from him this narrative, substantially as I have given it to you. After much severe suffering, when our army fell back, he was sent to Staunton
and thence to Richmond
, where I again met him just in time to witness his last triumphant conflict with suffering and death.
He was in a hospital, reclining on a clean, comfortable bed, his head resting on a soft, white pillow, on which the familiar name of a distinguished lady of Georgia
was marked—she having contributed it from her own bed for the benefit of the suffering soldiers.
Near him sat the matron of the hospital, rendering every possible comfort that the sympathy of a woman could suggest, intensely sharpened by the recent loss of a promising son, who fell in a late battle.
Reduced by a secondary hemorrhage and amputation, Albert, with a calm, steady faith, came down to the cold waters of Jordan
, where he lingered for a short time and dictated a letter to his mother, which I wrote for him, in which he gave an appropriate word to each one of the family, not even forgetting Maum Patty
, his old nurse, and reserving a postscript, the last and best, for Jennie.
I would like very much to give my readers a copy of this letter, but it is the exclusive treasure of the bereaved and afflicted ones, whose grief is too sacred for the intermeddling of any save the most intimate friends.
After pausing a few moments at the close of the letter, he seemed self-absorbed, and soliloquized thus: “I die for my country and the cause of humanity, and, with many others, have thrown my bleeding body into the horrid chasm of revolution to bridge the way for the triumphal car of Liberty which will roll over me, bearing in its long train the happy millions of future generations, rejoicing in all the grandeur of peace and prosperity.
I wonder if they will ever pause as they pass to think of the poor soldiers whose bones lie at the foundation of their security and happiness?
Or will the soul be permitted from some Pisgah
summit to take a look at the future glory of the country I died to reclaim from fanatical thraldom?
Will the soul ever visit at evening twilight the scenes of my childhood, and listen to the sweet hymn of praise that goes up from the paternal altar at which I was consecrated to God?
Though unseen, may it not be the guardian angel of my loved ones?”
Checking himself, he said: “These are earthly desires, which I feel gradually giving way to a purer, heavenly sympathy.”
Then, in a low, sweet voice, he repeated: