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Civil War Letters of the Christie Family

Author: Thomas D. Christie
Date: July 13, 1864
Location: Near Atlanta, Georgia
Addressee: Alexander S. Christie
Description: The Battery waits in camp for its orders to move. Thomas discusses the poor crop in Clyman that year, and tells of his conversations with Will McClain, a soldier who helped capture Confederate spy Belle Boyd.

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Chattahoochee River, Ga.
July 13th /64

Dear Sandy:

The farm plat and accompanying letters came to uson the 11th. I had them put into my hands along with the Mail of the Platoon just as we were putting the Gun in position in our present fort, built on the same line that the Rebels evacuated on the morning of the 10th inst. The two armies now fight across the river, but it is said that we will soon advance again, & cross the River. When this is done, I think the Enemy will retreat beyond Atlanta, unless we can find a way to make him fight a decisive action in which case he will be annihilated. Sherman is cautious, & no one will blame him for it, for he has a difficult country to operate in, & a wily foe to contend with, a man over whom it is extremely difficult to obtain any advantage, but when the time comes to strike the decisive blow, it will be a telling one. The River is today the front of our whole Army, except our extreme right, which is swung across, & Hooker's 20th Corps holds the R.R. Bridge, which the Enemy had not time to destroy & which is about 4 miles to our Left. Our Army Corps holds the Right of the Army, I think, forming on the Left of the Cavalry. I am not sure though that Schofield is not on our right still further, across the River. Anyhow, there is not much doing for the past 3 days, a little skirmishing and only once in a while the report of a cannon is heard. Evidently,there is something going on in the way of movements, for this is but the calm that precedes the storm. We are all getting impatient for the end of the thing, for we have been lying around in this red Georgia mud & sand so long that we are about tired of it, & when the time comes for it, our fellows will pitch in with a will, and finish up the job.

Your letter gives a very doleful account of the farmer's prospects up there, & if the weather has not changed before this there will be many a poor fellow this winter, who will not have enough to support his family. I suppose, though, that your wheat will be better than the average on account of the deeper plowing. But that average of 3 bushel per acre astonishes me; I did not think it was so bad as that. Well, we can live without depending altogether on the wheat crop.

I want you Sandy, to write more homely letters, not so much straining after effect in long, complicated sentences. And as to theorizing on Politics etc., I abominate it, it is provoking to open a letter & find half a narrow page, (2 words in a line), occupied with one long winded sentence about something we don't care a pin about. What I mean by a "homely" letter is one all about home, tell me in what health & condition every member of the family is, give little incidents of your home life, the more humorous the better, tell me all about the farm animals & add a spice of gossip about those other animals—the Neighbors. In this way you can make a far more interesting letter, to me, than by a dissertation on Politics, or a thesis on Social Economy. Your letter last winter, describing the hay hauling from Ramsey's was the best I ever got from you.

My letter has been interrupted by a visit from Will McLain of the 32nd Ohio, which Regt. is now in our Division, & he stopped to dinner with us, eating our fried pork off the cover of a cracker box. Mac is, or was, the Editor of our Newspaper in Vicksburg, his name is on the Circular I sent to you, he was with me, a trustee of the Union Library, and is one of the best fellows I ever saw, cultivated & refined without a bit of affectation, and always cheerful. You have heard of Belle Boyd–Mac is the man who captured her by strategy, in Western Virginia, while he was one of Fremont's scouts. I will tell you the story sometime. Don't fret for us, we are enjoying ourselves.

Your affectionate Brother,
Sergt. Tom

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