Sergeant’s Condition (August 22, 1864)

Meade writes home about the sad case of his son John Sergeant. The young man (born in 1841) is fighting a losing battle against tuberculosis (he will die in February) and Meade’s letters are filled with anguished passages about his oldest son’s health. Meade’s son and grandson edited many of that material from the letters they published. Meade, of course, was not alone in fearing the death of a loved one during those terrible Civil War years, but that knowledge certainly did little to lighten his burden.

I have received your letters of the 18th and 19th insts. I have known of Sergeant’s condition for some time, because, when I found he was so sick, I wrote to Dr. Hewson, who at once replied to me. Everything has been done for Sergeant that could be done. He has had the best medical advice, and the most careful nursing. This should be continued, and the result left to that Power who governs and rules all things, and to whose decree we must submit with resignation.

I have been very much occupied for several days past in the operations of my command on the Weldon Railroad, particularly Warren’s Corps, who during this time has had three very pretty little fights, in all of which we have whipped the enemy, though we have suffered a good deal in casualties.

Meade’s correspondence taken from The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Major-General United States Army, Vol. 2, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913), pp. 222-23. Available via Google Books.

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