you.

Now, Sarah I hope that you will not let your anxieties or your studies injure your health. Keep a good heart and don't lose appetite.

And also remember me as your
Affectionate Brother
T. D. Christie

I wonder why Helen don't write to me.
I must have offended her in that last letter of mine.

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