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Joseph E. Shaw Collection
38th New York Volunteer Infantry
joseph Shaw Letter 29
Donated by Robert Gritman

                                                                                                David’s Island L. I. Sound
                                                                                                July 19th 1862

Dear Ed,

            You will no doubt be surprised at receiving a letter from me from this place, but I am at present staying on the island, as I wrote you last Tuesday I could not get Joe, and I thought I would be able to get him on Friday but when I came up he was so low that he could not be moved.  His disease declared itself on last Monday –it is Typhoid Fever-.   Part of the time it is accompanied by dysentery.  He is very weak and low.  He has been out of his mind now for 3 days past.  I have received permission to stay on the Island and nurse him.  His fever is worse from sundown until sunrise than it is through the day.  He is perfectly delirious all night and it is all that I can do to keep him in bed.  The night before last (Thursday night) the men in the tent took turns in watching at his bedside.  The night watches talked of tying him down he was so bad, but I got along with him very well since I have been here.   There was some ladies on the Island yesterday and they gave me a jar of current jelly and a jar of calves foot jelly, some farina, beef tea, a bouquet of flowers, & some handkerchiefs for him.  One of them took a decided interest in him.  She has six sons of her own.  She says that Joe is a very interesting boy.  I have promised that Joe will pay here a visit when he is well and thank her for her kindness.  You must manage some way to keep Mother from coming down here.  The Dr. says the fever  will last 40 days, and then it may be 2 or 3 months before he recovers his strength and now there are no more furloughs to be granted to any of the patients under any consideration.  You can tell Mother if you like that I will stay here with him as long as he is sick, and possibly by the time the fever breaks the Dr. will be allowed to give him a furlough.  I can not get much satisfaction from the Dr. as to the danger of Joe, but if it should so chance that he gets worse than he is now, I will telegraph to you from New Rochelle, (at present I believe there is no danger and he may get along first rate.  If Mother should see him now it would make her sick and there is no place here for her if that should happen and if it did not she would have to come down and stay over night in the city so as to get a pass from the Q. M. Gen’s. office and then come up on the Govt. Boat and then stay only 2 or 3 hours before she would have to leave again.  I will do all that she could do for him in the way of nursing, and if Joe should see her and recognize her, it would only make him desirous of going home with her, and that will not be allowed.  I will write as often as possible and give you all the particulars.  Joe received a letter from you yesterday but I do not think he was conscious of it.  I have put it away for him.  Give our love to all Mother, Gus, Julia Lucinda &etc.

                                    Yours as Ever
                                    Geo & Joseph 


New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: October 17, 2011

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