Letter informing mother that her surgeon son is likely a prisoner


Date Written

Sept. 4, 1864

George W. Hutchings was 34 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Maria Cooper, was 56 when it was received.

George W. Hutchings died 29 years, 6 months,
It was written 159 years, 29 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

178th Reg't New York Vols.
In camp near Memphis Tennessee

Mrs. Maria Cooper

Dear Madam,

Your letter of August 15th has been received and in reply to your anxious inquiries concerning your son, I would have to state that I have not left a stone unturned in trying to find out something of a definite character concerning the fate of your son, but up to the present date nothing has been heard from him or Dr. Garrison of 52nd India.

The surgeon of that Reg't thinks, I am sorry to tell you, the worst has happened to him. I do not think so serious a calamity has befallen them, it is my opinion they are both prisoners and are made to assist in the enemy's hospitals; as it is a well known fact that the rebel army are greatly in want of surgeons, the consequence is they keep all our surgeons.

Dr. Little of 24th Mo. was left behind after the battle of Tupelo to take care of some rebel wounded, it was expected that he would have reported to his reg't the next day but nothing has been heard of him since. As I said in my letter to Dr. Cooper's beloved wife--I think the three doctors are all together in some out of the way place where it is impossible for them to communicate with us.

I will, should we be so fortunate as to hear from them, let you know immediately. Your son was a gentleman I much esteemed and we generally got on together very well and I can assure you I deeply lament his loss, or I have missed him very much, but I hope and trust I may have the extreme pleasure of taking him by the hand once again. I know your feeling concerning his safety must be excruciating and painful to a tremendous extent.

Your son on the evening of his capture was in perfect health and spirits, in fact, never saw him so lively, he partook of a very healthy supper wished me a good night and said he would return at light on the following morning. He then mounted his horse and joined Dr. Garrison. They both galloped away talking and laughing merrily together, that was the last time I saw them. You now dear Madam know as much concerning your noble son as I do and am sorry I cannot give you more or better news of him but am in hopes I shall be able to do so.

I am Madam
Your Obed't Servant
George Hutchings
Hospital Steward

3 Brigade, 3rd Division
16th A. C. Memphis Tennessee

Scans of Letter