Letter – J.C. Palfrey, 12 January 1863

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Dr. J.C. Palfrey to William Dehon, expressing his condolences upon the death of his son Arthur Dehon, who was killed at Fredericksburg.


Post Office

Boston, Mass, Jan. 12, 1863

My dear Wm. Dehon,

I saw you just now, but the sun was in my eyes, & I did not recognize you til we had passed each other. If I had, I should not have returned to stop you, for I could have found no words to accost you with, but – God comfort you [???]! is in my heart for the death of his.

J.C. Palfrey


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

Cadet Resolutions – Independent Corps of Cadets, 20 December 1862

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Cadet Resolutions from the “Independent Corps of Cadets” expressing sympathy to the Dehon family upon the death of Lieutenant Arthur Dehon, who was killed in action at the Battle of Fredericksburg.


Whereas we, the Independent Corps of Cadets, have heard, with sincere sorrow of the death of our late comrade Lieutenant Arthur Dehon, who fell while gallantly discharging his duty on the field of battle; therefore

Resolved, that by his decease, the Corps has lost a valuable member, and each of us, who knew him, a loved and honored friend.

Resolved, that we can never cease to remember his uniform kindness of disposition, his rare talents and his perfect bravery, the bravery of a true gentleman, not undervaluing danger, but ready to meet it, simple, un-ostentatious and never failing.

Resolved, that his career in arms has reflected honor on The Corps, on his State, and on his Country.

Resolved, that we deeply sympathise with his family in their loss of a son and brother who never, except by his death, could have made them feel a moment of sorrow.

Resolved, that these resolutions be entered upon the records of The Corps, and that a copy of them be sent to the family of the deceased.

December 20th 1862.


The Independent Corps of Cadets is also known as the First Corps of Cadets. It is a Massachusetts institution founded in 1741 as a volunteer militia and has since operated as an officer-producing organization.

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

Letter – Thomas Searingen, 9 March 1863

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Letter written by Captain Thomas Brent Swearingen, Captain and Assistant Adjutant General, 3rd Brigade, P.R.C., to William Dehon from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Searingen collected the personal belongings of Dehon’s son, Lieutenant Arthur Dehon, after he was killed in action during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Searingen is returning the belongings to Dehon, and expresses his sincere sympathies at Dehon’s loss.


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Pittsburgh Pa. Mar 9/63

William Dehon, Esq.

Boston, Mass.

Dear Sir,

On the battlefield at Fredericksburg I found the body of your son, the late Lt. Dehon, and had it moved to the side of my Genl. (Jackson) [Brig. General Conrad Jackson] who was killed about the same time. I took from his person all that I could conveniently carry, but being wounded & taken prisoner shortly after I regret to say everything except a gold watch & chain & two hdkf’s [handerchiefs] were lost or stolen. I was released a short time ago, & have not ascertained

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your address to which I have this day forwarded (express) the articles mentioned.

I knew your son but a short time, sufficiently long, however, to become very much attached to him, & to learn his many manly virtues. He was brave, generous, & patriotic, & fell in the discharge of his duty. Although a stranger, I cannot withhold an expression of my sympathy for you in this bereavement.

I am sir,

Your Obdt. Servt.

T. Brent Swearingen

Capt. & Asst. Adj. Genl. 3rd Brig, P.R.C.


Thomas Brent Swearingen, from Ohio and Pennsylvania, was commissioned as 1st Lieutenant of the 38th PA Infantry on July 27, 1861. He became captain, acting assistant adjutant of volunteers on August 8, 1862, and served on the staff of Brigadier General Conrad Jackson at Fredericksburg, where Jackson was killed and Swearingen captured. After returning to duty, Swearingen was breveted major on March 13, 1865 for his service. He was mustered out on October 11, 1865.

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

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.”


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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.”

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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.

