Part 1. Wounds and death during wartime
Next read the following letter from Confederate soldier J.R. Montgomery:
Spotsylvania County, Va. May 10
This is my last letter to you. I went into battle this evening as courier for Genl. Heth. I have been struck by a piece of shell and my right shoulder is horribly mangled & I knowdeath is inevitable. I am very weak but I write to you because I know you would be delighted to read a word from your dying son. I know death is near, that I will die far from home and friends of my early youth but I have friends here too who are kind to me. My friend Fairfax will write you at my request and give you the particulars of my death. My grave will be marked so that you may visit it if you desire to do so, but it is optionary with you whether you let my remains rest here or in Miss. I would like to rest in the grave yard with my dear mother and brothers but it's a matter of minor importance. Let us all try to reunite in heaven. I pray my God to forgive my sins and I feel that his promises are true that he will forgive me and save me. Give my love to all my friends. My strength fails me. My horse and my equipments will be left for you. Again, a long farewell to you. May we meet in heaven.
Your dying son,
Montgomery died four days later on the 14 May. His friend Fairfax did indeed write to Montgomery's father and to provide the details of his death. They said his family was never able to find him and bring him back to Mississippi though they looked.
After reading the letter above, review Civil War by the Numbers and Then & Now: Caring for War's Dead and Wounded. With a partner, discuss the questions below:
Part 2. Gettysburg address and Whitman's poem
On Nov. 19, 1863, Lincoln dedicated a national cemetery at Gettysburg. His speech lasted just two minutes but has been remembered as one of the most influential speeches in U.S. history.
It is a short speech, so we will read it together as a class. As we do so, try to identify:
Compare with Whitman: