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[271]

About one P. M., (September 18), they reached Mr. Thomas's house, where a bed was prepared for him. By following his own suggestions, they were able to place him in bed without his suffering in the process. As they lifted him, he said, ‘Steady and true,—steady and true.’ As they turned to leave the room, he roused himself and said: ‘Wait a minute, boys; you've taken good care of me; I thank you very much. God bless you.’ They then partook of a dinner he had provided for them.

‘That afternoon,’ says Chaplain Quint, ‘he suffered very much. The next morning I had no thought but that he would live several days; but he felt that he should not see any of his family. He spoke of it and of the time required. It was not until nearly noon that a marked change took place. I was in the kitchen, giving directions for the preparation of beef tea, when his servant came to me, saying, “The Colonel is wanting you quick, sir.” I went in, instantly saw a change, and took his lifted hand. After looking earnestly in my face, he said, “Chaplain, I cannot distinguish your features; what more you have to say to me, say now.” (I had, of course, remembered his dying condition, and conversed accordingly.) I said, “Colonel, do you trust in God?” He answered, with ready firmness and cheerfulness, “I do.” “And in the Lord Jesus Christ, your Saviour?” “I do.” “Then,” said I, “there is no need of saying more.” I said a few words of prayer over him, with a blessing, after which his own lips moved in prayer and he added audibly, “Amen.” Then I said, “Now what shall I say to your mother?” He answered, with his whole face lighted up: “My mother! Tell her, I do love my mother” (he emphasized every word); “tell her I do trust in God, I do trust in the Lord Jesus. Nothing else.” No more did he say then. He was soon sinking. The last was a few minutes later, and about fifteen minutes before he died, when he said, “O my dear mother!” About twenty-five minutes past twelve, he died; so peacefully, that we could hardly tell the time. He died, as he had lived, a brave, gallant, noble man, a hero, and a Christian; cheerful to the last, considerate, happy.’

When he breathed his last, every face, among soldiers as well as officers, was wet with tears. Colonel Andrews had sent him word of our success in the battle. ‘It is a glorious time to die!’ was his joyful exclamation.

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Isaiah Thomas (1)
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