Death of a Hero

waltwhitman-1851bI wonder if I could ever convey to another–to you, for instance, Reader dear–the tender and terrible realities of such cases, (many, many happen’d,) as the one I am now going to mention……..Stewart C. Glover, Co. E., Fifth Wisconsin–was wounded, May 5, in one of those fierce tussles of the Wilderness–died May 21–aged about 20. (He was a small and beardless young man–a splendid soldier–in fact, almost an ideal American, of common life, of his age. He had serv’d nearly three years, and would have been entitled to his discharge in a few days. He was in Hancock’s Corps.)……..The fighting had about ceas’d for the day, and the General commanding the brigade rode by and call’d for volunteers to bring in the wounded. Glover responded among the first–went out gayly–but while in the act of bearing in a wounded sergeant to our lines, was shot in the knee by a rebel sharpshooter. Consequence, amputation and death……..He had resided with his father, John Glover, an aged and feeble man, in Batavia, Genesee Co., N. Y., but was at school in Wisconsin, after the War broke out, and there enlisted–soon took to soldier-life, liked it, was very manly, was belov’d by officers and comrades……..He kept a little diary, like so many of the soldiers. On the day of his death he wrote the following in it:

a Union hospital

a Union hospital

To-day, the doctor says I must die–all is over with me–ah, so young to die. On another blank leaf he pencill’d to his brother, Dear brother Thomas, I have been brave, but wicked–pray for me.



from Memoranda During the War, by Walt Whitman, 1875

About Meg Thompson

CW Historian
This entry was posted in Armies, Battles, Books & Authors, Civil War Events, Civilian, Common Soldier, Medical, Memory, Personalities and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Death of a Hero

  1. Phil Leigh says:

    Consider the following episode at Richmond’s Chimborazo hospital recorded by nurse Phoebe Pember.

    A 20 year-old wounded soldier who had become a favorite of the nurses was healing until a sharp edge of fractured bone grew into an artery. Pember arrived at his bedside, applied pressure with her finger to stop the bleeding, and sent for a doctor. When the doctor arrived and examined the wound he explained nothing could be done to save the boy who had passed-out.

    Pember kept her finger on the artery until the soldier awoke and explained the dilemma. He gave her instructions about how to notify his family and what to say. When he finished they looked at each other a few moments. Eventually he said, “You can let go.”

    But Pember could not will herself let go. She tightened her grip until — for the only time in her four years at Chimborazo — she “fainted away.”*


    *Pember, Phoebe Yates, “A Southern Woman’s Story” (in the public domain at the link below)

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