1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!

Mortally wounded, Sgt. John W. Moseley writes his mother a last letter

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by Samwisep86, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Samwisep86

    Samwisep86 Corporal

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Messages:
    428
    Location:
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    JWMoseley 7-4-1863.jpg

    Transcription:

    "Battlefield Gettysburg Penn.

    July 4th 1863

    Dear Mother

    I am here a prisoner of war & mortally

    wounded I can live but a few hours more at farthest

    I was shot fifty-yards of the enemy's line. They have been

    extremely kind to me -- I have no doubt about the

    final result of this battle and I hope I may live long

    enough to hear the shout of victory, before I die

    I am very weak--Do not grieve my loss--I had

    hoped to have been spared but a righteous God has

    ordered otherwise + I feel prepared to trust my case

    in his hands--Farewell to you all--pray that

    God will receive my soul

    Your unfortunate Son

    John"

    Sgt. John Winn Moseley of the 4th Alabama died not long afterward.
    The letter is in the collection of the Library of Virginia.
     

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Messages:
    14,186
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania
    Oh good grief, could you imagine, his mother all the way in Alabama getting that in the mail? We're supposed to believe it was some small comfort at least being able to hear from them- but whew.

    Thanks for taking the time to bring his letter here- I think! 150 years ago, still tend to think how awful it must have been for someone named Mrs. Mosley, somewhere in Alabama, sometime in the middle of July, 1863.
     
  4. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,610
    Jane W. Moseley filed a claim on January 4, 1865 as the mother of a deceased soldier from Alabama (as recorded in her son's compiled service records). John was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, but his family moved to Alabama when he was three years old. John died on July 5 (Library of Virginia, online Digital Collections). He was 24 years old when he enlisted in 1861, having been a merchant in Marion, Alabama (CSR).

    In 1900, Private W. C. Ward wrote: ... John Mosely [sic], going forward to his company ... [fell] mortally wounded ... Soon they came to him, placed him on a stretcher, and carried him to the rear ... In the meantime the field surgeon had administered a stimulant and morphine. All night in agony he lay, until about 3 o'clock in the morning [July 4], when he, with two others, was placed in an ambulance and carried to the [Plank] farm hospital, just in rear of the line of battle. The wounded of the division were gathered there, those most severely wounded receiving surgical aid first ... (Greg Coco, A Vast Sea of Misery, p. 142)

    The John Edward Plank farm probably saw upwards of 1,500 Confederate wounded, of whom 515 (including John) were left behind when the army wagon trains departed July 4 on the retreat. This hospital remained open through at least August 12, when those remaining were transferred to the (Camp) Letterman General Hospital just east of town. (Coco, A Vast Sea) Surgeon Thomas Alexander Means of the 11th Georgia was left in charge at the Plank hospital, and later accompanied his men to Camp Letterman, where he remained three more months. Dr. Means also treated patients, including Lt. J. P. Breedlove of the 4th Alabama. His surgical kit survives as a relic of the battle. (Battlefield Relics and Souvenirs, p. 260)

    Incidentally, Private Ward added that three women from Baltimore afterwards came to Plank farm to help out, along with two local Gettysburg residents, Mary and Sally Witherow, who brought a bottle of Madeira wine for the wounded. The Witherow family had originally settled in the Lower Marsh Creek area. Mary later married a wounded soldier who she cared for in her home, located on the east side of Baltimore Street about a half block north of Breckinridge Street (it still stands) - Lt. James Purman of the 140th Pennsylvania. (Michael Dreese, Torn Families, Death and Kinship at the Battle of Gettysburg)
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  5. Hawkeye Brehm

    Hawkeye Brehm Sergeant

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2017
    Messages:
    588
    Location:
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    I can't imagine being the recipient of a letter like this...
     
  6. Miles Krisman

    Miles Krisman Corporal

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    464
    John Winn Mosely/Moseley descends from one of the earliest settlers of Virginia, Arthur Mosely/Moseley, who arrived in the colony in the 1600's with his wife Sarah Hancock.

    John Winn Mosely/Moseley was the grandson of Charles Mosely/Moseley, who had served as a Captain during the Revolutionary War.
     