Letter – Richard Coulter, 28 March 1863

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Letter written by Colonel Richard Coulter of the 11th PA Volunteer Infantry, to William Dehon, from a camp near Fletcher’s Chapel, Virginia. Coulter is writing to Dehon to thank him for the photograph of Dehon’s son, Lieutenant Arthur Dehon, as well as for the photograph of Colonel Webster. Coulter speaks fondly of Arthur, and praises his assistance during the engagement at Antietam, Maryland. He concludes by expressing his sincerest sympathies for Dehon’s loss.


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Hd. Qrs. 11 Regt. P.V.

                           Camp near Fletcher’s Chapel, Va.

                              March 28 1863

Wm. Dehon, Esq.

Boston

    Dear Sir

      Your note of Feby 19th was not rec’d until yesterday in my return to the regt., of having been absent since [the] engagement at Fredericksburg, where I had the misfortune to be wounded.

     You will please find enclosed the letter referred to in your note for Lt. Dehon to Mr. Butler.

     You will accept my thanks for the photograph of your son, enclosed with

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your letter and also one of Col. Webster, rec’d from friends of Capt. Williams of the 12th Mass.

     Your son was indeed a warm personable friend, & had attached himself very closely to me and was of great assistance to me during & after the engagement at Antietam, Md.

     This intimacy continued so far as circumstances (his being detached from us) would permit, until the day of his death. I saw him in the fire part of that day & can fully endorse the opinion of all who saw him as

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to his gallant conduct & deportment.

     I tender my sincere sympathies in this, your great bereavement.

     Accept my kindest regards & remember me to your youngest son, whom I met with you at Sharpsburg.

                   I remain,

                        Yours respectfully,

                           R. Coulter


Richard Coulter was born in Greensburg, PA on Oct.1, 1827. At age 33 he enrolled as a captain in Co. A of the 11th PA Infantry on April 24, 1861. He was mustered out as a captain on July 31, 1861, and immediately commissioned lieutenant colonel. His promotion to colonel was effective November 27, 1861, and he became a brigadier general by brevet on August 1, 1864, then brevet major general on April 1, 1865. He was wounded December 13, 1862 at Fredericksburg; July 1, 1863 at Gettysburg; and May 10, 1864 at Spotsylvania. Col. Coulter mustered out of the service July 1, 1865, and died in Greensburg, PA on October 14, 1908.

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

Letter – William Wilson, 18 April 1863

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Letter written by Lieutenant William L. Wilson, Acting Assistant Adjutant General, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Army Corps, to William Dehon. Wilson writes to express his condolences on the death of Dehon’s son, Lieutenant Arthur Dehon at the Battle of Fredericksburg, VA. Wilson writes that he knew Arthur when they were at Sharpsburg, MD which was under command of General George Meade. Wilson concludes by asking for a photograph of Arthur, to remember the friend he so respected.


Head Quarters 1st Brigade 3rd Div.

                 1st A.C.    April 18, 1863

Wm. Dehon, Esq.

Boston

       Dear Sir

            I was shown several weeks ago by Capt. Baird of Genl. Doubleday’s staff a photograph of your late son, Lt. Dehon, who fell while discharging his duty at Fredericksburg in Dec. last. I would like very much to have one of him if you have one you can spare.

     My acquaintance with him was formed at Sharpsburg, while Gen. Meade command was lying at that place, and continued up to the time of his death. Being in the same division with him, my position brought me in his company quite often, and the attachment I formed for him made me lament bitterly the loss of a noble soul when he fell.

Disease prevented my participation in the conflict where he behaved so gallantly, and when I saw his death announced in the papers, short as was my acquaintance with him, I felt the loss of a valued friend.

I would be exceedingly obliged sir if you could grant my request, as I have a deep desire to possess an image of one whom I so respected.

                             Very respectfully,

                              Your Obt. Servt.

W.L. Wilson

Lt & A.A.A.G.

                             1st Brigade, 3rd Div, 1st A.C.


