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[106] about seventy miles in an open wagon, under the blazing sun, and reaching Jackson just as the troops were turning about and coming again to their camp on the Yazoo River near Vicksburg. He came back with them, but now travelled in an ambulance. When they arrived at the camp he was quite ill; and it was now thought best, in accordance with his own wishes, that he should try to reach home.

On the 28th of July, at four o'clock in the afternoon, this poor, exhausted, faithful soldier left the sultry heats of Vicksburg for the North and his native New England. As the boat was passing the city he spoke of the many comrades who had fallen there, and sadly asked that he might be lifted up to look once more upon that fatal spot. The boat moved on up the swift river, but his life was flowing fast away, and at eleven o'clock that same evening he died. A cool night breeze had succeeded the intense heat of the day, and was blowing through the open doors of his room; he was attended, moreover, by a faithful man from his regiment, whom he himself had chosen. An hour before his death, he found strength to send a message of mingled love and exultation to his wife; nor did he forget to caution the messenger not to tell her of his death directly, but to see one of his brothers-inlaw first.

His body was left at Helena in Arkansas. It was presently removed and buried among his kindred, in the beautiful cemetery at Concord, where a simple and graceful stone, erected through the care of several of his townsmen and friends, fitly marks his resting-place. Upon this stone was placed the following inscription, written by one whose regard for him was in itself an honor.

In memory of Ezra Ripley, Lieutenant of the Twenty-ninth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers,—born at Waltham, August 10, 1826,—died on the Mississippi River, near Vicksburg, July 28, 1863.

Of the best Pilgrim stock, descended from officers in the Revolutionary army, and from a long line of the ministers of Concord, he was worthy of his lineage.


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