Thursday, January 24, 2013

1863 January 12 Staunton, Va.

[from the diary of Joseph Addison Waddell, former newspaper publisher, and civilian employee of the Quartermaster Dept.]

Monday night, January 12, 1863.
We have been in deep affliction. At last this cruel war has taken a victim from our family. On Thursday, the 8th, I received a dispatch from Mr. Stuart, stating that Addy was dead, that his remains would be brought to Staunton, and requesting me to meet Sister in Lynchburg on Friday. I felt that I had received a staggering blow, and oh! the overwhelming sympathy for his heart-broken mother — he her only son. — And such a son! — So obedient, affectionate, sympathizing — so upright, truthful and brave. Before he was quite seventeen years of age he entered the army as an "orderly" to Col. Harry L. Edmundson of Roanoke Co. The schools had been disbanded and he was left unemployed and without an associate, all the youths of Christiansburg about his age and older, being in the service. He became so restless and unhappy, that when the comparatively safe and easy position alluded to was offered to him, his parents withdrew their allowed him to accept it. He went through the Kentucky campaign, returned to Wytheville, Va., went thence with his regiment to Richmond, and soon afterwards to Petersburg. From every point he wrote to his mother, cheering her up, and assuring her that he would be happy if he only knew she was not in trouble about him. Again he wrote that the regiment was on the point of moving, he knew not whither — next, only four days afterwards, came a dispatch saying that he had died of pneumonia, after an illness of twenty-four hours, and his remains would be forwarded. I met his mother at a hotel in Lynchburg. Friday night, and returned with her to Staunton on Saturday — a most mournful journey. Never can I forget that night as we sat in a dark room, she talking about her loved and loving boy, and I trying to comfort her. Mary, who came to Lynchburg with her mother, returned home next morning in the three o'clock train. And there we sat in the dark, till she shivered with cold, and I persuaded her to lie down. He was a son to love and be proud of. He was cheerful, social, accommodating, conscientious and a universal favorite. Long ago, he came forward, of his own accord; and made a profession of religion — recently, when about to march, he wrote to his mother, "I go cheerfully, trusting in God." On one occasion, upon his mother, with tender solicitude inquiring as to his habit of prayer, he said, "Why Ma, I pray as I am going to school." We have learned by telegraph to-day that in his last moments his mind was unclouded and hopeful. He died at Franklin, N. C., on Blackwater River. He was a universal favorite, for he was always ready to do a kind act, to whoever needed it. His battalion was dismounted on a recent occasion and required to march on foot, owing to his position he was permitted to retain his horse, but he tendered it to a soldier who, he thought, was less able to walk than himself. All his acquaintances, of every rank, have testified to his noble traits, and expressed affection for him. But he is gone from us — God has ordered it so, and oh let us bow to His will. His stricken mother broke forth into praise when she received the dispatch this morning, stating that in his last moments his mind was unclouded and hopeful. Notwithstanding the arrangements I had made in Lynchburg, the remains passed through that place and went to Christiansburg. They will arrive here to- morrow evening. It is painful to me to write these lines, but I want to have some tribute to the dear boy. — God grant that we all may have true faith in Christ and obedience to Him, so that we shall at last meet in heaven. Mr. Stuart is at home, sick.

[transcript by the Valley of the Shadow project]

MSS 38-258

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