In Their Own Words
April 24, 1862
Letter Informed Parents of Death of Soldier from Disease
In the Civil War, many soldiers on both sides would die from wounds received in battle. Even more, however, died from illness and disease. One such fatality was Georgian Samuel Lovelace, who died at Bethel Springs, Tenn., as described in this letter from J.C. Curtwright to Lovelace’s parents:
“It is with sadness I inform you of the death of your dear son Samuel. He was taken violently sick three days ago. All thought it was measles but from the malignity of the disease I think it was typhus fever. I wrote you the day he was taken sick, and on yesterday I sent you a dispatch stating he was quite sick with measles. But then I thought he was some better. After that a scorching fever came on him, which lasted until 6 o’clock this morning, when he died. He was conscious all the time and expressed a willingness to die. If I was well, I would write you fully about his character and sickness. I can safety say I never knew a better boy than Samuel Lovelace, a Christian and gentleman in all his intercourse with everyone. he had not been with us but a few days until he got the title of ‘the best boy in the world.’ Everything that could be done for him was done. I will send his books to you. I mourn with you in this terrible bereavement. As soon as I get able [I] will write you fully.”
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 116.