Letter from George Jones to his cousin Helen Sofield, dated November, 1863. Jones is writing to express his condolences to Helen on the death of her husband, Alfred J. Sofield, who was killed in action at the Battle of Gettysburg. He writes about faith, and that God will support her through this difficult time.
Dear Cousin Nov.
I intended to have written long ere this time, but I have been busy and have neglected it longer than I ought. Indeed, cousin, I can sympathize with you. I felt sorry when I heard of Alfred’s death. We talked of your troubles long before I received your letter. I often think of Willie, James, & Benny. Dear cousin, there is a care exercised over us by Our Heavenly Father that we fail perhaps to realize until we, through affliction or misfortune are brought to turn our minds or thoughts to things beyond this world. We can then trace God’s goodness to us through all
our past life. Tho we were perhaps unconscious from where or how that care has been exercised over us, still we must acknowledge God’s care through all the past. It is said that all things work together for good to those that love God. Although you have been bereaved of a husband and your parents have long since been taken away, and we may utterly fail to see any Providence in these things, yet we are led more fully to realize the truth that there is a high power where we hope to gather strength, and to more fully trust in God.
We will pray that God will be a father to your fatherless children, and the widow’s God in bringing you through all your affliction, and providing a way for your comfortable support – here below. We are all well at present. Lyman had the eggy five weeks after they came from the 90 days’ call of the governor. We are sometimes a little too hasty. I scolded Henry & Perry a little this week, and Henry run away and I have not heard of him since. Lee joined a conscription company which cost me $80.00. I earn it you know by hard work, and if I had known it would be lost I would much rather have given it to you. So goes the world. I will be happy to hear from you whenever you can make it convenient to write.
From your affectionate cousin,
Alfred J. Sofield was a clerk/justice of the peace in Wellsboro, PA when he enrolled as a Union Army Officer. He served in the Civil War as Captain and commander of Company A of the 149th PA Volunteer Infantry. During the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, he was stationed along Chambersburg Pike north of the McPherson Farm. His unit under artillery fire from the Confederate batteries on Herr Ridge, and was struck by a round, which killed him as well as Private Edwin D. Dimmick and Corporal Nathan H. Wilcox.