Wednesday, May 4, 2011

With the Alligators

This entry is from Brother of Mine, The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie, edited by Hampton Smith.

William and Thomas Christie were half brothers, 13 years apart in age.  They served in the same Regiment,  the 1st Minnesota.

May 4th 1863, Smith's Plantation. Louisiana (near Vicksburg) - Thomas
Four hundred and fifty of the prisoners taken at Port Gibson passed our camp this evening under guard . . . As they marched past, all the men of our Division lined the road on both sides.  Both prisoners and we were in great good humor; many a joke flew back and forth between us.  It is due to our men to say that not an insulting word was spoken.  One well-dressed Texan in conversation with one of our boys inadvertently used the word "Yankees" in speaking of us.  He instantly corrected himself, and with a graceful bow begged our pardon.  "We do not consider you Western gentlemen to be Yankees."  One of our fellows replied laughingly, "I think you will find that although we are Western men we have Yankee principles!"  "Boys," said one of them, "we are going North.  but  you will have to stay here with the alligators!"  Indeed no one would have thought in hearing the talk that we were enemies."
Three Confederate prisoners (Gettysburg) from Library of Congress Collection

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