Item Description: A 30 July 1863 letter relates family casualties at Gettysburg (one member dead and another severely wounded) from M.J. Blackwell to his sister-in-law, Margaret Blackwell.
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Pontotoc Miss July 30, ’63
Dear Sister Margaret,
By the kindness of Mr. Humphries I have been permitted to read a letter from Newton Hunt of Ripley but now of the army of Va which brings sad intelligence. Grievous beyond description are the affections which are falling thick and heavy upon your heart and family. May a God of mercy sustain you under them. I suppose you have heard of your misfortune by the letter of Mr. Harris to Mr. Norton yet I hesitate and hardly know how to announce to you that Theodore was killed in the battle of Gettysburg Pa. and Pinckney so wounded that his leg had to be amputated. Virgil Grace was wounded in the leg. Rev. Braddock’s boys were not mentioned in the letter.
I can sympathise with you deeply, deeply, my dear sister, but I know it is impossible for me or any other mortal to comfort you. Your must look above and beyond flesh and blood for that comfort and sustaining grace which you need. Let me remind you, however, that as sure as you are afflicted the affliction though sever and heart rendering, comes from a Being of infinite wisdom and goodness. In the sad hour when your heart is crushed and broken and bleeding, you may not be able to realize this yet it is no less a truth that God’s hand is in all our affliction _ not always ordering them, but even where he does not order, he permits them, and he is able to bring some good out of evil. Better, far better, to be shipped of all earthly comfort here, if need be, and find heavenly joy and comfort hereafter than to enjoy worldly comfort and prosper it here and find it in the sequel misery and ruin in eternity. This is the verdict of the understanding, yet when we come to experience the sorrows and afflictions of the present life and how bitter is the cup! how hard to endure! Poor human nature without divine aid will sink under them. I can’t tell you, nor write proper, how deeply, how keenly I feel for you in your multiplied troubles. Pray much, sister. God’s ear is not heavy. Don’t yield to the despondence of nature nor to the temptation and suggestions of the arch enemy; but as trouble increase, increase your wrestling prayers while God shall pour spiritual grace as copiously upon you as your troubles have come.
Joseph came from Vicksburg sometime weeks ago and spent a few days with us and Nellie then returned, but was taken very sick and again came here a few days ago – is now better and in a fair way I hope to get well. Little Samuel is sick and Mrs. Dogun has been quick sick _ better now.
I wrote to you and Caroline Grace a few days ago. Hope you have got the letters, Mr. Grace was here a few days ago in his way to Okalona??
My wife joins me in love and sympathy to all the family.
There is a fair prospect now that the whole state will soon be overrun, but it is only what I have looked for and expected. When north and south have been sufficiently humbled God will turn away his wrath from us. Better suffer here than hereafter
Farewell dear sister May the riches of grace be your portion here and hereafter
M J Blackwell