SMOKE RIDGE BOOKS

EXCERPT FROM LAST WORDS OF THE CIVIL WAR

 

WILLIAM H. KELLER

Private USA

Bladenburg, Maryland, December 14, 1862

     Desperately ill for a week with typhoid fever, twenty-one year old Keller was cared for in his tent by two friends.  In his last moments near midnight he asked to be turned over and given a drink.  Weakly he said,

“I aint dead yet.  I was almost gone.”

 A little later he uttered his last words:

“My Jesus, O my Jesus.”

 

FREDRICKSBURG SOLDIER

USA

Fredericksburg, Virginia, December 15, 1862

     Wounded on December 13th by a bullet through the brain, he was left behind when Burnside’s army deserted Fredericksburg.  When spoken to, he simply repeated,

“Captain, captain.”

 

FREDERICKSBURG PRIVATE

USA

Georgetown, District of Columbia, December, 1862

     Wounded at Fredericksburg, the soldier was brought to Union Hospital.  Nurse Louisa May Alcott, seeing the soldier’s untouched meal, offered to feed him.  He replied,

“Thank you, ma’am; I don’t think I’ll ever eat again, for I’m shot in the stomach.  But I’d like a drink of water, if you aint too busy.”

By the time Nurse Alcott returned with the water, the man had died.

 

 

JOHN THE BLACKSMITH

USA

Georgetown, District of Columbia, December, 1862

     The thirty-year old Virginian earned the respect of future novelist Louisa May Alcott who nursed him at Union Hospital.  He suffered from a lung wound received at Fredericksburg.  As he lay dying, his friend, Ned, came to his bedside and, for want of words, merely asked how he was doing.  John replied,

“Most through, thank heaven! Take my things home, and tell them that I did my best.  Good bye, Ned.”

After a parting kiss, John was left to gasp out his remaining moments, at the very end rising from his pillow to cry,

“For God’s sake, give me air!”

 

LEWIE

Private USA

Georgetown, District of Columbia, December 27, 1862

     At Union Hospital, the soldier identified only as Lewie was nursed by Louisa May Alcott and Hannah Ropes for ten days before he succumbed to the three bullet wounds he received at Fredericksburg.  His last comment was to Nurse Alcott who had given him a drink of water:

“Thank you, madam; I think I must be marching on.”

 

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