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Civil War Letters of the Christie Family

Author: William G. Christie
Date: June 23, 1863
Location: Vicksburg, Mississippi
Addressee: Alexander S. Christie
Description: William gives his opinions on national politics; describes continuing bombardment.

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Vicksburgh Bluffs in rear where our Troops are still in position
June 23rd 1863,

Hillo Brother O Mine, have you got so immersed in the solution of Problems in Euclid, or Algreba, that you have forgotten to answer the sage question I asked you in regard to my method of Punctuation, or are you so hard at work on that Patch of Praties, that you cant find time to give us a few lines from your Pen, or a few Idees of your own. I have another question to ask you in this letter, and I Believe I will have many more to ask even if there is a great likelyhood of them remaining unanswered, for a long time. have you ever thought whether man is most a creature of Immitation, or an Independent actor on the stage of Life. I have come to the conclusion that Immitation and habit are the motive powers in the Present age, of the world, if it were not so we would have a different class of men at the Head of affairs: or more properly speaking a Representitive man; that would get us out of the various difficulties that the Nation; and this world at large, is at Present Plunged intoo. We assuredly need such an one, But it looks as though we had not got him or if we have the time has not yet come for us to recognise him even allthough he may be at work, for us every day. You may see every day that there is a Pulling of ropes By the various leadders: of the government, and the Officers, of the Large force that has been called into the field for the Purpose of putting down this Rebellion. Seward and Blair Pulls against Lincoln and Stanton. Halleck, and Hooker: jerk and snap different ways, and Banks , and Schofield; undoo all, or nearly all that Butler, and Curtis has done, in the way of Keeping the treacherous and accursed Rebels in Proper Bounds in the different Districts of New Orleans, and St. Louis, Now if these things could only be done away with By having more sameness of oppinion among these different Individuell's how much sooner we would have this villianous condition of things supperessed, and the War Brought, to a speaddy and triumphant close, But here I must stop this Plaver and get ontoo another track, Spades are trumps here, and are likely to Be for a long time yet. I Believe if the unsuccessful charge of the 22nd of last month had not Been made, at all we would have had Vicksburgh Before this time, for now there are good roads made up to within a few rods of the works, and in fact there are our rifle pits, in where the Rebs had theres about eight days ago, there is two of our Pieces going intoo a new fort or rather entrenchments that are actually within 50 or sixty feet of the Reb's lines. there are great sheilds of rope being made to put on the guns, to keep the gunner and nos. three and four from the secesh sharpshooters, (the whites of there eyes can be seen,) there are three thicknesses of inch and half rope, agains which a Ball strikes flat and drop harmless to the ground, We have Been amuseing ourselves for the two Past evenings, in throwing shell over intoo the enemmys lines, mortar fashion, we prepare the shells By taking out the Baurman fuze or (Barman), we then take and make wooden Plugs, screw them into the shell, fasten in a long time fuze, and elevate the Piece by diging a hole for the trail, giving her elevation according to the length of the fuze, and charge of Powder. We have fired forty of them in all taking about four hours time to fire them, and that would keep us up pretty late at night, Tonight we will likely Build another fort for our Piece, so that we can have a new range, as well as the one we have at Present, the Rebs has a gun Planted so that they can shoot at us without us returnning the compliment, and we don't like no such one sided affairs. Tis true they have not meddled with us before this morning, only as far as shooting over us was concerned, we Being in the exact range of that gun of theres; and some half Dozen of our own, that over us and Behind us. secesh shell Burst Prematurely sometimes as well as ours, and Between the two we run very narrow escapes. But these things don't trouble us, But not more than an hour ago the Rebes had the coolness to Deliberately throw a shell, at us, taking our a huge chunk of dirt on the left side of our fort, about two fee over our dead, the shell went on a little further and Burried itself in the ground without Bursting. We will dig it up tonight, and fix it up so we ca fire it our of our gun, to do so we will have to put in a fruit can, it being a long shell out of a twenty Pound Parrot ( the gun that was taken the first day of the fight at Corinth last fall, from the first Missouri Battery The Lady Richardson, so called;) the reason we have to fix them so is to make it fir our Piece, and keep the rifled flang on the Base of the shell from injuring the gun. we are going to make the new fort about sixteen or twenty yards in rear of our Present Pesition. the Captain of the 2nd Ill: Co. F. made the one we now occuppie, and if he had not been an Ass he would have Put the fort where we are now compelled to have it. we will be in fine Position to throw shell into the Rebs fort, and not in any worse fix to get them from him. The Rumor in camp this morning is to the effect that Port Hudson is taken, and Farragut's fleet is Bombarding the City of Vicksburgh, Whether Port Hudson is taken or not tis more then I can tell, But sure enough Farragut or some other down on the river is giving and has been giving them in the city great quantites of Iorn, ever since last night. After we got through our Bombarding last night, and got about ready to sleep we heard a good Deal of heavy fireing on the left of the line, it lasted for an hour or so, and was finished By a couple of very heavey volleys, we have not heard yet what the fuss was about, But suppose that our left line was getting a Position nearer to the Rebs works, There are a few Deaths from secesh Bullets every week, and occasonally one from the Premature Bursting of a shell, from our own guns, we are so near the Rebs we cant hurt any of our own men, But one of the eleventh Ill. infantry was I fear mortally wounded yesterday By a fraction of shell from the first Missour's Battery Co. C: his Bowels were torn and both of his lungs visable We find the most of the St. Louis shell spherical case, are not trustworthy,, I Believe there are numbers of secesh workmen in that Arsenal, that Deliberately make a Bad job of there work, so that there Southern brethern may not Be hurt, Tom I suppose has given Father a sketch of our Position, and the lines of works. I would if I only thought I could, But I am afraid I would spoil a great many horns before I would make a spoon, give my love to all and let me hear something about mother in your next, and all the rest of folks, how is our new Cousin, making it as a southerner would say, we had some rain last night But it will soon clear up again, I have not had a letter from Father in a long time, this will have to be a family concern although I have Posted it to you. I am not tired writing But I have not the least doubt you will be tired reading and you can see I am in a hurry. Now let me tell you a secret, I am generally in a hurry about this time of day, for it is near dinner time. so you may be able to judge By that I am more in favor of the Baker, than the Doctor, Long may I wave, Long may we all wave. and be right side up now and forever. so mote it Be,

Yours affectionately Wm G Christie

[post script] We had Baked Peas for Breakfast and some fine Bread and coffee, we are all happy and generally speaking

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