December 5, 2012

Letter from a son to his father - dying in War - 1864

Writing a letter home in
1864 during War
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) has televised a new documentary called "Death and the Civil War".  

The film opens with the reading of a bloodstained letter. 

The letter was from Confederate Pvt. James Robert Montgomery, age 26, in Spotsylvania, Virginia to his father in Camden, Mississippi.  James had been mortally wounded in the shoulder.   As he penned the letter, the blood ran down his arm onto the paper. 

He died on May 14, 1864. 

"Spotsylvania County, Va. May 10

Dear Father

This is my last letter to you. I went into battle this evening as courier for Genl. Heth. I have been struck by a piece of shell and my right shoulder is horribly mangled & I know death is inevitable. I am very weak but I write to you because I know you would be delighted to read a word from your dying son. I know death is near, that I will die far from home and friends of my early youth but I have friends here too who are kind to me. My friend Fairfax will write you at my request and give you the particulars of my death. My grave will be marked so that you may visit it if you desire to do so, but it is optionary with you whether you let my remains rest here or in Miss. I would like to rest in the grave yard with my dear mother and brothers but it's a matter of minor importance. Let us all try to reunite in heaven. I pray my God to forgive my sins and I feel that his promises are true that he will forgive me and save me. Give my love to all my friends. My strength fails me. My horse and my equipments will be left for you. Again, a long farewell to you. May we meet in heaven.

Your dying son,
J.R. Montgomery"

The family of James Robert Montgomery looked for his grave but never found it. 

We look at this and then wonder "What's happened to us, that we're STILL conducting these wars - a century and a half later?".   Do we never grow up? 

The War Dead in 1862 - If it wasn't for the cannon, this could be today -
somewhere in this world.  God help us. 
Can you imagine how this poor man suffered with no modern day drugs?  

Can you imagine the suffering of his father who read this letter and saw the shaky, weak handwriting and the drops of his son's blood? 
Pray for Peace

God help us.  Amen

God save us from our warring governments.  Amen 

Pray for the repose of the soul of James Robert Montgomery.  Pray that he is with God in Heaven.   Amen. 

God help all soldiers.  Amen.

See another Civil War soldier's story.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where have all the flowers gone? to the gravesites everyone, when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?