upon us like a pall,— this slaughter of my regiment, of the boys in my own company, some of whom were just here; and then to go in the hospitals and see my own boys lying mutilated, maimed, and dying!
O my God, all this is too horrible!
Later in the summer he wrote:—
The mental and physical labor of my work here is so great that I cannot bear an ounce more burden of anxiety and care, nor spare another minute from the continually narrowing time allotted to sleep.
He died of fever at Washington
, November 10, 1863.
But the rest can best be told in the eloquent words of William Henry Channing
, who knew Richardson
intimately at this period, and whose substitute the latter was, for a time, as chaplain of the Stanton Hospital
The narrative, from which the following is an extract, was written to be read at a meeting of the Class of 1837.
“Only give me work enough to fill up eighteen hours of every day,” said he, as he entered on his new office, “and I shall be satisfied.”
And all but literally did he fulfil the ideal.
Of all persons I have met with, during the trials of this civil war, I calmly think that James Richardson was the most indefatigable.
Up at dawn, and off through storms on long walks to camps or hospitals, he was all day engaged in patient explorations of difficult and entangled cases; following up every clew through the mazes of different departments, and sitting up till after midnight in completing his records and registers, and finishing his correspondence.
He never seemed to feel fatigue, or the want of food or sleep.
And instead of being burdened by these accumulated toils, he grew light-hearted, buoyant, bright, and happy, according to the measure of his disinterested services.
And in addition to these official duties in the Special Relief Department, Richardson found other spheres for activity, in erecting, arranging, and superintending ‘Soldiers’ Rests' and “Temporary homes,” for the sick and wounded, on their first arrival from the front, or in their transient residence in Washington on their way to their homes, when discharged or furloughed.
In these homes he was father, brother, friend to hundreds and thousands, distributing food, refreshing drinks, clothing, money, or whatever might be needed, with a good sense, overflowing kindness, and hearty cheerfulness, which were beautiful to witness.
Finally, to all these works he voluntarily superadded the function of hospital