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!)
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.