At the young age of 29 William McCormick had seen more than almost any of us today could imagine. As a member of the Pioneer Corps he tore down enemy fortification in the night, and by day built Union breastworks to protect his army. He was brave, and now he was gone. Someone had to tell Charlotte.
16th O.V.I. In Rear of Vicksburg, Mississippi – June 2nd, 1863
Miss Lottie McCormick,
With feelings of sadness mingled with pity, I have seated myself to inform you of the death of your husband, William McCormick.
He was, as you are aware, on “detached duty” with the Pioneer Corps for some time. Since our arrival here we have been engaged in erecting fortifications.
Last night we worked in close proximity to the Enemies works only 80 yards from one of their main forts. The night being very light – we were discovered, and fired on by the Enemy who were concealed in their entrenchments. In the 2nd or 3rd volley William received a mortal wound – the ball entering near the lower extremity of the right lung and passing out just below the left shoulder blade. He also received a buck shot in the right arm just below the elbow. I was near him at the time he was wounded and helped to carry him off the field. He was wounded a few minutes before 12 o’clock and died about one. He remained conscious until a few moments before his death.
In reply to my interrogations as to what word he wished to send home – he requested me to tell his “companion” and friends that he died for his Country. He also requested me to retrieve his pocket book trinkets and send them home, and finally he entreated us, his messmates, to bury him decently all of which requests shall be fulfilled. His pocket book contains twenty eight dollars. I will send this to you with other things with Mr. Garret Dorland whom he gave sixty five dollars a few days since. It will be left with R. R. Donnelly of Wooster.
In conclusion let me say that William McCormick as a soldier has always been punctual and faithful in the discharge of his duties. As an associate, he was respected and beloved by all who knew him. In his death, his comrades loose a cheerful, kind-hearted messmate – his Country, a brave and true Patriot – his consort, a noble husband – and his children, a fond and indulgent father.
With warmest sympathy for self and children and with an ardent hope that kind heaven may enable you to bear this sad calamity with Christian patience and resignation, I subscribe myself,
Cyrus B. Anderson
(In honor of those who shaped me, and in conjunction with the 2012 Republican National Convention which I am fortunate enough to be able to attend, each evening I will post a blog about my convention experiences, and each morning I will post a personal family document or historical story which will help you understand what makes me tick. If you read all the historical posts, the last day, I promise you, you will feel the gratitude I do for our patriots who sacrificed their lives and fortunes for our freedoms.)