By Millicent Hughes
Real nice to see you this morning, sir.
Haven’t seen you since … well, you know…. My own boy, Clarkie, Clark Hamilton … fallen like a leaf from a tree. Well, our boy, our Danbury boy, ain’t that right, sir?
Yes, the pain of his death has worn off a bit, thanks for asking. The official notice was just a deadly shock. But since I got that letter from Richmond, the real letter, from that officer, I truly do feel better.
A thinkin’ person wants an explanation, you know. Just some answer as to how a little wound ends up to kill a man when doctors do battlefield amputations and the men live. ‘Course, I s’pose all the docs nurse them officers like they was Queen Victoria, don’t you think?
Died real noble in battle, you say? That idea might satisfy some, but it didn’t satisfy me! I wanted the real truth and nothin’ but the truth. I knew my boy was not a victim of another young man, a boy with a gun just like his’n. I wasn’t turnin’ a blind eye with some twisted idea of ‘glory in the grave.’
What say? Oh, what you heard is true, all right. Clarkie was wounded at Cedar Creek there in Virginia. but it ain’t where he died nor what he died of. Not by a long shot. I had the report he was taken to Richmond, so he must have come off pretty good to survive the battle and go on the cars to that prison.
No, that ain’t a tear! Why you think that, hey? No, sirree, bob!
Say, rather than tell you about it, I’ll let you read that letter for yourself. I carry it in my billfold. Nice enough that that officer cared to send it, let alone tell his mother and me the actual fact of the matter. Here, did you want to see it?
No, don’t refuse like that, sir. It ain’t real personal, like you say. I want to publish this letter to the world. That’s why I carry it ever’wheres. I want to show people that ain’t a drop of humanity in them Confederationist devils. Why the decent population down south don’t riot agin ‘em, I don’t know.
And one man dared to tell me the truth. He wrote me this letter, sir, namin’ it plain. My son, Clark Hamilton, met with murder, murder by starvation. Starvation by the fools in them Confederate states.
No, that officer din’t have nothin’ to do with our boys, just happened to be there is all.
I’m sorry you ain’t got the courage to read it. I’ll just put it back in my moneyfold for anyone who’s interested. P’rfaps next time you’ll see fittin’ to take a look.
Nice seein’ you again, sir.