A writer in Philadelphia relates the following: “In one of our beautiful suburban cemeteries was employed a venerable man. For a number of years past he has prepared the last resting-place for those called from among us. Though poor, he raised four gallant boys, giving to each of them a moderate education and a good trade. The two elder went five years ago to New Orleans, where prosperity attended their industry.
The two younger brothers remained with their father. George and Frederick were their names. The latter is but seventeen years of age. When the war broke out, both left their employments and enlisted. The elder brothers had constantly written home, and frequent presents accompanied their letters. At the battle of Fredericksburg, in the very front of the line, at the church upon the rifle pits at the back of the town, were the two boys Frederick and George. A sortie was made by the rebel riflemen upon the retreating Federals, and among those who dropped were the two boys, the youngest sons of the old gravedigger. A minie ball had pierced the bodies of each.
The rebel soldiers, whose weapons had done the deed, were clad in rags of linsey. They ran with alacrity to secure the clothing, the canteens, and perhaps the money, of the men whom they had laid low. The foremost one reached the body of his dead enemy, turned it over–for the face was downward–and to his horror beheld the corpse of his youngest brother, his woollen shirt stained with a stream of blood that oozed from a bullet hole above the heart. Our informant, a chaplain of the army, could tell us nothing of the other rebel brother. But this one made his way into the Union lines, and is now in the hospital at Alexandria a hopeless maniac. We learn that in their childhood this younging of the flock had been the especial charge of the eldest brother. When he left for New Orleans it was in the expectation of entering business to which he could bring up the boy. That boy he lived to shoot down with his own hands. Unless the remaining rebel brother survive, the family are now extinct. The father died of a broken heart, and was buried last Sunday. This is a simple statement of fact. It is doubtless one of ten thousand never to be written.”
Originally posted 2008-09-15 03:22:17.