A Friend’s Loss

Monday May the 23 1865

                                Washington

Mr Anson Dewaters thare was a letter come for tip from you and i noing that tip was ded I took the responcebilety to open it and to let you nowe that he is ded I dont no as I hve doon right if i hant i want you to say so but i run the resk of it noing that you would like to hear from him you all herd that he was wounded and all the time wee was in goldsborow i tended to him and when wee marched from thare he was sent to the hospital to newbern and when he started he was groing wors and i herd before i got heare that he was a groing wors all of the time and sence I have benn hear i have herd from them that was rite from thare that he was ded the nerce that tuck care of him in the hospital is hear and he ses that he is ded so i think that it is sertan this you see is a rumer but i think it is so you rote about them things that you sent him he got them all when wee was to goldsbourow when i was a taking care of him that is all at present if you want to answer this direct to Orrin rhoads I Wish you would rite When tip left mee it semed like parting with a brother for i had tented with him ever sence i have benn in the armey I took as good care of him as i could but the docters didnot he died for the want of care he use to talk to the docters and all them that he was a groing wors but it semed as tho they didnot care wether he died or not I cant tell you mush in this way but when i com home i can tell you all rite soon and then i will anser it to the best i can excuse bad spelling and riting for i am a riting on the mi lap a seting on the ground Zenns is in elexander in the hospital i am a going down to see him to day

                                Youres in hast
Orrin Roades

 

It is uncertain when Orrin Rhoades was writing this letter, whether or not Orville H. Dewater’s family had learned that he had died from the infection that had developed in his wound. We know from the official government records that Orville died on April 30, three weeks before Orrin writes this letter to Orville’s father.

Orrin Rhoades discovered a letter from Orville’s father in the unit’s mail. He takes it upon himself to respond to the letter and to let them know about Tip’s treatment.

Rhoades writes that Tip had complained to the medical staff that his health was getting worse but that the doctors did not pay attention. It is hard to know if this is true or whether Orrin is simply responding emotionally to the loss of a friend whom he said felt like a brother to him.

It is interesting to note that Rhoades says he is going to Alexandria to visit his brother, Zenas, who is hospitalized. On the day that he wrote, May 23, the Union Armies began a victory parade through Washington, a grand review that lasted two days. With the death of his friend and his brother in a hospital, Orrin may not have felt like celebrating.

Victory Parade, Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C., May 1865

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