Lyceums During The Civil War

A Civil War SoldierThere were some lyceums in the military, although they are not talked about much. Evidence for them is from the following paragraph written by William G. Christie, a soldier camped at Vicksburgh Mississippi, in a letter he sent home to his brother Alexander S. Christie on December 20, 1863:

Last Tuesday evening we attended the Lyceum as usual, and had a very interesting time of it. We introduced a new feature into our Proceedings by only having the Principl disputants on the regular question speak and there were several subjects given out and those that got one had to speak on that subject right off, without Preparation what ever. I had "War" for my theme, and Stephen Rollins had, our Lyceum, for his subject. Whether it was because we done so well at such short notice, or Because we merely Pleased our audience we were chosen as the chief disputants next Tuesday evening. The question, Resolved that we should obey the dictates of conscience Rather than the mandates of Law. S. Rollins affirmative W. G.Christie negative T.D. Christie was Chosen to Deliver an Essay or Lecture, before the Lyceum, so you see the folks we are amongst are very good natured and are Bound to have us shine, and sir I suppose we will shine with a refulgence equal at Least to a dozen haddocks on a fish hake.