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Civil War Letters of the Christie Family

Author: William G. Christie
Date: December 9, 1863
Location: Vicksburg, Mississippi
Addressee: Alexander S. Christie
Description: William describes the social event at the Vicksburg Union Literary Society, of which Thomas D. Christie is secretary. Also discusses reenlistment in the Battery. William also writes of Uncle David's being drafted and his search for a substitute.

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Vicksburgh Mississippi December 9th 1863.

Dear Brother, your welcome Letter came to hand a few days ago, and I am happy to Perceive By its contents that you mean to keep us Better writed if I might coin a Phrase, than you have been doing. Now you must not expect anything very nice, or writing, for I have written no less that four different Epistles today already One to Proffessor Goldthwait, and one to John Ford of Watertown one to [Rosine?] Bertie and also one to Jessie Armeirs, and having got the mill running I am bound to keep it going wether there is grist or not.

On last Monday evening we had our social, and it was a complete success: everything went as merry as a “Marriage Bell,” and as social as it was intended to Be, for Particulars see Letter to Cousin Jesssie. or you may listen to the Raphosides [Rhapsodies ?] of Brother Tom, and if he may happen to use highfalutin Language, you may be sure every word of it is as true as Preaching By the By, I do not know if he has written or intends to write a Letter about the social; But if he has not or does not then sir, I will Put you in all things concerning said social; for you know my memory is tough, if my wit is dull. Now on what theme shall I spread myself at the expense of a bit of indigestion seeing that my stomach is full of Beef and gravy and Bread and Coffee as accompaniments Shall I Blow you up for loving me Better than your Country, and advising me to Bring my worthless carcass out of the way of rebel Bullets, God willing in a year from now. No that would not be fair for the latter Part of your appeal to me does away with the first. But let me ask you and not only you, But Father if I would be doing my duty to either God or man if I failed to see this war to a close, if I am fortunately spared, for another year's soldiering, and through it, without the work being done. Now just think of it Probably before these lines reaches you I will have seen my thirtiethird, or as Father would say my thrisecond Birthday, and when I look Back through the past and see how much better off in every respect I have been through God's Providence seeing I might say with the Psalmist “truly my lines have been cast in Pleasant Places;” Tis as little as I can do to stand firmly by the reglorified Flag of my Country, Trusting ever in the mercy of him who hath so Blessed me in the Past, Now God forbid I should speak these things in a canting manner, or being void of the sence of there full meaning. What hath my Part been how have I used its many Priviliges, what have I ever done to make me worthy of a Place in the Great human family. nothing I have mearly vegitated, or done but little good, generally been found wanting in any contest with my lower Passions: Never Being strongly tempted, I may not have done as much evil as others, But I have failled to do good, when I might and thereby I have transgressed, so let me do what I can in this way, to cover the many sins of ommission in the Past. For I Believe Dear Brother that if a man fall on the Battlefield or dies on a sick couch, in consequence of this strugle, Between Gods right And Mans' wrong, and falling with his thoughts and works on the side of Liberty and Justice, that many of his sins shall be forgiven him, and if it is God's will I should Pass through safly, and why should I doubt his Grace, or Mercy Being extend through the coming years of my soldiering, seeing he has not forsaken me in the Past. I will have learned much that may enable [me] to be a Better man in the duties of the life here […] And there is another thing, we must Bear, in mind, “Wether we live or wether we die.” we are none the less surrounded By his Love, you will all Be aware of the fact Before this letter reaches you that T. D. and I are Pledged to renlist, and if we can pass the mustering office and there is but little doubt we will we will be soldiers for two years more than the one of the term we are now serving Provided the goverment needs us so long so it is likly I will be among you some time this winter or next spring,

Our Litterary society is a complete success in every respect, and etlics much thought among the soldiers. Which finds expression in the Pages of the weekly magezine and the debates, everything is conducted in a most excellent manner, and there is as much decorum in our meetings as if we had the Presence of the most moral Weman among us, and there is never the face of one of them of any kind in our conclaves. There are numerous schools in town for colored Children, and adults, and the reports concerning them say much to the honnor of Both Pupils and teachers.

We have had change of weather since I wrote to Father and Dave, wet and cold, now cold and cloudy. Cousin Iessic informs me of Uncle's Dave being drafted, and at the same time assures me he will not serve, Now I really wish he had no way of getting rid of shouldering a musket unless it was by Being a Light Artillery man. it would do such a dog in the manger, as he is good, to Be a soldier for a year or two. To I verily Believe he is one of the kind that would send his Father to the Poor house, or to the devil, if the first was not avalable, if the old man was likely to Be troublesome. Oh his Patriotism must have been greatly taxed when he dedicted a copy of the Bugle call to the first Minnesota Battery. Well he will have to Pay three hundred Dollars to get rid of the draft, But Lord have mercy on his customers afterward: for he wont, until he gets Back the Dollars cent Per cents interest. don't do any more trading there for at least two years; thereby making great savin.

Well you see I began like a fool with this letter and end like a slandering rogue. But I realy think Truth is sometimes very like slander, that is when you [serve ?] some folk's just as they should Be. I may be uncharitable,

Least you should all die of disappointment, and curiosity. I will tell you why I wrote to Messrs Ford, Goldwaith. I enclosed a Printed circular to each, stating why I done so, I will send one or two more off next week, and you will get one in the family's Perhaps T. D. has sent one already, Give my love to all to Father and mother especially. and say to them that if I was at home on the eighteenth day of this month I would make them a Birthday Present. Grand mother Bertie, also, Love to all and Belelive as ever your most affectionat Brother

William G. Christie

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