Another Father and Son, July 6th, 1863 or; 19 year-old sons

Charles Douglass 1864, Massachusetts 54th F Company

Charles Douglass 1864 – F Company, 54th Massachusetts – recruited by his father

So sad listening again to the Gettysburg story of Sam Wilkeson writing beside the body of his 19 year-old son. Another 19 year-old son wrote to his father that day. Charles Douglass’s letter to his father, Frederick Douglass, reports his encounter with some Irish fellows and their differences of opinion about Meade and McClelland. (I especially like this letter because I can actually read it, unlike many letters where I have to retreat to the transcription almost at once.) Despite the racism reported and his angry, blustering reaction, I smiled reading it. He is so young… and so alive.

(His health, it turns out however, prevents him from ever serving in battle.)

Both images link to the loc page where you can view the entire letter – it is 3 pages long – or read the transcription here. (N.b. in the transcript they make  mistakes, for example he is talking about Gettysburg with soldiers from Newbern  N.C.  - not N.Y. Why can’t I find a sound transcript? Annoying!)

Charles Douglass to Frederick Douglass

Charles Douglass to Frederick Douglass

My 19 year-old son is out skateboarding right now. He is not worrying about his future, or anything else.  I don’t 100% appreciate his lifestyle normally – I think he should be worrying… at least a little –  but today I will just go with it.

Gnardog aka my boy Pete

Gnardog aka my boy Pete

Posted in Digital Storytelling, Discussion, Primary Sources
2 comments on “Another Father and Son, July 6th, 1863 or; 19 year-old sons
  1. davemcintire says:

    Great post and picture of your son. We forget that they were just pups. Thanks for the reminder.

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Dickinson College
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