Last Words and Moments of Soldiers

Andy Cardinal

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#21
"Don’t stop for me. Tell mother that I never faltered." Sgt. Asa Blanchard, 19th Indiana:
"As soon as Blanchard received [the flag], he tied the shuck around his body, unfurled the flag, and began waving it at the rebels crying out “Rally, boys.” At once he was shot in the groin, an artery being cut. W. M. Jackson, who was next to him, said the blood came in a gush. Blanchard said, “Don’t stop for me. Tell mother that I never faltered.” Capt. Wm. H. Murray took the shuck from Blanchard’s body, sheathed the flag again and started to carry it off, knowing that to do so was almost certain death." [Henry Marsh's account]
 

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#22
"My poor regiment is suffering fearfully."

The 27th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry regiment at Gettysburg was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Henry C. Merwin (1839-1863), who was killed on the second day of the battle. He was mortally wounded during the charge across the Wheatfield on July 2nd. His last words were, "My poor regiment is suffering fearfully." The 27th Connecticut lost 10 killed, 23 wounded and 4 missing at Gettysburg out of 75 men - a casualty rate of almost 50%. Most of the regiment had been captured at Chancellorsville in May, and it mustered only two companies at the Battle of Gettysburg.
 

James N.

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Ole Miss

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#27
Union General Robert McCook’s last words “I am done with life,” McCook reportedly told a comrade. “Yes, this ends it all. You and I part now, but the loss of ten thousand such lives as yours and mine would be nothing if their sacrifice would but save such a government as ours.”

Famous last words of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick at the Battle of Spotsylvania when he became annoyed by what he considered his men’s excessive bobbing and weaving in the face of enemy fire. “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance,” seconds later he was struck below the left eye fatally.

"The Lord's will be done." were the last words of Colonel Henry King Burgwyn the famous "Boy Colonel"at the Battle of Gettysburg

The dying words of Confederate General John Adams at the Battle of Franklin "It is the fate of a soldier to die for his country"

Confederate Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery was mortally wounded late on July 2nd at Gettysburg and was unable to speak but was able to write a brief note to his father with his left hand, though he was right handed. It said: "Major, tell my father I died with my face to the enemy. I. E. Avery."

Regards
David
 

Andy Cardinal

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#28
"I die as I have ever wished to die -- for my country. Tell my mother that I died at the head of my company." -- Captain John Griswold, 11th Connecticut, at Antietam.

During the 11th Connecticut's initial attack near Burnside's Bridge, Griswold managed to wade the Antietam Creek. Midstream, he was struck in the body. He managed to reach the other side and "lay down to die." 4 soldiers from the regiment crossed the Creek and rescued the dying captain. He was eventually removed to the Rohrbach farm, where he died the next day.
 
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#29
Union General Robert McCook’s last words “I am done with life,” McCook reportedly told a comrade. “Yes, this ends it all. You and I part now, but the loss of ten thousand such lives as yours and mine would be nothing if their sacrifice would but save such a government as ours.”

Famous last words of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick at the Battle of Spotsylvania when he became annoyed by what he considered his men’s excessive bobbing and weaving in the face of enemy fire. “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance,” seconds later he was struck below the left eye fatally.

"The Lord's will be done." were the last words of Colonel Henry King Burgwyn the famous "Boy Colonel"at the Battle of Gettysburg

The dying words of Confederate General John Adams at the Battle of Franklin "It is the fate of a soldier to die for his country"

Confederate Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery was mortally wounded late on July 2nd at Gettysburg and was unable to speak but was able to write a brief note to his father with his left hand, though he was right handed. It said: "Major, tell my father I died with my face to the enemy. I. E. Avery."

Regards
David
The bullet which mortally wounded Isaac Avery entered his neck (rendering him unable to speak) and apparently clipped his spinal cord because his right side was left paralyzed. That was why he had to write a note and do so with his left hand. Honestly, it's rather remarkable that he survived as long as he did.

Ryan
 

lelliott19

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#30
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"Tell my wife that I do not fear to die. I can confidently resign my soul to God, trusting in the atonement of Jesus Christ. My only regret is to leave her and our two children. I have always tried ... to do my duty in every sphere in which Providence has placed me."
Maj. Gen. Wm Dorsey Pender, mortally wounded in the thigh by a shell fragment July 2. Pender was evacuated, but was detained in Staunton, Va. when his wound began to hemorrhage. Surgeons amputated the leg in an attempt to save his life, but they were unable to stop the hemorrhage and Pender died July 18. He was 29 years old. [Originally published in the Richmond Sentinel, the letter to the Editor, dated 'In the Field, August 6, 1863' was reprinted in The Southerner. (Tarboro, Edgecomb County, NC), September 19, 1863, page 1.]
 
