Letter – Jedediah Baxter, 18 December 1862

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Letter written by surgeon Jedediah H. Baxter, U.S. Volunteers, to William Dehon, from the National Hotel in Washington, D.C. Baxter is writing to express his condolence for the death of Dehon’s son, Lieutenant Arthur Dehon, who was killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Baxter praises Arthur, and refers to him as a “brave, kind hearted man.”


-Page 1-

National Hotel

                          Washington, D.C. Dec. 18th 1862

My dear Sir:

     I have this moment taken my farewell look at your brave boy, and I cannot remain silent. I must write and assure you that in myself you have one sincere mourner, and who, if he were able, would comfort you in this your deep affliction.

     Your son was my friend! I welcomed him to our regiment last winter, have watched with pride his brave career. Every one loved him, and in this war of jealous feeling no one for a moment withheld the name he had so justly won; “a brave, kind hearted man.”

-Page 2-

I cannot attempt to offer you consolation; the grief of a father’s heart is too sacred.

     I pray you pardon me for even writing you at this time.

     I loved your son and felt compelled to write you.

                   Sincerely your friend,

                          J. H. Baxter   


Jedediah Hyde Baxter, age 28, from Boston, MA (born in VT), was commissioned on June 26, 1861 as a surgeon in the 12th MA Volunteer Infantry, the “Webster Regiment.” He was transferred as a surgeon to the U.S. Volunteers on April 4, 1862, and served as such until July 30, 1867. He had a very prominent career in the army’s medical department, and rose to col. chief of medical purchases, June 23, 1874, then finally to brigadier general, surgeon general, August 16, 1890. He was breveted three times during the Civil War. Baxter died on December 4, 1890.

Arthur Dehon was William Dehon’s son and a 2nd Lieutenant in Webster’s 12 MA Infantry. He was killed in action at Fredericksburg.

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