Civil War Letters of the Christie Family

Author: William G. Christie
Date: February 16, 1863
Location: Lake Providence, Louisiana
Addressee: James C. Christie
Description: William relays his views on slavery, and complains of rogue troops and corruption in the Army.

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Lake Providence, La. February 16th 1863.

Dear Father     I have not written a letter to you in a long time and I think it must be equally long since, you wrote to me, every mail that comes I look for a letter. But my looking is all in vain. We are having a spell of wet weather just now, and very warm. the Peach trees are in Bloom, and the grass has commenced to make its self into a beautifull green carpet. The weather has been so warm since the gloves Mother sent her Boys came that we have had no use for them. But never the less it would be as much as any one could do to get the gloves from us. I am sometime very dubious about the Finale of this war, on account of the rumors that are current in camp. For instance we hear that the governor of your state has refused to send any more troops into the Field, and has also agreed to attend a certain convention to be held at Louisville, Kentucky or Nashville Tennessee. Ill. is in the same creek, and we are always hearing of discontent among the People on account of the Presidents Proclamation giving the Blacks there Liberty. I've learned yesterday also that there was a mutiny among the Officers and men at New Orleans on account of there Being Black troops raised there and being put in too the field. I know it is grievous among ourselves down here to see men forget every thing but there Prejudices on the slavery question. And as a general thing our officers are worse than the privates, often sending away the darkies, when the men would keep them. It really looks as though the People of the North, would forgoe everything rather than be just to themselves, or the Negro. Assuredly slavery has been a greater evil to this Country than the snake the foolish Blacksmith in the Fable, took in too his house to warm, but the smith had no compunction to kill the Pesky thing when it commenced Biting at him But some how this accursed thing slavery has got such a hold of the People that they seem to be willing to sacrifice every thing to its insatiable maw. Can it Possible that such things are so in this age of the world, a whole Nation willing to give up every thing would enoble it. For the sake of Slavery, it would seem so For soldiers of every rank are either Deserters, or traitors, and the men Brag that a Deserter cant be Brought Back and we see that men who have been high in command, go unchanged when they richly Deserve the rope. It seems to me that our government is taking to much heed to that small sentence found in the Bible Vengeance is mine, saith the lord, I will say [between lines: seems to be our motto] The Powers that be seem to forget that God does use men to administer his vengeance, at times, and it certainly seems that Abe should give them a thorough taste of his Power as a lector of the Most High By swinging down on them in regular rail splitting fashion as a [ ? ] of the Most High. If you could only see the corruption that that Prevails among every grade of commissioned officers, the villainies that are Practiced. Darkies cheated out of there pay by there masters [in line: who are commissioned officers] Company funds embezzled by the same hands. Whiskey gouged from the Pirates, and used to drinking By the officers over there cards and what is the worse, these things are Practiced in the Hospitals, by the Surgeon and stewards and it is in a very few instances that the many Delicacies provided By the soldiers Friends north ever reach the poor sick soldier, and in the words of my Partner and bedfellow. I exclaim "the whole thing is as corrupt it ought to be Damned," I am ashamed to tell you what is done By Portions of our troop in the way of stealing and marauding for you would scarcely Believe that such men could be in our army, there is one thing that to a certain extent [ ? ] the worst cases. I know of, They are Perpetrated By Kansan and Missouri troops. Now I have given you a slight [ ? ] behind the scenes a Peek in too the green room. I need not tell you now why our Division is here, for it is likely the papers have told you all about it, if not it sent Best for me to say for Perhaps I dont know, we never see any Papers now. I should judge By the monstrous Prices of raw cotton that you would have to Pay very high Prices for cloth of that material. Now dont you think it would pay you to have more sheep that you have and some less grain and more grass. But Perhaps you have been thinking of these things and I have not the least doubts you know Best. I would like you or Alexander to write a long letter to me or Tom giving a lucid statement of things just as either of you see them from your stand Point, in fact give us a digest of the movements of the people, as regards the rear, for I assure you its very discouraging to see Poor Devils in the field to thing of more enemies North, than we have south at least more hurtful ones, But we hope that that God will Bring us out of this trial conquerors although it looks as though the West and the south would combine against the East and Barter off Truth and Justice for slavery and the dollars it makes. I believe in your last letter to us you state that you have made up your mind to let Sarah go to school and [ ? ] fro [ ? ] Tom, got a letter from here, she seems very happy. One of our Boys just tell us that our Picket has Brought in a [ ? ] Negro. He was taken at home by information given By a Negro or Negroes, they gave our knowledge of his whereabouts, se he was captured within five miles of our Pickets, at home, yet after all the help the darkies give us they are demened and abused more by the sons of Erin than by any other class, But I suppose you are tire or Perhaps you wont have time to read any more, if I should write it, so hoping this will find you in as good health as we are. I sign myself your loving song

Writes soon,     William G. Christie

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