William L. Wilson, was on the staff of Brigadier General Thomas A. Rowley at Gettysburg, and was slightly wounded in that battle (cited by Rowley for good service). He originally served with the 142nd PA Infantry, enrolling Sept. 1, 1862 as adjutant. He was discharged for disability on December 12, 1863.

Arthur Dehon was William Dehon’s son and a 2nd Lieutenant in Webster’s 12 MA Infantry.

Letter – Edward Clark, 5 September 1862

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Letter written by the former Chaplain Edward Lord Clark of the 12th MA Infantry to Mrs. Caroline Webster, from Andover, MD. Clark is writing to express his sympathies at the death of Mrs. Webster’s husband, Colonel Fletcher Webster. Clark speaks very highly of the colonel, and writes of how loved he was by his men. He concludes by mentioning the Websters’ daughter Julia, who also passed away.


Andover Sept. 5th

1862

Mrs. Webster

Dear Madam

     I have thought that the sad news which has cast a cloud over the friends of our brave Col. might not prove to be true. It did not seem possible that he had fallen, but this afternoon the last hope has been disappointed, and I can only express my warm sympathy with you in this terrible affliction.

     While no words can relieve the sad pressure upon your feelings, I am sure that even the humblest praise cannot but be pleasing in the midst of sadness. And I should be ungrateful to him for his many kindnesses if I did not tell you how much we admired his remarkable talents and his splendid accomplishments. His generosity and his sympathy with even the poorest of his soldiers endeared him to the entire regiment. Many times have I spoken of the devotion of his men, and I never knew a Col. so universally

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loved and so cheerfully obeyed as our col. In all my intercourse with the different companies, under all circumstances, and at all times since we left home, I never heard an angry or disrespectful word spoken of him. His power over them was such that I believe they would have followed him everywhere, and yet they never feared him as a commander. With a warmth of heart, which knew no distinction of religion or politics, he drew all men to love him, so that I used to feel proud to observe how much of his father’s genial kindness came to men, and pleased to see how much he had for all beside.

     Never shall I forget the rides we took in the late afternoon at Darnestown. The ease and skill with which he explained to me many things I had not understood in my reading or studies; the warmth and earnestness he threw into his gestures and tones as he expounded the “Lord’s prayer,” and the “Sermon on the mount;” the interest he displayed in

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the details of his regiment- how they thought, and wished and hoped – the enthusiasm and pride he felt as he led his splendid men under some unexpected order, perhaps to a scene of trial; the fondness he expressed for his dear Julia, and all his warm friends at home. These and a hundred things besides are so recent, so fresh in my heart, that I cannot feel the loss enough, or be thankful enough that I have seen and known it all. I wish for nothing so much as to have done something for your husband. I used to think if we went into battle I should never lose sight of him. But this privilege I could not have. Now it is too late.

     When I returned, I was too sick to leave my room, and on my becoming better the Dr. sent me back into the country, so that hoping from day to day to return and see you I did not write.

     You have met two trials, and both together. I cannot tell you how bravely he fell, nor need I remind you that

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this would have been his choice. If I could see you, I should feel that words were a mockery, but I would rejoice to press your hand, and tell you that I should always respect and admire the warm, generous hearted and talented impulses, and zeal, of our own dear Col. While I remember your precious daughter [Julia] as I do the rare days of sunshine in our stormy winter at Frederick. They were not separated.

     With the warmest sympathy ad deepest gratitude for your personal kindness to me, I have the honor to remain,

                         Your obedient servant,

                            Edward L. Clark  


Edward Lord Clark, from Andover, MA, aged 23, enrolled as chaplain in the 12th MA Infantry on June 26, 1861. He resigned on June 16, 1862. Died Feb. 4, 1910.

Fletcher Webster was the only surviving child of the famous Massachusetts Senator and orator, Daniel Webster. He organized the “Webster Regiment,” the 12th MA Infantry in 1861 at the age of 47. He was killed in action on the afternoon of August 30, 1862 at the Battle of 2nd Bull Run.