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March 12, 2015

Letter from Thomas Christie to his father – March 12, 1865

Filed under: Civil War Daybook — Lori Williamson @ 9:00 am

Partial Transcript:

We have had for 6 weeks a most active campaign. As usual, nothing but success has attended us since we left Pocotaligo…Marching slowly, on the second of Feb. we struck the enemy in some force at the bridge over the Salkehatchie;…Our fellows waded across 27 streams, some of them waist deep, fighting all the way; General Smith and Belknap on foot with their swards drawn, at the head of their men.  On the 4th we were all across the swamp.  Rain day and night, bottomless mud, and the rebel rearguard, all combined could not stop us…On the 11th we advanced to the North Edisto, where the Johnnies again disputted the passage.  The next day we kept them amused by shelling them; til one of the regiments of our Division swam the river and flanked them out.They retreated hastily, setting fire to the town of Orangeburg as they left. That night we crossed, rode through the streets of the flaming city, and camped in the suburbs.  On the next day, the 13th, we took the road to Columbia…On the 3rd of March we reached Cheraw, where we found some 40 pieces of artillery and immense quantities of ammunition, which had been sent up from Charleston; all these we destroyed except one gun.  This is a Blakely, a splendid piece, made in England.  Gen. Blair gave it to the Capt. To present to the state of Minn…The taking of Charlston we justly claim as another feather in the cap of Sherman’s Army; for it was in consequence of our movements that the enemy were compelled to leave the much battered city…When we came to one of the numerous cypress swamps, the artillery and wagon trains would halt; the brigades of infantry would then advance into the swamp, each man carrying a rail on his shoulder; this he would throw down in the proper place, and pass on.  In this way miles of fences were changed into corduroy roads, for the passage of our wheels.  Lieut. Budlong and his Corps of Pioneers were most efficient.  I have often seen them standing in water up to their knees, chopping down trees for bridges.  We shall not stay here long; the grand campaign against Richmond must soon begin…

Citation: March 12, 1865. Letter from Thomas Christie as it appears in Brothers of Mines: The Civil War Letters of Thomas & William Christie, Edited by Hampton Smith, 2011, The Minnesota Historical Society.

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