Clara Barton Museum


Brooklyn CD March 21

Miss Clara Barton

Dear Madam

My Son, Serg’t Adrian Vale of Co D, 176th NYSV. Was captured by an enemy at the battle of Cedar Creek on the nineteenth of Oct 1864,

We had tried in every way to learn at what Prison he was confined, That we might in some measure comfort him in his hours of suffering,

But the first we knew of him was to find his name among the dead of Salisbury N.C. The date of death, being the 18 of Nov, One month after his capture

I still cherish a hope, that this news may not prove true, will you aid me in ascertaining the truth of this report, and if true, something of his last days; or hours.  The natural longings of a mothers heart, to know something of her dear boy, who died in the hands of such an enemy, prompts me to write to a stranger Pardon the liberty.

I know that he was brave in battle, Oh! That I could know he was brave in the presence of the “grim monster death”, And that the Savior was with him, in the last conflict^ when away from home and mother,  If you can learn anything will you please communicate by letter, Or if you see any of the poor fellows that knew him in the prison and are coming this way to reach their home’s , If they would call at my home, I would be so thankful to them.   Or drop a line with their homes Then I would call on them Oh where would I go, to learn something of my dear boys last moments.

My dear Madam I beg you will excuse this sheet, written with a trembling hand, and blotted with my tears, This has been almost to much for me to do, But I felt I would ^ rather write myself, to you that ask another to write for me

Hoping that God will bless, and give you strength in your noble work, which you have for [done] those in distress and trouble.

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my ­­­­brethren ye have done it unto me”.

Yours with Respect,

Mrs. G. Vale,

10 South 6th Street,

Brooklyn, C.D.

Sergeant Adrian Vale (known as Edwin Vale in military documents) died as a POW in Salisbury, North Carolina on November 18, 1864. He is buried as an unknown in one of 18 mass grave trenches at Salisbury National Cemetery. 

The above letter is transcribed from the original in the Library of Congress.

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