|My dear Madame,
I trust that you will pardon my delay in giving you the particulars of that sad event, the announcement of which must have already reached you. Our poor wounded comrades have engrossed so much of our attention that we have not found time to communicate with the friends and relatives of those gone from us to return no more. Even now, it is painful in the extreme, to bring up again the picture of that terrible day.
We left camp in cheerful spirits, through with something like a premonition that great events were at hand. I chatted pleasantly with Richard, who was almost a brother to me, and we went forward hand in hand, as it were, as we had often done before. When we approached the enemy, he asked me to attend to the men on the right of the company while he gave orders to those on the left. In a moment heavy volleys were poured into our ranks, and finding myself slightly wounded I sought the shelter of a tree. While binding my wound, I saw the lieutenant cheering on his men in the most heroic manner; it was a scene that I never can forget. Two minutes later he also was laid at the foot of the tree, fatally wounded in the temple. He was quite unconscious, apparently in almost a childlike sleep; and thus, without suffering, he passed from life to immortality.
Oh, how sadly did his dear friend, Major Philbrick, and myself gaze upon his fair face! We exchanged significant and sorrowful glances; and looking at the battle before us, we found ourselves nearly surrounded by the enemy. Hastily retreating, we were obliged to leave our dead and wounded; but before this, I had secured everything of value about our dear brother, except his sword and belt; this was so firmly fastened that I could not secure it.
On the following day, we made three attempts to get across to those who were left behind, but the enemy refused to grant this priviledge. On Friday the field was deserted, and so much time had elapsed since the engagement that it was almost impossible to recognize the most familiar faces. Such a great change had taken place that we were obliged to relinquish our desire to send home the remains for interment; and they were buried in a small garden-spot, quite near the scene of action. It is known as Lucca Place, and is about one mile from the village of Sharpsburg. Any one in the neighborhood will point out the location, -- the exact spot is marked by a headboard, -- and the proprietor has promised that this, together with those near it, shall be preserved.
Yesterday, Major Philbrick and myself, with the aid of a borrowed key (his own being lost), unlocked his valise, and placed in it his watch, pistol, gold ring, and other articles of value. To-day, I have directed this to you at Auburndale, and shall forward it by Adams’ Express; and if I can be of any further service to you, do not, I beg of you, fail to allow me the privilege.
I had found in him such a genial companion, with so much to love and respect, that I could not quite reconcile myself to the thought that we were parted for this life; and yet I almost longed to be with him, if I might leave such a fair name and glorious record. This line is constantly in my mind, and will always associate itself with his memory: --
"That life is long which answers life’s great end."
Deeply sympathizing with you in your great bereavement, I am, with much respect,
Your obedient servant,