Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
You bought these prints, filling in the tomb inscription. This LoC print was someone's momento- a clip from a newspaper has been carefully placed inside this one. No idea whose or even if it was a war casualty. What matters is the grief. Another widow. Anna's letter let her know she was yet another.
These are always awful. What was more awful was that these are the letters we can see. Nurses, doctors, relief workers faithfully wrote from bedsides, taking down a loved one's last thought, recording on a precious scrap of paper all which would remain of a husband, father, brother or son.
War widow, holding her soldier-husband's cased image.
They found their way to papers occasionally. No need for anyone of the era to make up horrific tear jerker articles, hundreds could happen in a day.
Dr. Carle ( Karl, from records ) August Hartman was a doctor and combatant in the 107th OVI. Tough finding information on him but found enough to verify who he was. A son, one of mentioned in his last thoughts was given his name.
German immigrants, this man's genuine sacrifice reflected his commitment to his new country. Found him a website dedicated to German regiments. He is listed as having died in battle- this letter shows him perhaps lasting long enough in a hospital to dictate this. Published just as news from Pennsylvania indicated yet more widows would be created at a place called Gettysburg.
He'd thought ahead, after being wounded. A doctor would know an intestinal injury meant peritonitis. Dr. Hartman must have had an agreement with someone, to send this in the event he did not live. ' You will receive this letter only in case of my death " tells us it wasn't found on his body after death- he entrusted someone with these few words. Just in case.
We lose people in 2018 to peritonitis. Any injury to an intestine spills causes of infection into the system. Only a guess but Dr. Karl had to have known this letter would be mailed.
One letter in a war papered over with grief- but thank you for your letter, Dr. Karl. You just know his wife said that, too.
A small corner of a photo from November, 1863 at Gettysburg catches a female bending over a grave. We'll never know whose. Perhaps a widow, maybe a mother, we're able to witness Anna's grief- and it looks as awful as it sounds.