Digital Collections @ St. Lawrence University

My Dear Sister He who doeth all things well hath again called on you to mourn

My Dear Sister  He who doeth all things well hath again called on you to mourn
My Dear Sister  He who doeth all things well hath again called on you to mourn
My Dear Sister  He who doeth all things well hath again called on you to mourn
My Dear Sister  He who doeth all things well hath again called on you to mourn


Witherell, W.H.H.
Sunderland, John
A letter of condolence to John's mother following his death in the hospital from her brother, W.H. Witherell.
New Orleans, LA
Original letter: ink on paper, 3 p.


“Evening Star”                                                                                               New Orleans
Dec 23d 1864
My Dear Sister
He who doeth all things well, hath again called on you to mourn the loss of a son.  Your Dear “John” is no more.  The place he once filled in the family circle will never again be occupied by him.  Sincerely do I condole with the dear ones at home whose hearts are made desolate by this sad bereavement.  Words of mine can afford little consolation to the aching hearts of Father & Mother[,] relatives & friends.  But it may be some alleviation to their deep grief to know that in his last sickness he received good attendance + kind nursing.  The “Army” or hospital “Chaplain” informed you by last mail of his death + of his disease “Smallpox.”  I presume he also gave you some accounts of his last moments.  he seemed reconciled to the will of God and died I am told with a fervent hope of Salvation through “Christ Jesus.”  It is sad to think that he “So young” must die and sadder still that he should die so far form home and that the only relatives he had near home could not be permitted to solace his last moments.  As neither myself nor any of my family have ever had the “smallpox” we were not permitted to visit him before or after death.  But a Lady friend of ours who has had the “disease” visited him at our request every other day and provided every thing that was necessary in the way of “delicacies.”  Such as were allowed and also saw that he was faithfully attended by the nurses.  Another Lady visited the hospital on alternate days who was requested by our friend to look particularly after John.  So that he had some one interested in him daily besides the hospital nurses.  The day before he died our kind friend sat with him all the afternoon.  It was the turning point in the disease and she gave us very little hope of his surviving.  She sent for the chaplain who visited him and was with him several hours before his death which occurred on the next day before our friend again saw him.  He lies buried in the soldiers cemetery on the “Memorable Plains of Chalmeth” may he rest in peace and may he who careth for all his works comfort the hearts of his surviving friends.  I suppose he wrote you that he staid at my house as long as the “surgeon in charge” at the St Louis Hospital would allow him.  He was nearly well of the “chronic diarrhea” when he left and if he had not taken the small pox I think he would in a little time have been permanently cured.  When he left us he was put to “nursing” in the hospital + kept on it until he was attacked by his fatal disease.  As soon as he found his disease was the “smallpox” he sent a note to his “cousin John Bislan.”  Informing us of it and desiring if any of us had had the disease to call + see him.  He afterwards expressed much satisfaction that we did not come although he wished to see us yet he requested our friend to tell us not to come.  Dear Boy he did not know that we could not be admitted.  He was very glad when we sent some one to see him as he was afraid we would not learn where he was.  We will try and get some of his clothing from the hospital though we do not know that we can succeed.  I should have written you sooner but there has been no mail since the morning after his death and I did not hear of it in time to write by that mail.  Adieu my Dear Sister, do not let this sad loss grieve you too much remember that what is your loss was his gain and that it was the will of “Our Heavenly Father” that called him hence, doubtless for some wise purpose.  I know you can not help mourning for him, it is natural and light that you should but do not let the thought enter your heart that our merciful Father afflicts you unjustly or too severely.  Ask of Him and he will give you strength to sustain you through this Second Ordeal.  go to him for consolation he will have pity on your + will enable you earnestly to Exclaim “Thy will be done.”  I remain your affectionate Brother
W.H.H. Witherell
My W. [?--wife] Sends regards and kind wishes, + hopes though the “New Year” commences unhappily.  She may nevertheless wish you much happiness *** it shall have ended.


Rights Management: 
Original materials may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (more information).
Date Original (Precise): 
December 23, 1864


Digitization Specifications: 
Scanned at 600ppi on Epson 1000XL scanner as 48-bit RGB uncompressed TIFF images. Images resized to 960 pixels wide, 150 dpi, and saved as JPEG (level 10) in Photoshop CS5 with Unsharp Mask of 60:1.
Date Digital: 
October 3, 2011