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lelliott19

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#31
"Good-bye Captain, I hope we will meet in a better world. Tell all the boys good-bye for me, and tell them I glory in the spunk of Company 'I.'" Private James Marmaduke Williams, Company I, 6th North Carolina, mortally wounded July 2; struck in the right leg by solid shot, completely shattering the whole leg "in a shocking manner." Later the evening of July 2, with his head in his brother's lap, he "died as he had lived - a good and gallant soldier." He was 20 years old. [Obituary Notices, Semi-Weekly Standard, (Raleigh, NC), July 28, 1863, page 1, column 5.]
 
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lelliott19

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#32
"I am soon to leave you my fellows, but we may meet again." Sgt. Joseph Houser Huss, Company E, 34th North Carolina Infantry. These words were recorded as Sgt. Huss' last by his Captain, M. C. Davis. Capt. Davis remembered him as "social, kind and cheerful, a source of life to his comrades and of gladness to his officers." Mortally wounded, he lived but a short while. In the newspaper tribute, Capt. Davis recalls the date as July 1st, but carded records state "killed July 3, 1863." His age is recorded on the regiment's Roll of Honor as 19 years. [Spirit of the Age (Raleigh, NC), August 24, 1863, page 3, column 5.]

"I am wounded. Is the day ours? if so, I die satisfied." 1st Lieut. William P. Harris, Company E, 48th Virginia. On July 2, he was commanding Company E, known as the Nickelsville Spartan Band, and encouraging his men, when he was struck in the head by a ball and fell to the ground. He was 20 years old. [The Abingdon Virginian., August 28, 1863, page 3, column 3.]
 
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lelliott19

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#33
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https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/5841191/henry-king-burgwyn
"I am dreaming; I know my gallant men will do their duty nobly; where is my sword?" Colonel Henry King Burgwyn, 26th North Carolina Infantry. In a letter to his father, Lt. John H McGilvary (H/26NC) reported these as the last words of the "Boy Colonel." According to McGilvary, on July 1, Burgwyn was "gallantly leading his men in battle -- bearing our colors, and calling upon them to push onward to victory" when he was struck in the chest and died soon after. He was 21 years old. [Originally printed in the Fayetteville Observer, the letter dated "Winchester, July 9, 1863" was reprinted in the Semi-Weekly Standard (Raleigh. NC), July 24, 1863, page 2, column 1.]

Alternately reported as follows:
"Tell the General my men never failed me at a single point." [Well Known Confederate Veterans and Their War Records, Wm. E. Mickle, New Orleans, La., 1915]
 
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lelliott19

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#35
"Tell all my relatives and friends good bye, and tell them how I died." Sgt. William H. Copelan, Company K, 44th Georgia Infantry. According to a letter from a member of the 44th Georgia (identified only as "J.W.B.") and dated "Army of Northern Virginia, August 12, 1863," Copelan was a "noble soldier" who "always displayed the same cool and heroic spirit." On July 1, while pressing forward, Sgt. Copelan was pierced in the breast and expired soon after. [The letter was originally published in the Chronicle & Sentinel and reprinted in Southern Recorder. (Milledgeville, Ga.), September 15, 1863, pp. 1-2.]
@Tom Elmore it's a long detailed account of the 44th GA and Dole's brigade. Let me know if you haven't seen it? I think its written by Capt. James W. Beck, later Lt. Col 44thGA
EDIT TO ADD: Just realized Tom has posted this one earlier in the thread. But since its for a seldom sourced brigade, I'll leave it here in case anyone missed it earlier.
 
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lelliott19

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#36
"Capt. tell my father and my mother I died for my country." Private Jackson B. Giles, Company C, 9th Georgia Infantry. These, the last words of "Poor Jack Giles," spoken on July 2, 1863. Captain Hillyer (C/9GA) reports that Giles' leg was "torn off by a shell just before we began to advance." Hillyer continues: "Shells were tearing the trees and the ground around us, but the heroism of his spirit triumphed even in that dreadful hour." [Letter: Captain George Hillyer to "My Dear Father," dated "July 11th, at sundown" and published in the Southern Banner (Athens, Ga.), July 29, 1863, page 3, column 1.]
 

lelliott19

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#37
"Write to my mother and sister, tell them I die the death of a christian, and death I do not fear, but feel perfectly resigned to the will of God." Private William E. "Eddie" Hanna, Company G, 45th Georgia Infantry. Hanna was recently transferred to the 45th GA after recovering from a foot wound at 1st Fredericksburg. Wounded July 2 at Gettysburg, his leg was amputated at the thigh (not clear if the operation occurred before or after his capture.) Being left behind when the army retreated, he was captured and sent to DeCamp General Hospital, Davids Island, NY where he died July 18th (carded records show 27th.) The cause of death is listed only as "amp. of thigh." His messmate was also captured and transported to NY, where he witnessed Hanna's death and recorded his last words. Eddie Hanna was 20 years old. [The Confederate Union (Milledgeville, Ga.), September 22, 1863, page 2, column 6.]
 

