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

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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.
 

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JPK Huson 1863

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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.
 

Tom Elmore

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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)
 
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Northern Light

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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.
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.
 
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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.
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.
 
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View attachment 173217

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.
A moving letter. Thanks for sharing it.
 
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#12
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.
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
 
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#16
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
Very helpful. Thanks! The back-to-back Arthur Moseley/Sarah Hancock couples had me confused.
 

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