Thomas Christie explains to his father, James, why he enlisted.
My Dear Father: -
Please dont be angry when I tell you that I have enlisted today .Now you know, father, that you would enlist if you were in my place. You have taught me to hate Slavery, and to love my Country. I am only carrying out these principles, in coming now to the help of the Country when she is attacked by a Slaveholders rebellion.
I shall not deny that motives other than strictly patriotic have had an influence upon me; but I dont think that these other motives are wrong. I do want to see the world, to get out of the narrow circle in which I have always lived, to make a man out of myself, and to have it to say in days to come that I, too, had a part in the great struggle. I lay all these workings of my mind frankly before you; it is for you to say if they are wrong.
Source: Hampton Smith, ed. Brother of Mine: The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2011), 25-26.