Tuesday, February 12, 2013

1863 February 12 Staunton, Va.

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

Thursday night, February 12, 1863.
Last night, just before going to bed, Va partly wound up the striking side of our mantel piece clock — having a trick of striking every hour from twenty to a hundred times, we have had to let that side run down, as the noise was very loud and distracting. Last night, however, the machine took another turn, striking at intervals of four or five minutes. [deleted: I was sitting before the fire reading, and did not observe what Va was doing till the noise began, when she walked off, remarking that she left me "some music." After enduring it till the nuisance became intolerable, I gave the hammer a twist, which prevented its striking the coil; but after I went to bed, I could still hear the wheels rapidly revolving, and all the machinery apparently doing its best to alarm the house as usual. The occurrence was both amazing and ludicrous.]
No war news — the "Dispatch" decidedly dull.
Another snow storm to-day. Tomorrow is the day appointed for the sale of Mr. Sowers' property, but if the weather continues bad, I shall postpone it till Monday. Much talk for several days past about the supposed opposition to Lincolnism and the war, in the North and West. Many indications go to show that there is a growing discontent in those regions; but a victory or two, especially the capture of Vicksburg by the Yankees, would bring the whole nation together again. A letter from Christiansburg states that Sister and family expected to start to Staunton on Thursday next. Va wrote immediately to tell them not to start till they heard of the arrival here of some few necessary articles of their furniture. We have engaged rooms for them at the Academy, till they can get Alick's house, the 1st of May. Another military enterprise against Midway, the Yankee General at Winchester, is on foot. Gen Jones has moved from his quarters at, or near, New Market. A forlorn regiment, or battalion came in to-day from Variety Springs, where they have been quartered for some time. Some of the men had no overcoats, and some straw hats — decidedly out of season in a snow storm. The horses are as woe-begone as their riders. Lt. Col. Witcher commands. He moves down the Valley in the morning. His force was raised along the Kentucky border, I believe.

Another Youthful Martyr.

ADDISON WADDELL STUART, only son of the Rev. S. D. Stuart, of Christiansburg, died on Blackwater river, Southampton co., Va., on the 7th of January, 1863 of pneumonia, after an illness of twenty- four hours. He was seventeen years of age on the 21st day of December, 1862. In the month of September last, he entered the military service as Orderly to Col. Henry L. Edmondson, of Roanoke, and went through the Kentucky campaign under General Humphrey Marshall. After the retreat to Virginia, he was stationed at Wytheville for a time; the battalion to which he belonged was then ordered to Richmond, and thence to Petersburg. From the last named place, he wrote that the troops were on the point of moving, he knew not wither—the next intelligence concerning him, was a telegraphic dispatch announcing his death.

The writer can hardly trust himself to speak of this dear boy, lest strangers suspect some exaggeration. He was intelligent, cheerful social, universally popular, always ready to do a kind act to any everyone, however humble. While on the march, he would dismount and walk, that a soldier somewhat unwell might ride his horse. Ever bright and happy, he was the light and joy of his home—the tender comforted of his oft-stricken mother—in the camp and on the march an example of cheerful endurance, shrinking from no hardship or danger.

But the most consoling fact is, that he knew the God of his fathers, and was owned by Him as one of his children. Early dedicated to God, as soon as he arrived at years of discretion, he publicly avowed his faith in Christ and united with the church. His walk and conversation never belied his profession. All men testify to his upright and conscientious life. Not long before he was called hence, he wrote to his mother, when about to start on some expedition, "I go cheerfully, trusting in God." Hiss illness was brief, but we have his dying testimony to the grace which alone can sustain in that trying hour. The thought of his mother's grief troubled him for a moment—"It will kill Ma," he said, "but tell her I trust in God and am willing and not afraid to die." To his father he sent word that he hoped to meet him in Heaven. Thus he peacefully fell asleep. His short and happy life on earth is ended—he has passed from us like a beautiful vision—but he has entered upon a higher and happier service in Heaven. For him there is nothing to regret. On the evening of the 13th inst., his remains were laid in the cemetery at Staunton, near the grave of his grand-father (the late Dr. Addison Waddell) and by the side of a little sister who two years before departed in the triumphs of faith. "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am."

This tribute to another young martyr is placed on record as a memorial of the devotion which characterises our whole people in the present cruel war, and especially as an humble testimonial to the faithfulness of God to those who trust in Him. Thank God for such a life and such a death! Blessed parents who have their most precious treasure—five lovely children—laid up in Heaven!

[transcript by the Valley of the Shadow project]

MSS 38-258

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.