In Their Own Words
October 06, 1861
Death of Civil War Soldier from Measles
A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his mother and sister, describing the death of a fellow soldier from disease.
“…we have witnessed the death of one of our fellow solgers to wit Thomas Sanders. He died with a relapse of the measels. He got most well of them and exposed hisself in the rain. His relapse was very hasty to death. He only lasted 5 days the last round. He died last night about 1 o’clock. It was a very solemn occasion. He was out of his senses all the time. I was detailed to wait on him 24 hours. It almost wearied me down for his was trying to skip off all the time. He said he was going home but the poor fellow will return home with his eyes closed. … It was heart rending to hear the bitter cries of him. The poor fellow called his Mother often. He died very hard indeed. … The sick sees hard times for they are lying in the hospital tents on some straw. God forbid that I shall ever spend my last days in such a place for it is awful to see the sick groaning…”
Source: Elizabeth Whitley Roberson, In Care of Yellow River: The Complete Civil War Letters of Pvt. Eli Pinson Landers to His Mother (Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company, 1997), p. 36.