Sep 22, 2012

J.R. Montgomery: A man, a war, a life given...

This picture came from here.

The year was 1864 and The Civil War waged on. He volunteered thinking that the war would be over quickly. Valiantly he fought for his country. A gun shot wound to the shoulder proved to be fatal.  As he lay dying he wrote a letter to his father. Blood dripped onto to the page as he penned his last words. 

Here is a copy of the letter that J.R. Montgomery wrote:

Spotsylvania County, Va. May 10

Dear Father

This is my last letter to you. I went into battle this evening as courier for Genl. Heth. I have been struck by a piece of shell and my right shoulder is horribly mangled & I know death is inevitable. I am very weak but I write to you because I know you would be delighted to read a word from your dying son. I know death is near, that I will die far from home and friends of my early youth but I have friends here too who are kind to me. My friend Fairfax will write you at my request and give you the particulars of my death. My grave will be marked so that you may visit it if you desire to do so, but it is optionary with you whether you let my remains rest here or in Miss. I would like to rest in the grave yard with my dear mother and brothers but it's a matter of minor importance. Let us all try to reunite in heaven. I pray my God to forgive my sins and I feel that his promises are true that he will forgive me and save me. Give my love to all my friends. My strength fails me. My horse and my equipments will be left for you. Again, a long farewell to you. May we meet in heaven.

Your dying son,

J.R. Montgomery

J.R. Montgomery would not die until 4 days later on the 14th of May. His friend Fairfax did indeed write to J.R. Montgomery's father and give detail of his death. They said his family was never able to find him and bring him back to Mississippi though they looked.


As I read this letter tears came to my eyes. He was only one man among thousands who gave their life to fight for their country.  I came across a movie called Death and the Civil War, which I feel is excellent on the subject of the Civil War and death. You can watch the entire film on line.  I learned so much watching it.