Craven County Digital History Exhibit

Benjamin, Epidemic in New Bern,
pages 23 through 27

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See that dreary, dilapidated old tenement, so frail that it seems that the lightest breath would topple it down, windows long since bereft of their glass, and the whole aspect of the building picturing complete destitution and want. In that vacant chamber of the upper floor, prostrated on a ragged mattress, and surrounded by filth and rubbish, lies a female form; the iron hand of disease is upon her, with no one near her to give that needful aid in the time of her great distress, but one true, untiring devoted friend. See how tenderly he bends over her in her misery, and imprints a kiss on her parched lips; with what passionate fondness he attempts to alleviate her sufferings, and how carefully and kindly she is removed from that old building to a comfortable and quiet abode--and as he smooths her heated brow with his trembling hand, she exclaims, “Oh, how, good you are to me, I will never forget it.” Day after day and week after week, the same constant friend attends her; eager in his great anxiety for her speedy recovery, and ever ready to minister to her necessities. Through such scenes of trial does he follow her. Devotion and affection ripen into the deepest and most passionate love--she is the idol whom he worships, the dear one is enshrined in his heart, absorbs his whole soul, and becomes a part of his very existence, his chief hope of the future. And when health returned, and her beauty bloomed again, and she was arrayed in fine apparel, evil ones, wicked tempters, beguiled her, deluged her mind with a river of deadly poison, and seduced her from the happy rectitude which had shed a bright lustre on her spotless name--she forgot the beloved friend whom she had sworn never to desert, never to grieve his trusting spirit, nor prove false to him, nor break his yearning heart. But she yielded to the alluring words of those whose paths lead down to destruction, and she descended from her honorable career, down, down, to degradation and shame.

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In the ever varying changes of this life the hand of an infinite power is distinctly manifest, in bereavements which almost drive reason from its throne, when we see all that we lad to live for in this world taken from us. Father, mother and all, and one pleads in anguish to be called away. The terrible vanity of this life is apparent. Many such withering experiences did New Berne behold during the reign of terror.

A brick mansion by the water side, stands out like a cenotaph; within its walls are hidden histories of the memorable past--chapters of the Gaston House, written in enduring light. Where are the busy throngs that were wont to cluster round its portals? Fled! all but a few trusty ones, fled from before the sweeping scythe of the destroyer.

The register of the house, since it was conducted by its present liberal proprietor, Samuel C. Fisher, Esq., exhibits many names who were honored by his princely generosity, proceeding from a heart, as kind and noble as his purse is free, and ever ready to succor the needy and the worthy. When the panic held sway over the city, the Gaston House remained open; and when, in its turn, the yellow fever reached it--firm at his post, and undismayed, was


the worthy superintendent of the hotel. Through all the great depression he never receded, and day after day was by the side of the dying, sacrificing his own comfort, encountering fearful risks, with the spirit of the true philanthropist.

The first death was that of ALGERNON S. SAWYER, who was born in Hollis, Maine, and came to New Berne, in February, 1862, as clerk to T. L. Merrill & Co., and was afterwards admitted as a partner in the house. Mr. Sawyer had no enemies, but was beloved by all; of a particularly lively temperament and happy disposition, his society was

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always courted, more especially by the ladies, and his demise is deeply and universally deplored.

Throughout the whole siege Mr. McAlpin was conspicuous and pre-eminent in his untiring devotion, and he should be gratefully remembered for all time. Although recovering from the attack himself he was faithful unto the last, and lives to-day among us a sincere friend, and one upon whom the world may set its seal in humble admiration of a man--and this is Edward G. McAlpin.

