Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Brett Schulte.
A Soldier’s Beautiful Letter.
In a previous number of THE TRIBUNE, we adverted to the letters written by soldiers, during the war, to relatives and friends at home. A few days ago, we incidentally came upon the following which so abounds in natural pathos, as to excite feelings too deep for utterance. The noble fellow who wrote it belonged to a Pennsylvania regiment and his orthography indicates him to be of German origin. The Germans are regarded as being of a phlegmatic nature, but no people are more devoted in their patriotism or more dearly love their kindred and friends:
PETERSBURG, VA, June 25, 1864.
DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER:
I did write a letter to you yesterday and said in that letter that I and Lewis where both well at present, but when I came up to the company at dinner time with soup for the company, they had Lewis laying dead in the rifle-pit, and he was shot from a rebel sharpshooter, while he was seting in the rifle-pit with the other boys in the morning about 8 o’clock. He was shot June 22, right in the head and was right dead–he coulden speak no more–he fell on the ground and I staid out with him till night and then we bieried him nice at a nice place in the woods. Samuel Eckrot, Frank Keonig, William Bels, Benjamin Dreibellries and me carried him out at the woods and Captain helped to bieried him. Mother he is bieried nice, and you can’t get him home at present, and you better not dry to fetch him home, for if you get him home you cant see how he looks–he was all over black, before we bieried him. Doned fetch him home–leave him bieried here where he is bieried. I took it very hart when I seen him laying on the ground, but I hope he is with Lucy in Heaven, where there is no more rebels and no trouble and I hope you will not take it hart that you cant see him and Lucy no more–we will take it as easy as we can–we hope that they are both at a good place and we will pray for them so that we may meet them one day or nuther. Mother take it easy–dont take it so hart. I did bieried him nice–he died easy, he diden find much out of his death. I must come to a close by saying I am well at present.
Your loving son,
J. M. 48 Pa Reg.1
- “J.M. 48 Pa Reg.” “A Soldier’s Beautiful Letter.” National Tribune 1 November 1879. 5:3. ↩
Not sure if this is documented elsewhere, but this appears to be describing the death of Private Lewis Hessinger, age 20, of Company A, 48th Pennsylvania, killed near Petersburg on June 22, 1864. Mustered into service on September 17, 1861 in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania and reenlisted in regiment on January 1, 1864 at Blain Crossroads, Tennessee. Buried in Poplar Grove National Cemetery.