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Sale 38 Lot 285

MOTHER IS TOLD OF HER SOLDIER SON'S DEATH Fine grouping of three A.L.S.'s concerning the death and burial of John A. Van Leuven of the 120th N.Y. Infantry, a Fredericksburg and Gettysburg veteran who died of disease while in service at the Augusta Arsenal on Oct. 29, 1866. All three letters are addressed to the soldier's widow. The first, 4pp. 8vo. on arsenal letterhead, was penned by Bvt. Lt. Col. D. W. Flagler on Oct. 29, 1866. In part: "...I am very sorry to be obliged to announce to you that he [your son] died this morning...He has had every care bestowed upon him and the best of medical attendance...his disease, bronchitis...a clergyman was with him much of the time yesterday...his mind was at peace...His funeral will take place tomorrow...he will be buried in the cemetery which is on the grounds. He preferred that his body should have been sent to you...This distance is so great that it would require 6 to 10 days necessitate it [the body] being embalmed or put in a metallic coffin...". The other two letters are from two of Van Leuven's fellow soldiers. The read, in part: "...it must have been a heart break to you...he never gave up until about twenty four hours before he died, he prayed all the time...he left his watch to Joe as soon as he is big enough...I would advise you to have them sold here...he told me he wanted to send his dying words to his mother...'tell my mother and sister and Joe that I died happy and that I gave my soul to our Savior . Tell them that I prayed fervent, tell my mother that I loved her better than she thought...tell Joe to keep no bad company and to stay away from saloons'....he died like a child going to sleep..." and "..he called me to his bed but he could hardly speak...'will you see that I am sent home' I said I would...a [metallic coffin] could not be got this side of New York...rail roads do not like to take them...". One soldier's letter is light, else very good.
Estimate $ 200-300

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