CHARLES C. LAWRENCE, formerly of the 44th Massachusetts, came to New Berne to establish himself in business, and married a charming young girl. A great favorite he was among a host of friends, by whom he was fostered during his illness, but after nine weeks' sickness from typhoid fever the yellow fever set in, and he, too, must be added to the list of the lamented dead, and one more to agonized hearts. Mr. JAMES HERVEY, formerly Captain in the 1st North Carolina Regiment, died about the same time. Mr. Hervey was Purser of the steamer Massasoit, Capt. Crane.


who were stationed in the city as Provost Guards, lost the following officers and soldiers:

Capt. Septimus S. Smith, George W. Thompson,
Capt. Franklin Beecher, Bernard Dougherty,

Lieut. M. C. Augur, Q. M.,

Theodore Dutton,

Lieut. W. W. Thompson,

William Uhl,

Sergt. Mason Rogers,

Willys Redfield,

“ Amos J. Pratt,

Alonzo S. Mortimer,

“ Rothius Pettee,

Henry Martin,

“ Charles A. Benjamin,

Edward Johnson,

“ Charles A. Boyle,          

Albert Huntley,

“ J. Henrie Burwell,         

Franklin S. Carpenter,


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Sergt. Elliot Reynolds,  

Luke Boylan,

Corpl. Franklin Buchu, 

Garrett H. Reynolds,

“ John O. Story,                      

Alvah J. Cook,

Henry C. Lord,            

Theodore Billwood,

Sydney M. Andrews,               

Cornelius R. Smith,

Thomas Wilson,                       

Joseph A. Sturgis,

Thomas Baker,            

Joseph A. Wilson,

Daniel Crowley,                       

Prescott W. Parsons,

George Dean,                          

Alvin Kenny,

Henry L. Curtiss,                     

Patrick Divine,

Joseph Rancom,                      

Dudley W. Crandall,

Bliss Tuttle,                              

Chauncey S. Baldwin,

John O. Hugemauch,               

John Osborne,

James B. Lines,                       

Albert H. Whaley,

Jacob A. Smith,                       

James R. Baker,

Henry Culver,                          

Horace M. Warner,

Timothy Blacken,                     

Geo. H. Howe, Sut. Clerk,

John Dugan,                            

Thomas G. Barnard,

Lyman A. Beach,                     

Emile Strily,

Joseph Hammond,                   

Edward A. Miller,

Charles F. Wade,                    

H. Ellsworth Hull,

Christian Miller,                       

Samuel U. White,

Henry E. Sperry,                     

Patrick Donnegan.

Edward W. Dudley,


The 15th Connecticut Regiment rendered most effectual aid in laying out bodies and preparing them for interment. In several families, where all who died were females, the soldiers of the Provost Guard were called upon. The extreme diligence of Captain Septimus S. Smith, in the performance of his duties as officer of the day was very efficient; a gentleman of unblemished character and refinement of mind. He and his brother officers and the members of

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the regiment, will be remembered with sincere regret by citizens of New Berne. In the early part of October, the 15th was relieved from provost duty by the colored troops, and retired from town to their barracks at the fortifications. Lieut. HATHAWAY, a meritorious young officer, on the staff of Gen. Palmer, commanding the District of North Carolina, must be included in our list of the departed.

A. D. C. to Brigadier-General Palmer,
Died in New Berne, of Yellow Fever,
October, 1864.

Among those who died in Beaufort, were the following:

John P. C. Davis, ----- Glenn, Mrs. S. Waid,
Capt. Sml. Howland, Dr. Babbitt, Miss M. Ramsey,
John Morgan, Thomas F. Brinn,  “ Ella Duncan,
Robert Handcock, B. Guthrie, “ Martha Morse,
William Marshal, John Cameron, “ Anna Gibbs,
----- Davis, John Phelps, Jr., John Sabiston,
Bryan Longherst,  Col. Emory, Charles Sabiston,
Josiah Pender, Mrs. Emory, Miss Veana Dill,
Henry C. Jones,  “ Noland, Mrs. Willis,
David Morse, Jr., “ B.C. Lowenburgh, Mr. Ballard,
Chapman Pierce, “ E. E. Bateman, Col. Scammon.
William Reed, Ruth Hatsel,  

We are indebted to Mr. James Osgood for the list of prominent persons interred by him.


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 August 21, 2018.

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