  7. Samwisep86

    Samwisep86 Corporal

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Messages:
    428
    Location:
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Thanks to @Tom Elmore and @Miles Krisman for the further background info. I haven't yet got around to Moseley's background in my research.
     
    lelliott19 likes this.
  8. Northern Light

    Northern Light Major

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    7,642
    Perhaps, JPK, it was a real comfort to her, knowing that he was prepared for his death, and that his last thoughts were of her. We can never put ourselves in the shoes of someone who lived more than 150 years ago, we can only guess at her feelings.
     
  9. infomanpa

    infomanpa Sergeant

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    875
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    To me, he asks the impossible of his mother, "Do not grieve my loss."
     
    Cavalry Charger and mofederal like this.
  10. Chattahooch33

    Chattahooch33 Sergeant Major Civil War Photo Contest
    Annual Winner

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Messages:
    2,019
    Location:
    Cobb's Legion Country - Bowdon, Ga.
  11. White Flint Bill

    White Flint Bill Private

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    Southern Virginia
    Who were the parents of Charles Moseley?
    Arthur Moseley's son Francis married a great aunt of mine, as did his grandson Robert Peter Moseley.
     
    Cavalry Charger and mofederal like this.
  12. White Flint Bill

    White Flint Bill Private

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    Southern Virginia
    A moving letter. Thanks for sharing it.
     
  13. Miles Krisman

    Miles Krisman Corporal

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    464
    John Winn Moseley (born Aug 2, 1832 - died July 4, 1863) was the youngest s/o Charles Moseley and Jane Walker.

    Charles Moseley (born Feb. 27, 1775 - died Jan. 9, 1842) was the s/o Captain Charles Moseley and Mary Povall.

    Captain Charles Moseley (born abt. 1748 - died Jan. 1807) was the s/o Arthur Moseley and Mary Lockett.

    Arthur Moseley (born 1718/1719 - died Jul 1770) was the s/o Arthur Moseley and Martha Cocke.

    Arthur Moseley (born 1690 - died Oct 13, 1736) was the s/o Arthur Moseley and Sarah Hancock. (d/o Robert Hancock and Johan Ligon)

    Arthur Moseley (born abt. 1665/1666 - died Aug 1729/1730) was the s/o Arthur Moseley and Sarah Hancock. (d/o Simon Hancock and Sarah)

    Arthur Moseley (born abt. 1636 - died 1702/1703) was the s/o William Moseley and Susannah Burnet.

    William Moseley (born 1605/1606 - died bef. Aug 15, 1655, in Virginia) was the s/o (or grandson of) Richard Moseley and Katherine Smyth.

    If you are a descendant of Robert Peter Moseley and Magdelaine Mary Magdelen Guerrant, you connect with this line at Arthur Moseley (born abt. 1665/1666 - died Aug 1729/1730) that married Sarah Hancock (d/o Robert Hancock and Johan Ligon)

    If you descend from a later Robert Peter Moseley, I can probably place your line of descent with a little more information.

    This information is sourced from:
    The Descendants of William Moseley 1605/1606 - 1655 of Norfolk, Va.
    (Moseley Family History Book 1 of 2)
    Compiled by Leila Eldridge D'Aiutolo, Warren L. Forsythe, William S. Hubard, and Mary Carolyn Mitton
    2000
     
  14. jackt62

    jackt62 Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    2,045
    Location:
    New York City
    Sad letter, but wonder whether a personal letter such as that one is still better than getting a telegram from the War Department announcing a relative KIA.
     
    Cavalry Charger and mofederal like this.
  15. JerseyBart

    JerseyBart Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    9,767
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Or being Moseley writing it knowing his fate. No thank you.
     
    Cavalry Charger and mofederal like this.
  16. mofederal

    mofederal 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,359
    Location:
    Southeast Missouri
    At least his mother/family heard from him, even after his death. Many never had any idea of what happened to their loved ones. They just never came home. leaving an even larger empty place in their lives. Hopes and dreams gone, a piece of paper, their only farewell.
     
    Tom Elmore and Northern Light like this.
  17. White Flint Bill

    White Flint Bill Private

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    Messages:
    162
    Location:
    Southern Virginia
    Very helpful. Thanks! The back-to-back Arthur Moseley/Sarah Hancock couples had me confused.
     

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)