previous next


of a

Lieut. F. G. West, a young officer lately connected with the U. S. coast survey, who committed suicide in Washington a few nights ago, wrote the following letters just previous to his death:


To his wife.

Washington, D. C., Aug. 19, 1861.
My Beloved Wife:
The hour draws near when I must leave you to go to another world. Poor, miserable, broken- hearted being, I am tired and weary, and I must lay me down to die. In leaving you, my darling one, my heart is wrung to the utmost; it is crushed. The world may say that I do not love you, or I would not die and thus leave you alone.--You know best, don't you, sweet petty? it is I who idolize you. I would not leave you, then, dear one, but I must go. You must be free. I sever the bonds which hold you as mine, this night. I hope you will be happy. Do not grieve for me, darling, though I know you love me dearly, and would have loved me more if I could have been kinder to you; but my position in life would not admit more. What is there that my true, devoted heart would not have given to secure your happiness? But I have done all I could, and can do no more. I have ever strove to make you happy, have I not, darling? I have had some pictures taken for you. Mr. Crowley, at this hotel, will get them for you. My effects you may dispose of, my own sweet wife, as you please; but remember this my dying request: From this day forth lead a pure Christian life; pray God to make and keep you good and pure, that you may reach Heaven; ask Him to forgive me for this act and the misdeeds of this life. My darling, go to your sister or uncle Walker; they will care for you. I am gone to you; soon you will be alone, and, perhaps, friendless; remember, go to them, it is my last request.

I pray Almighty God to bless, comfort, protect and guard you through this life. Yes that He will bless you with that happiness which will show you the way to Heaven, and give you faith therein. Oh, my darling, what did I say one short year ago; did I not say I would live for you alone, I would slave for you, yes, die for you? This last I will soon do; I will make that promise faithful and true; I have slaved for you, now I will die for you. Oh, my darling one, it is a fearful thing to love as I love you; to know that this bright, beautiful world has no charms for me unless they are shared with you. But you know who loves you best in this wide, dreary, lonely world. Don't grieve for me, my darling, but love my memory true and dear. Forgive my errors, darling; yes, forgive them all. I must go now; I must bid you a last farewell. May the Almighty God who reigns above have mercy on my soul, may He bless and protect you. Farewell, farewell, my darling beloved wife, with my dying breath I breathe your name. Your broken-hearted husband,


To his friend.

Washington, D. C., Aug. 19, 1861.
My Dear Friend Crowley:
Go get those pictures at the gallery when my dear wife comes, and write on the one she chooses, "To my beloved wife Josephine as a parting gift — Frederick." Then, dear John, collect together the little effects there are in my room and take care of them until they are called for by my wife, and unless she sends for them herself, you keep them, if you wish them, if no one else will. Dear friend, will you see that poor Fred is decently buried? Bid all my friends goodbye. If my dear wife comes on here, be as sand as you can, dear John, to her; comfort and console her. Pray for me, John; ask Almighty God to forgive me. Farewell, dear friend; God bless you. I die broken-hearted.

Your sincere friend,

Frederick Gifford West.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Frederick Gifford West (2)
Crowley (2)
Gifford (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
August 19th, 1861 AD (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: