Vicksburg, Aug. 12th, 1863
My Dear Sister:
Why do we get no letters from you of late? You have not taken offense at what I wrote to Father have you, and determined to quit corresponding with your uncivil brother? if you have, I am sorry, for what I wrote was penned more in fun than earnest, and I would be much grieved if I thought that it had pained you as much as your long silence would seem to indicate. Therefore, I trust you will "forget and forgive," and continue the correspondence.
Under the influence of good food and daily bathing I am slowly recovering from my late attack of Ague, but, although I am on duty, I am yet far from being as stout as usual. But with the good appetite I have, plenty of exercise, and the morning baths, I will soon be well as ever.
The most of our sick men are convalescent, and we may consider our sickly season about over although there are a few, and among them Capt. Clayton, who get no better and fears are entertained for the life of one or two. We buried one of our comrades 3 days ago, a member of our Platoon, but his death was caused by over indulgence in poisonous whiskey, of which he had contrived to get several canteens full.
His ceise [sic] is a warning to many in the Company who are disposed to the same excess.
In one of my letters to Sandy I alluded to reinlisting for 3 years or the war, but we understand since by an Order from Gen. McPherson that no 3 years men are to be allowed to reinlist unless their old term is within 30 days of expiration. So you see that cuts us all off from the opportunity of enlisting again at present in the Veteran Volunteers.
Probably this intelligence will ease your minds somewhat, as I think you do not wish us to enlist again without coming home, is it not so?
The 16th Wisconsin came down from Lake Providence a week ago, and they are camped out not far from us.
Amos Nobles and John Schaller have been over to see us several times, and yesterday afternoon I went over to their camp and visited them. Amos has been sick, but is now recovering fast, and looks very well. He showed me the portraits of his wife and child which he carries in a locket suspended from his neck, and I must say that they look as natural as life.
When I showed him your likeness he did not recognise [sic] you at first on account of your short hair, but after looking at it attentively for a few minutes, and then looking at me, then taking another look at the picture while I told him to guess who it was, he suddenly exclaimed as if struck with an idea; "Good Gracious! It's Sarah, and I was decieved [sic] by the short hair." I tell you we have good times now that Amos and John are come, talking of Clyman and the folks therein, and wondering if they think of us as often as we think of them.
John is a first rate fellow and bitter death on the Clyman Copperheads, his own relatives among them. He tells me that the most of them have ceased writing to him on account of the plain talk he gave them. He also has been very sick, and is now convalescent. At his request I answered a letter for him yesterday from George Ehinger in Iowa. George sent him some stamps and his letter has the ring of the true metal, I think that Young America is generally more patriotic than the old fogy Conservatives. Is not this true?
I had a letter from Uncle David a fort-night ago and have answered it since I recovered. He speaks of your visit to Lowell a short time previous to his writing, and I am afraid if I repeated all he says of the improvement the College has wrought in you, that you would be vain, and vanity you know is to be avoided. "Lady–like appearance." "Improved conversation." Ahem: that's enough, but you must take care as I trust you have, my dear Sarah, that the improvement is not merely superficial, and that your mind is equally improved with your appearance. Now that is sermon enough for one letter. I had almost forgotten to tell you that Amos and John expect to go home on furlough soon, and then they have promised to visit you. I have applied for a furlough myself, but there are so many applying that I do not think my chance will be much.
Grant has issued an order fixing the rates of transportation from here to Cairo at a half cent per mile for a soldier, so that it will cost about $3.25 to Cairo and I could go home and back for about 30 dollars. This I would be willing to pay for 20 days at home, but I have no expectation of being successful in getting a furlough.
Your loving Brother, T.D. Christie
[Postscript, beginning on page one] I hope you sent something by James Fisher. We expect him down soon, and I look for a package by him.
[Page two] You must all send down your likenesses. Tease Father till he consents.
[Page three] William is well and will answer Sandy's letter soon.
[Page four] Love to Father and Mother. I'm afraid the family has worked too hard this harvest. Why did not Father hire a man?