His wishes with regard to his burial were that when Peace came he should be laid beside his father in Perquimmans &, with the sole exception of not being in the mean time buried in Richmond, he left all to his wife’s direction. She preferred our bringing the body home with us, where we could watch over & attend to his grave. So making all our preparations we left Richmond with it on Sat afternoon & reached home on Sunday the eighth, & on Monday we consigned it to the Grave in our little Country Church Yard, there to remain until Peace once more smiles on our land when his last wishes will be religiously carried out.
His wife, mother, & sister are still with us, so we are a sorrow stricken family. The calls upon our sympathy have been so great that I feel almost worn out mentally & bodily, for during the week we were in Richmond we never undressed save for a change of clothing nor slept more than two consecutive hours. I cannot close this account of my poor nephew without a tribute to the Hospital & to the kindness he received whilst there. He was in the Officer’s Hospital No 4-10th St under the supervision of Mrs Lewis Webb & the Surgical direction of Dr Reid.
Mrs Webb is a lady in every sense of the word, of rare beauty, & of delightful manners which at once command respect & excite affection. She has given her voluntary services to the Hospitals since the commencement of the War, first at a private’s Hospital, and now to the officers. Thomas had every attention & kindness shown him & in view of the medical attendance he received & the services of an experienced nurse, one accustomed to gun shot wounds, I do not hesitate to say that he was better off than he would have been at home. When the no of patients admit it, the friends of the sufferer are allowed to remain with him day & night. His wife & Mother, accordingly, never left him but took their meals in the house, paying for the privilege only $3 per diem, whilst the patients are charged but $2. Mr E, Rachel, and myself had rooms & took our meals at the Powhattan Hotel close by. We occupied the rooms but in name as we did not sleep there for a single night, using them only to dress in. The charge there was $10 per diem but in view of the errand on which we came & the little use we made of the house, when Mr E came to settle our bill, the proprietor insisted on charging us half price only, so instead of $244 we paid but $122 for one weeks board.
But to return to the Hospital & its arrangements, Mrs Webb was every thing that woman or friend could be to us & the tenderness & kindness of her manner added tenfold to the obligation she conferred upon us. Mr Crisswell, the Ward Nurse, was indefatigable; day and night it was the same thing, ever cheerful & attentive. The wonder was to us when he slept, particularly when we remembered that Thomas was but one out of numerous patients under his charge, three of whom were desperately ill, one actually dying whilst we were in the Hospital! His name was Russel from Alabama & he was without friend or associate with him & his disease, Typhoid Pneumonia, requiring the closest care. Another, Lieut Bridgers, from this State had two wounds, one of which had paralyzed him & the other had passed through his side, & he lay with a Minie ball actually in his lungs. It was impossible to extract it & the wonder was that he lived at all & yet his sister assured me that Mr Crisswell was as attentive to him as he could be.
Thomas sense of his kindness was such that he desired a handsome bequest to be given him after his death, saying he would have died long before & suffered trebly but for him and accordingly Mr E, after consulting with his wife & Mother gave him in Capt & Mrs Jones name $200, accompanying with a note in which he expressed their & our gratitude.
Mrs Wilkerson, the Ward Matron, was also most kind & attentive & even the servants testified their sympathy. The Hospital is kept beautifully clean, scouring & dry rubbing apparently going on all day, and the fare of the patients & guests is as good as the market affords. Mrs Webb told me that she rarely received donations from any one, the general impression being that “it being an Officer’s Hospital stood in need of none, that the Officers were rich, they could pay for what they wanted whilst the poor privates, who could not, got everything given them. This she assured me was a great mistake; that when in charge of the private’s Hospital she frequently returned to the Government $5000 per month from the commutation money allowed by it for the sick soldier whilst now she had always the greatest difficulty & was sometimes unable to make both ends meet for the same time. The Government furnishes the building, the Surgical assistance, & the attendants who are detailed from the army. Every other expense has to be met by the per diem, including Lights, fuel, & provisions besides bedding & in short everything else. We promised to do what we could for her & she will send an Agent out in a short time with transportation to buy & to receive contributions. So noble an institution should not be allowed to fall through.
On Tuesday Mr E was quite sick & on Wednesday kept his bed with a severe cold with bilious & rheumatic symptoms, but today I am happy to say he is releved & up again. We went on Tuesday to Ringwood to bring a relative & friend of Mrs Jones Jr to her — a Miss Hoskins – with whom she had been educated and brought up. She arrived on Wednesday & her presence is already a great comfort & alleviation to her. She also remained with us to assist in cheering up Rachel & she does much to assist me in soothing her.
Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979). http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html