Tom Elmore

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#38
Tell my mother I died trusting in the Lord.” Written in pencil by Confederate John Burton (probably Private John Burton, Company E, 56th Virginia) on an envelope given to him by Lt. John E. Burton, Company K, 1st U.S.; July 3, at the Angle. The latter wrote a letter of sympathy to John’s mother, as soon as the campaign was over, and got it through by flag of truce. Her address was Mrs. John Burton, White Plains, Virginia. In a few weeks he received a reply thanking him. [Lieutenant John E. Burton, 11th New York Battery (K/1 U.S.), New York at Gettysburg, III:1308]

Boys, I have played out; go on to victory.” Also rendered as “Press on to victory; I have played out.” Adjutant Henderson C. Lucas, 11th North Carolina; mortally wounded July 1, died July 24 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. [Lucas Family Papers, Duke University Libraries, Durham, NC]

I am dreaming; I know my gallant men will do their duty nobly; where is my sword?” Also, “Tell General Hill I can lead my regiment no farther. My men have behaved well, and still behave well.” Also, “The Lord’s will be done.” Colonel Henry K. Burgwyn, Jr., 26th North Carolina; mortally wounded July 1. [Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg, by John W. and Travis W. Busey; Obituary published in Raleigh newspaper, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Fred A. Olds, Southern Historical Society Papers, vol. 35, 1907, p. 322]

There, now, Vicksburg has fallen, General Lee is retreating, and the South is whipped.” Unidentified Georgia officer, as recorded by Lt. Col. John R. Lane, 26th North Carolina; mortally wounded and probably died on July 2 just after uttering these words, but certainly prior to Lee’s assault on July 3 and the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4. [The Pinehurst Lookout, December 20, 1913, p. 5]

Jesus has taken all the fear of death away.” Lieutenant Wesley Lewis Battle, Company D, 37th North Carolina; mortally wounded July 3, died August 22 at Camp Letterman General Hospital near Gettysburg. [Battle Family Papers #3223, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill]

Oh, Jack, if I had a canteen full of hydrant water.” Sergeant Algernon C. Porter, Third Richmond Howitzers; mortally wounded. [A Sketch of the Boyhood Days of Andrew J. Andrews, Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, Inc., 1905, p. 31]

The brave dying man … after intense suffering, passed away, speaking with last breath the name of his wife. Captain Ephraim Wood, Company H, 125th New York. [Gregory A. Coco, Killed in Action]

Late in the Confederate charge on the afternoon of July 3, Lieutenant George A. Woodruff, commanding Battery I, 1st U.S. was shot in the back while facing his men. He was eventually taken to the little stone school house on the crossroad leading from the Taneytown road to the Baltimore Pike, where he died, regretting to the last that it should have been his fate to be shot in the back, and asking of his friends that it should be no reflection upon his reputation. [Bachelder Papers, 3:1977]
 

AUG

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#40
Not Gettysburg, but since some have posted quotes from other battles....

"Boys, I am killed, but you press on!" Capt. Jacob Q. Carpenter, Co. M, Palmetto Sharpshooters in the battle of Seven Pines, May 31, 1862. He fought until his company of 28 were reduced to just 12. Then, shot through the heart, he turned to his men and uttered these words before dying. [Col. Micah Jenkins' official report of the battle]

"Men, if you can, please take me home to my mother, for I fear she will worry so about me." Capt. Isaac "Ike" N. M. Turner, Co. K, 5th Texas Infantry. Having just turned 24 in April, he was mortally wounded by a sharpshooter at Fort Huger during the Siege of Suffolk, April 14, 1863, dying the following day. His brother, Charles, transported his body back to the family's former plantation, "Turnwold," near Eatonton, Georgia, for burial. Believing it was Ike's last wish to be buried with his family, in 1995 his remains were finally disinterred, transported from Georgia to Texas and reburied in the family cemetery there. ["The Bloody Fifth": Vol. 1: Secession to the Suffolk Campaign by John F. Schmutz (El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2016) p. 274]

"Come on, my brave boys, don't let the Third [Louisiana] Regiment get ahead of you!" Col. Eugene Erwin, 6th Missouri Infantry (CS), at the Siege of Vicksburg. He was shot and killed while leading his men in a counterattack on the crater, following the mine explosion on June 25, 1863. [A Southern Record: History of the Third Regiment Louisiana Infantry by W. H. Tunnard (Baton Rouge, LA: 1866), p. 258]
 



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