<br /> Lee Letter: a031

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: John Dick

My dear Sir

I cannot describe the pain I feel now in addressing you. I vainly hoped to the last each of us would have been spared its infliction, for I know what you will suffer, & that I can afford you no consolation. Your son Lt G. M. Dick is no more. At 6½ P.M. on the 31 Ulto: surrounded by his breathing comrades, he breathed his last, & so calmly did he die, that we could scarce mark the moment. Not a sigh or movement denoted his departure from earth. He was conscious of his approaching end & that you may know where were his thoughts & feelings, his mothers name throughout the afternoon were frequent on his lips, & the last words he uttered as if to assuage the grief of those around his bed, were “I am going to a better world.” Let this then be your comfort, that your loss is his gain. I have nothing to offer but my warmest sympathy, & the assurance that every thing was done that could be done, to arrest his fatal malady. His disease was inflamation of the intestines, with which he was seized on the 17 July. As soon as its tendency was apprehended by his attending physician, Dr Gaenslen of the Army, an express was sent to the nearest Post, Fort Belknap, for Dr. Needlett. We have just paid him the last tribute of affection, & laid him in his grave. He was buried with military hounours, & the Masonic rites were performed over his remains. May you be enabled to bear this great affliction, & give some consolation to her who will most require your aid, is my earnest prayer.

Very truly &c

R E Lee

Notes:

Ely-DeButts PapersLibrary of Congress

Transcribed in Francis Raymond Adams, Jr., An Annotated Edition of the Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, April, 1855 – April, 1861, pp. 137 – 38. Addressed to Dick, “Hosue of Reps Washington City.”