Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Brother's Death in the 4th Vermont Infantry

Today at Brandy Station: March 26, 1864

Portion of a letter from Lt. Charles Leach, to his wife, about the death of Charles' brother, Private William Leech (Company H, 4th Vermont), on March 24, 1864, from Typhoid Fever. The Leech's hailed from Fletcher, Vermont:

‘Thursday morning the flush had gone from his cheeks, & more death like color was on him, otherwise, he appeared about the same only weaker & the nervousness of the day before had left him. I saw him last about 11 O.C. & about 2, they sent down word that he was dead. I started as soon as possible to make arrangements to send his body home.

I learned that there was an office of embalming at Brandy Station, so I got an ambulance and were there Thursday afternoon, go a coffin to take the body in, & sent it to the station that night...I would very much like to have taken the body home, myself, but I knew there was no use to try, therefore, have done all that I can do, & hope it may reach home without any accident.

There will be some of his clothes in the box & if I had thought about it before I went to the Station, should have sent everything he had that was worth sending, as it would cost nothing, & help hold the coffin steady in the box...Thursday, the day Wm. Died, was a very pleasant day, & reminded me of a first-rate sap day in Vt., after a big snow storm. "

This letter is found in Howard Coffin's book, "The Battered Stars"

Private William Leech is buried Binghamville Cemetery, Fletcher, Vermont.

The Fourth Vermont was part of Colonel Lewis Grant's Vermont Brigade, from the Second Division of John Sedgwick's Sixth Corps.

Over 1100 Federal soliders assigned to the Army of the Potomac died in the camps. Most from disease such as Typhoid. Those who had left instructions, had money, or friends with money, were embalmed and shipped home for burial. Those not as fortunate were interred in the ground throughout the county. After the war, over 300 of these souls were removed from the ground and moved to the Culpeper National Cemetery. Many, many others remain where they were laid to rest 147 years ago.

1 comment:

  1. We are relatives of this deceased Union soldier and have never laid eyes on these letters. How did you come by them and where may we find them currently?


    Cathy E. Moloney,
    North Hartland, Vt
    July 22, 2012