Craven County Digital History Exhibit

Benjamin, Epidemic in New Bern,
pages 13 through 17

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Some angel guide my pencil, while I draw
What nothing else than angel can exceed;
A man on earth devoted to the skies,
Like ships at sea, while in, above the world.

His morning glory shall we 'er forget?
His noontide's full-blown lily coronet,
His evening primrose has not opened yet.

Nay, even if creeping time should hide the skies
In midnight, from his venerable eyes,
Darkened like his who sang of Paradise,

Would not some hidden song-bud open bright
As the resplendent cactus of the night,
That floods the gloom with fragrance and with light?

How shall we thank him that in direful days
He faltered never--nor for blame nor praise
Walked with the pestilence on life's highways,

Marbles forget their message to mankind.
In his own life the sage we still shall find;
In his own life his memory lives enshrined.

Yet since life's amplest measure must be filled,
Since throbbing hearts must be forever stilled,
And all must fade that evening sunsets gild,

Grant, Father, ere he close the mortal eyes,
That see a Nation's reeking sacrifice,
Its smoke may vanish from these blacken'd skies.

Then, when his summons come, as come it must,
And looking heavenward with unfaltering trust,
He wraps his drapery round him for the dust,

His last fond glance will show him o'er his head,
The Northern fires beyond the zenith spread,
In lambent glory, blue and white and red;

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The Southern cross without its bleeding load,
The milky-way of peace all freshly showed,
And every white-throned star fixed in its lost abode.

A benison on thee, thou worthy man; you meet the shivering blast each moment undismayed; those funeral rites which you repeat o'er to so many hundreds, we trust may not be repeated over you, until you have attained the greenest old age, full of years and honor. Thy true existence is not yet begun, thy glorious course will then be complete.

How you have borne up through many weeks of constant service in thy holy calling, exposed to the epidemic's fury, no mortal knows; but you shall rest embalmed in the memories of those whose kindred you have blessed, and the annals of these awful days will chronicle thee in grateful verse.

Rev. J. HILL ROUSE,
Post Chaplain, New Berne, N C.
September and October, 1864.

Notwithstanding the multifarious duties of the Medical Director, Surgeon D. W. Hand, the number of his patients was so large that it seems wonderful that he should have been able to attend them at all hours of the day and night, deprived of rest, and still not become exhausted. So frequent were the calls for him that it was impossible for him to answer one-half; upon him also devolved the duties of Medical Purveyor, a very responsible and arduous position, requiring, as it does, the distribution of medical supplies to every regiment and hospital in North Carolina, and undertaken by Dr. Hand, in the absence of Surgeon E. V. Morong, the regular purveyor. Dr. Wilson, of the Navy, died in the

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early part of the epidemic, and Dr. Hendricks, Surgeon in charge of Foster Hospital, was interrupted in his administration by an attack of the disease, and Surgeon P. B. Rice, of the 132d New York Infantry, stationed at Bachelor's Creek Outposts of New Berne, succeeded him.

When Dr. Rice came to the city the pestilence was at its height, and lie found the hospitals crowded to excess. The great success which the Doctor had met with in his own regiment at the Creek, was exhibited in his reports to the Medical Director; a remarkably clean bill of health, each month, presenting indisputable evidence of his consummate skill, and that of his experienced and learned Assistant Surgeon, Dr. L. Groninger.

At the time Dr. Rice took charge of the Foster Hospital, Mr. Silas Covill, one of the conductors on the Railroad, and Mr. Wheeler, another conductor, had died. Mr. Samuel Holman, conductor of the Bachelor's Creek train, was prostrated by the fever, but subsequently recovered, to receive the congratulations of a host of friends.

Mr. Cornelius Kane was the first engineer on the road, and ran the first train from Morehead City to New Berne, after Gen. Burnside occupied it, and had been in constant duty ever since. During his sojourn in North Carolina he had established for himself an enviable character.

He had removed his family to New Berne, and considered himself permanently located here with us.

His demise leaves a wife and two children alone in the world, to mourn his irreparable loss, with the sincere regret of all who had been connected with him. Andy Bane, also connected with the Railroad, died at Beaufort.

JOHN S. MATEER, formerly of the Government Sash and Blind Factory, and who had seen service during the war,

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also fell. He was an honest man, and when we say that, we need not strive to add to his praise.

Dr. SITLER'S patients numbered more than 400; and the scenes which he was called on to pass through defy description. We should deem this little work quite incomplete did we suffer ourselves to omit some of the incidents which are a part and parcel of his history; but throughout the epidemic no death occurred, which struck down a more promising young man, and carried deeper sorrow into a family circle, than the decease of LUTHER W. HOLMES--who was attended by Dr. Sitler.

Mr. Holmes came to New Berne with the 44th Massachusetts Volunteers, and after that regiment's terns of service expired, accepted a clerkship with Mr. Charles Hunt, who had been the Sutler of the 44th Massachusetts, and was then engaged in business in this city, as a merchant, on South Front Street, and, in the summer of 1862, was succeeded in the business of the house, by Mr. Wallace Ames, his partner. Mr. Holmes continued at the establishment, in Mr. Ames's employ, until 1864, when he leased the building at the corner of Craven and South Front Streets, and commenced business on his own account. He had been a faithful and devoted clerk throughout his long apprenticeship, and by strict frugality and industry amassed a sufficient sum to place himself on a footing with the merchants of this city. He was the example of a self made man, and pursued a steady career, full of lofty aim, and characterized by the most undeviating rectitude. His prospects were uncommonly bright and his anticipations eager; but, in the bloom of his youth, he was cut down--and we must mourn his loss with bowed down hearts. May he rest in eternal peace.

By the 3d of October the pestilence was making great havoc in Beaufort, and broke out in the Treasury Department, greedy in its terrible ravages for shining marks. Col.

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DAVID HEATON, Supervising Special Agent of the Treasury Department, was obliged to succumb to the disease. At the critical point of his illness it was fully believed that he would be added to the list of mortality; but, after a confinement of ten days, and by the untiring devotion of Dr. Memminger--who was constantly with him through his sickness--to the unspeakable joy of his family and friends, he arose, and was once more on his feet.

The Colonel's son, Mr. James Heaton, through Dr. Memminger's efforts, also escaped. But we have to note the death of Mr. HENRY T. CONKLING and Mr. WILLIAM P. BLAKESLEE, clerks in the Treasury Department, and who were universally esteemed for their blameless characters, and high social positions. In their stations in the Department, they were highly prized by Col. Heaton, and will long be remembered by those who were associated with them. Mr. Conklin was a corporal in the 81st Regiment New York, and his time in the service would have been out in a few days. Mr. Blakeslee, was the son of Charles T. Blakeslee, Esq., Assistant Special Agent of the Treasury Department.

Captain Charles A. Lyons, Local Agent of the Treasury at Beaufort, we are compelled to place in the catalogue.

HENRY T. CONKLING, 81st N. Y. VOLS.,
WILLIAM P. BLAKESLEE,
Captain CHARLES A. LYONS, 1st N. C. Vols.,
All of the Treasury Department,
Died at Beaufort, N. C., Oct., 1864.
of
Yellow Fever.

 

Front matter Pages 3 through 7 Pages 8 through 12 Pages 13 through 17
Pages 18 through 22 Pages 23 through 27 Pages 28 through 32 Pages 33 through 39

 


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Images scanned by John B. Green, III.  Text prepared by John B. Green, III and Victor T. Jones, Jr.
This page last edited on November 20, 2014.

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