2 September 1863: “The death of Genl Pettigrew, as it no common loss, so it is not merely a family sorrow.”

Item description: Letter, dated 2 September 1863, to Mary Pettigrew from Mr. Patterson, a Confederate soldier and a friend of the Pettigrew family.  He writes to express condolences on the recent death of Mary’s brother, General James Johnston Pettigrew.

[transcription available below images]

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Item citation: From folder 265 of the Pettigrew Family Papers #592, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

3rd N. Ca. Infantry

Camp near Orange Court House Va.

September 2nd, 1863.

My dear Miss Pettigrew.-

I have not written to you [?] it is true; not however, because I have forgotten you, but for the reason that I did not like to intrude too rudely upon you now that you are so heavily weighed down by grief. –

I have remembered you daily in my prayers, & have asked God to give you grace to bear your new cross with Xtian patience.  I have thot of you & your sisters & brothers not only in my private prayers, but in the publick devotions of the Regiment. I bade them all join me in asking God to sanctify your affliction to you.

The death of Genl Pettigrew, as it no common loss, so it is not merely a family sorrow.  It is that to be sure, but it is also more than that, it is the nation’s loss, & one who cannot easily be replaced.  Indeed at this time every man is needed, & if so, how much [more such?] an ef-ficient officer as your brother.

As I wrote to your sister, I would have gone to your brother as a Priest, just as soon as I heard of his state, but the rules of Camp, no doubt very necessary, would not permit me to leave my Division for another, without going through cer-tain prescribed forms; & before the necessary arrangements c’d have been made, your brother fell asleep.  I am sorry that he did not receive the Holy Com-munion, but from your sister, Mrs. Pettigrew’s letter, I am glad to know that the Genl was to have recd the Sacrament if the Rev Mr Wilson c’d only have been in time. But if your brother desired the God’s Body & Blood then God has made up to him, what through no fault of his own, he could not obtain.

But Miss Mary I know that it is with a sorrowing heart that you now toil on bearing your cross after Him, who so loved you as to give His life as a Ransom for your soul.  May Xt be your Refreshment, your Guide, & your exceeding Great Reward_ until at length having done all you may stand complete in Him, & your Earthly labours ended may you be for ever re-united with those of yours who now rest in the bosom of the Beloved.

Give my love to your sister, Mrs Pettigrew, to your brother, & to all the little children.  Say to your sister that that I have recd her letter of August 6th, some week or two ago, & that I shall reply to it before long.  I would have written to her this mor-ning, but thot it my duty to send you a letter without any longer delay.

If I have been overbold in writing you thus early _ or, if I would have written to you before_ excuse me. I have had you & all yours in my heart & in my prayers.

May God bless you my dear Miss Mary, I grant that you may find great spiritual com-fort in our Holy Religion, & at last may you receive the Crown of Life.

As I said above, I always re-member you in my prayers, & so also in the most comfortable Sac-rament of the Body & Blood of Xt, shall you be devoutly thot of, & there too you may gain a rich blessing.

Kiss each one of the chil-dren for me – Miss especially my little God-daughter, & my precious little sweetheart.

To Miss Armstrong – I send a message of love, & to the servants I do wish to be particularly & kindly remembered.

Once more assuring you of my love, prayers & Blessing,

I am Miss Mary,

Yr Most Faithful Friend & Priest for Jesus’ sake,

Geo: Patterson

Miss Mary Pettigrew

Care of Chas. E. Pettigrew, Esq.

Mt. Carmel

South Carolina

 

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One Response to 2 September 1863: “The death of Genl Pettigrew, as it no common loss, so it is not merely a family sorrow.”

  1. Liz Bezera says:

    Here are some possible readings (I hope the paragraph numbers are correct!):

    Paragraph 1: did not like to intrude too rudely upon you
    Paragraph 2: to bear your new cross with Christian patience (Xian as in Xmas, and he uses Xt below for Christ)
    Paragraph 2: asking God to sanctify your affliction to you.
    Paragraph 4: glad to know that the Genl was to have recd the Sacrament
    Paragraph 7: overbold in writing to you this [or thus?] early [? - the first letter of this word looks like the first letter of “each” in the para. 10 line below, and I’m pretty sure that’s “each”] — or if I should have written
    Paragraph 10: Kiss each one of the chil-