13 May 1863: “If you had known Ives you would be better able to understand the regret which we feel at his loss.”

Item description: Letter, 13 May 1863, from E.A. Evertson to Kate deRosset Meares. Evertson and Meares both served, at one time, on the faculty at St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, N.C. Evertson writes to deliver the news of the death of Ives Smedes, son of Aldert Smedes, D.D. (first rector and president of  St. Mary’s). Ives Smedes died at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Item Citation:  From folder in the DeRosset Family Papers #214Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

May 13th 1863

Dear Kate

I received your letter yesterday just after our return from seeing the remains of our dear Ives. consigned to their last resting place. We received the first information of his state on the 6th though he was wounded the Sunday before. Dr. & Mrs. Smedes left immediately and on their arrival in Richmond while making preparations to leave for Guinea Station where they had heard that he was, the cars conveying the wounded arrived in the city and they found him in the Hospital that night. The next day I received a telegraph from Dr. Smedes speaking of his condition very hopefully, and that he would leave for home next day leaving Ives under his mothers care, but instead of his arrival, I received another telegram, not so hopeful, and on Monday morning, one that he would be at home that night, with the remains. If you had known Ives you would be better able to understand the regret which we feel at his loss. His Colonel who is in town wounded, says he never saw such coolness and courage on the battle field, or such unselfishness after he was wounded. His Father says he never heard him make a complaint while he was with him, all speak of him as a most noble boy. In his own home he was all that was “lovely and of good report.” for nearly three years he had been a communicant of the Church, and his choice of a profession was that of the ministry. Dr. Smedes feels it I think more than the death of Lyell, for he was very proud of his talents which were of an high order. Mrs. Smedes is very composed, too much so I fear. her health is not at all good. We heard from Edward yesterday. He was unhurt and wrote that he thought Ives was, but they were not in the same regiment. Poor boy it will be a great trial to him when he hears the sad news for they were warmly attached. The whole session has been a very sad one to us all. There has been a good deal of sickness of one kind or another. Just six weeks before Ives died we lost a very favorite pupil who had been here several years, after a severe illness of more than five weeks of congestion of the brain. She and Ives were like brother and sister, and now they seem associated together in our hearts. Dr. Smedes lost a favorite brother about a month ago of consumption in Mississippi. but amid all his trials he is the same patient hopeful Christian man. I wish I could hear oftener from you. I know you have had much to grieve and distress and I have fully sympathised with you in your great sorrows. Dr. & Mrs. Smedes send much love.

Yours most affectionately,
E.A. Evertson

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