We Regret to Inform You

In this last letter to Harrison’s family, both Orrin and Zenas inform his father that they have now received official notice of his death in New Bern, NC on April 30. Orrin describes how the initial wound was relatively minor and that he made some crutches for Harrison to use to get around. He does say that Harrison was careless about himself and that he overdid it rather than rest until his wound healed.

Zenas adds a paragraph confirming Orrin’s account of Harrison’s illness and death but says he has nothing further to add. He asks that his father-in-law let everyone know he is well and asks for letters from home.

Orrin Rhoades mustered out of the Army at Louisville, KY on July 25, 1865. His brother, Zenas, was discharged on June 27, 1865 at Washington, DC.

H . . . . .    Co . .  13 . . .   Regt . . 1 . . .   Div . . 2 brig . . .    Army Corps . . 14

                                                                Washington DC May the 28th 1865

Mr Anson Dewaters I thought it mi duty to inform you a gain of tips deth he died aprel the 30 in newbren the reason that i rite this letter before i received an anser from that one that i did rite to you is that the captain received an a fishel that he was ded and so i thought that i would let you no that he is ded for sertan so you may depend on it i cant hardly rite a thinking about what a good man he has benn to mee I cant tell you much about it now but whill wee was in goldsborow i tuck care of him the best i new how i didnot doo enything only tuck care of him he was vary carles of him self at first i made him a pair of cruches and he got a round on them to mush at first in till he caut cold in his wound and then he hadtoue give up it is a hard thing to think of that so little a wound would kill him he died of the efects of the wound Zenns is hear wtih mee now he is well at present so no more fore this time this from Orrin Rhoudes

 wall father sence orrin has rote you all about Harson I thought i would rite a few lines to let you no Zene is here with orrin But it dont seme rite for Harrson ant hear I came hear to day they camp about a half a Mild from Hospitel whare I stay orrin is a laying in the tent with me now he is well and so is Zene father and orrin has told you a bout harson so there is no use off me a riting eney more a bout it so I gess I wil close by telling you to tell Milisa that Zene is well but dont forgit to rite to us this from your son far a way but not furgotten you all (rite as soon as you get this

Zenns Rhoades

In pencil at the top of the sheet music is a note, “Sung at Brother Harrison funeral who fought for the flag in 1861.” Click on FuneralMusicVocal below to hear the sorrowful tune.


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