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[224] immediately taken charge of by the officers of my staff, and every respect paid. This morning my aid-de-camp, Captain Coxe, has taken him to Washington, with his servant, horse, and his personal effects, and was directed to telegraph you of this fact, and make such arrangements as you might desire.

In addition to the pain which always accompanies the duty I am now discharging, I have now to mourn the loss, not only of a faithful and efficient officer, but that of a valued and cherished friend. During the brief space that Arthur and myself have been officially connected, I had time to learn his many good qualities, his high sense of duty, his amiability of disposition, and that which most particularly charmed me, his earnest desire to promote by every means in his power the happiness of yourself and the other members of his family.

I am aware, my dear sir, of the impossibility of offering consolation to one afflicted as you are. All I can offer is sympathy and condolence, in which I am joined by the whole division, to whom Arthur had become endeared by his manly character and the exhibition of his personal gallantry. In the army your son is truly and sincerely mourned; and if it were possible to be reconciled to the sacrifice you have been called on to make, the reputation he had acquired, the love that was borne him, and the grief his death has occasioned, might in a measure soften the severity of the blow.

Believe me, I feel most deeply for you, and earnestly pray God will give you strength to support the affliction which He, for some good purpose, has visited you with.

Most truly and sincerely yours,

In his report, which forms part of his testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, General Meade pays this further tribute to the memory of his young aid: ‘The loss of Lieutenant Dehon (Twelfth Massachusetts Regiment), my aid, is greatly to be deplored, as he was a young man of high promise, and endeared to all who knew him for his manly virtues and amiable qualities.’

There are delicacies of youthful character which it is as hard to portray in words as for the sculptor to fix in marble the changing beauty and evanescent grace of youthful features. To say that Arthur Dehon was one of the bravest

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