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[114] and separated from her children, after expressing his pain and regret, he says: “But it was right for her to go and see her dying father, notwithstanding the suffering it involves. Suffering encountered in the path of duty can never do harm.”

Upon the death of the youngest brother of the family he thus writes, just a month before his own death-summons:

My Dearest Mother: It is with heartfelt anguish that I have just learned of dear Willie's death. I know your heart is bowed down with grief at the loss of your youngest born—so sweet, so gentle, so lovely in all respects. I always regarded him as the lamb of the flock. . . . . Can you not, my dear mother, in this dark hour, put your whole trust and confidence in our Heavenly Father, who doeth all things well? God grant that we may all strive to be little children, as our dear Willie was.


After speaking of the grief of two young brothers who were with him in the service, he adds:

I trust that this great affliction, which for the present seemeth so very grievous, may bring to them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. I trust, too, that I shall be stirred up to be a better guide, both by example and precept, to my two young brothers so strangely associated with me, after so many years of separation.

But I must hasten to the sad close of this sketch. Colonel Coleman was on duty with his regiment at the battle of Fredericksburg, on the 13th of December, under General Jackson, and, with unflinching courage and entire self-possession, maintained his position on that bloody field.

“He might,” says Captain Dance, “without any dereliction of duty, have kept out of that battle altogether, for when his regiment was brought up other artillery had already occupied the position. But he was anxious to render some service, and sought out the general commanding that part of the line, and obtained leave to place some of his guns in position, and two guns of my battery were all he could find room for, and it was at one of these that he received the wound which finally proved mortal. His horse had been killed, and, though on foot and wounded, he still insisted upon remaining on the ground, and even offered his assistance in filling up a ditch, that my guns might be carried over to advance on the enemy.”

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