"It is my painful task to announce to you the death of your brave and interesting son, Benjamin Mell. You have perhaps heard that he was wounded in the battle of Crampton Gap, which was fought on the 14th of September, on a mountain pass...." Sgt. Benjamin Mell, Company D, Cobb's Legion was mortally wounded and died at the home of T. S. Lee at Petersville, MD. It would be nearly four years before Patrick Hues Mell would finally answer the heartfelt letter from young Miss Lee. Some sorrows are assuaged by silence.
20 October 1862
My Dear Sir:
It is my painful task to announce to you the death of your brave and interesting son, Benjamin Mell. You have perhaps heard that he was wounded in the battle of Crampton Gap, which was fought on the 14th of September , on a mountain pass about three miles from the house of my father, Mr. T. S. Lee. He was taken to Burketsville (a village close by) by the Federal authorities, where he remained under the care of the Federal surgeons for about a week and was very kindly treated by them.
My father then obtained permission to remove him to our house. You may feel assured, my dear sir, that he received every care and attention that it was in our power to bestow. He was attended daily by two excellent physicians. My parents, my brothers and myself nursed him day and night, but unfortunately our care was unavailing to preserve his life.
The wound which terminated his life, struck his arm and passed from that into his side and around his back. His sufferings were very great, but he bore them with the utmost patience and fortitude, not the slightest murmur or complaint ever escaped him. He seemed to be most grateful for any little kindness or attention that was in our power to bestow. His great desire was to see his dear father and sisters and brothers of whom he often spoke with great affection, and to whom he desired me to send his tender love. He was perfectly resigned to die and he felt he was prepared. He read his Bible very often and said to my mother and myself that he prayed always.
He said he wished his coat to be sent to you, that his father might see where he had been wounded, and that he had not disgraced his dear father, but had behaved bravely. He expired on Monday, the 20th of October, about eleven o'clock a.m., and was buried the next day in the churchyard of the Episcopal Church in this neighborhood. The Rev. Mr. Trapnell performed the service over his remains. His name is marked on the headpiece above his grave so that it can be recognized hereafter.
We have no opportunity of sending you his clothes and the other little articles which he had about him, but they shall be carefully preserved to deliver to you at some future time, but I enclose to you a lock of his hair. I will keep a part of the hair for fear that this letter should miscarry. We shall be most happy, dear sir, to see you at any time, and if there is any thing that I have unintentionally forgotten to mention about your son only let me know and I shall be most happy to inform you. We feel great sympathy for you in the loss of your brave and interesting son.
Yours most respectfully.
Mary D. Lee
Saint Marks Apostolic Church Cemetery, Petersville, MD.
Image by Jen Snoots at FindAGrave
Of Athens, Ga. Wounded at Crampton's Gap, Sept. 14, 1862, died Oct. 21, 1862, aged 21 years.
He died as he had lived, a Christian. Fond hearts will always mourn his loss.
Thanks to @Brian Downey for providing the link to the book containing the letters.
Portrait of Benjamin Mell also provided by @Brian Downey 's Antietam on the Web http://antietam.aotw.org/officers.php?officer_id=4346
Letter from Life of Patrick Hues Mell, P. H. Mell, Baptist Book Concern, Louisville, KY, 1895. pp. 140-141. https://archive.org/details/lifeofpatrickhue00mell/page/140
Find-A-Grave memorial Benjamin Mell https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/28534356/benjamin-mell