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Civil War Letters of the Christie Family

Author: Thomas D. Christie
Date: December 6, 1863
Location: Vicksburg, Mississippi
Addressee: Alexander S. Christie
Description: Thomas discusses reenlistment in the Battery, and of obtaining a furlough to return to Wisconsin. He also writes about the Vicksburg Union Literary Society.

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Vicksburg Miss. Dec. 6th, 1863

Dear Sandy:

Your algebraical letter was rec'd last night, along with 3 others to William from you, Father, and the Lowell girls. All your arguments to W. against reenlisting are of no avail now—he and I are into it so far that we could not back out now, if we wished to, without disgracing ourselves, and, you know, death should be preferred to dishonor. But we do not wish to retreat, and I know you would not wish us to, if you could see the glorious enthusiasm pervading all branches of the Service now, caused by the recent Orders of the War Dept. relating to the Veteran Volunteers. There is a perfect furore [sic] for reenlistment, and the troops who have seen the most Service, hardship and ill usage, and lost the most men in battle are the most unanimous in going again, and seeing the thing out, "[illegible word] at the Death," you know.

You must not think that W. and I go into it because of the influence of example, for we were "veterans" when not more than 10 men in the company thought of enlisting, and, 2 days ago, we were the first of 21 to step to the front as volunteers. Now, we have 45 names in the list of men pledged to reenlist, and before this time tomorrow over 60 will be pledged.

This great increase from the original number is due to the publication of a recent Order, allowing Veterans the privilege, where three fourths of a company or Regiment reenlist, of going home en masse to recruit.

There is also a flag promised by one person to the Battery which shall enlist again the most men in proportion to its numbers, and we have strong hopes of getting it. But no matter whether we can go home in a body or not, the Veterans still have the privilege of a 30 days furlough inside their state, equivalent here to a 50 days furlough, and all transportation furnished to and from their homes. So you may soon expect to see William at least, and perhaps myself, but I think considerably of going east to Boston and Connecticut if I get a furlough, but I don't believe in castles in the air, or chateaux in Espayare, so we will drop this subject and take up something more to the purpose, and that is, the Union Literary Society of Vicksburg. I tell you it is a fine institution, and it is wonderful how much talent it has brought to light among the Soldiers of this Corps. I have formed some most pleasant acquaintanceships through my connection with the Association, and expect to make more tomorrow evening, when we hold a grand Social Gathering in the Presbyterian Church here. The Association did me the honor 2 weeks ago of electing me to the office of Secretary, and my duties in that position are, to keep minutes of each meeting and read them and any other reading matter, to be read to the Association, and to take charge of the books of the Association. William was on a committee appointed by us to visit Gen. McArthur with an invitation to attend our Social Gathering, and they were received by old Mac with great courtesy, and we have the promise of his attendance. In order to get a good address and letter of invitation to present to the General, the committee agreed that each member of it should write one, and that they should then be presented to the Association for their choice. I wrote one for William, and when they were submitted to the association last Tuesday evening, mine was selected almost unanimously. I have not written anything for our magazine yet, as we have been so busy the past week putting up a stable for our horses, and, in the double capacity of corporal and Batt'n carpenter I have been kept pretty busy with hammer, saw and square.

In any work of this kind, the Corporals are expected to take the lead, and direct the men of their respective squads. Of course they will work in circulation to see which Squad will do the most work and the best. We have good reason to be proud of the 4th Platoon, for at the first call for veteran volunteers, before we knew anything about the furloughing or the flag, 13 of our men stepped to the front, while the other 3 platoons furnished 8 altogether, and the most of them belonged to the Winona Boys.

Connor is in, Southwick, Rogers, O'Hara and Wiltse all in, besides many other good fellows whom you do not know. Sam Woolley won't join us, for fear of consumption and we tell him the only specimen of that disease we need be afraid of is the consumption of bread and beef and apples. We will have the three fourths of the Company in tomorrow, and then those who do not reenlist will be mustered into some other organization to serve out the remainder of their term of service, and we will get $175 in our hands and a chance to ruralize in Minnesota.

I need not justify my conduct to you or Father, for you will at once see and appreciate the motives which prompted my course and you must approve of it if you have any Patriotism in you. This thing is so near finished now that I must see the end of it before settling down in Life. That was a confounded story your Clyman copperheads got up about Father. I am much interested in your account of the horses, you need not write to us untill [sic] you hear from us again, as we may walk in on you some fine day within a month.

Your Loving Veteran, Thos. D. Christie

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