A Son-in-Law’s Response to a Father’s Question

One day after writing to Ann DeWaters, Zenas receives a letter from Harrison’s father, Anson DeWaters, expressing concern that he has not heard from Harrison. Anson is Zenas’ father-in-law which meant that he and Harrison were brothers-in-law. Zenas confirms Harrison’s death and again complains about the medical treatment he received.

Specifically, Zenas says that his brother, Orrin, repeatedly tried to get Prat [sic] to visit Harrison because his condition was worsening. He is referring to Dr. Foster Pratt, the 13th Michigan’s Surgeon, who was from Kalamazoo. Once again, he reports that the wound Harrison had received in March had become infected and he died from complications as the infection spread.

Harrison died nearly a month earlier on April 30. The letter that Zenas received has not survived so we don’t know when it was written. Sadly, Zenas suggests that Harrison’s father could come to the 13th Michigan’s camp near Washington to recover the body for burial in Michigan.

In the end, Orville Harrison DeWaters of the 13th Michigan Regiment Volunteer Infantry, age 24, was buried in a national military cemetery in New Bern, North Carolina.

Cemetery marker for Orville Harrison DeWaters, New Bern National Cemetery, North Carolina

May the 24 1865
33rd Co 2and  Batt
VRC
Harwood Hospital
Washington DC

wall fother I jest recived a letter from ann and she said that you was on easey to hear from your Boy fother Harson is ded orrin was hear and staid all nite With me and orrin said thare was 3 or 4 men came from the Hospitel whare harson was they was nurses in the hospitel they said that he dide before they left so thare ant no mistake he is gon fother the 13 Mich rigment is here they was at the room yesterday it ant far from here whare they camp they ar in the 14 Corps so if you want to go and git your Boy you had beter come here furst orrin says that tip came to the camp and was perty smart But he kech cold in his leg and the inflamation got in to it and it went to his hid and then they took him to the Hospitel orrin says that old prat [i.e., Dr. Foster Pratt] did not care much orrin says that he did hafto go 3 or 4 times a day Before prat would come and see him father I rote a letter to ann to day before I got this letter I jest got one from ann so I thought I must rite you on one anson you see zene hant got no stamps nor no Money But I thought I must write you a letter for fear ann would not go threw safe wall fother and Mother and all I must close for my hand trembels leaving you to rite to me this from your sun unlaw  Zenns Rhoades

                                                                                                                                so good By anson
                                                                                                                                                and all

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