This weekend, between the picnics and games of horseshoes and badminton, we hope you’ll join us at ICDevos in remembering the ultimate sacrifices made by our soldiers in times of war—and by the family members who survived that loss.
In honor of both today’s holiday and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we’d like to share an excerpt from Jocelyn Green’s book, just released: Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front.
There was rarely a family in the North or the South, who did not lose at least one loved one due to illness or injury during the Civil War. In November 1862, an Iowa woman learned from a single letter that her husband, father, and brother had all been killed.
South Carolina’s Mary Chestnut knew a woman whose sick child died just before she learned that her husband had also died at war. “She did not utter one word. She remained quiet so long, someone removed the light shawl which she had drawn over her head. She was dead . . . Grief and anxiety kill nearly as many women as men die on the battlefield.” While Mary overestimated the number of home-front deaths from grief and anxiety, she surely felt surrounded by loss. Her diary included long lists of deaths of both soldiers and women at home.
One wife in the North had the awful task of informing her soldier husband, a patient in a Cairo, Illinois, hospital, that their two children, ages three and five, had both died. She hid her own grief in an effort to console her husband:
I do not feel that we have lost our children, they are ours still, and will be ours forever. Their brief life was all sunshine, and by their early departure they are spared all experience of sorrow and wrong. They can never know the keen heartache that you and I must suffer at their loss. It must be well with them . . .And some time, my dear Harry, we shall rejoin them. I sometimes fear, my darling, that you may meet them before I shall. . . Oh, my dear Harry, do not mourn too much!
Harry did mourn too much, despite his wife’s tender entreaty. The nurse found him dead, holding the letter and photos of his children. It fell to the nurse, Mary Livermore, to write to his wife and tell her. The correspondence between the two women stretched over the next three years, during which the bereaved woman often said, “I sometimes believe the children needed him more than I.”79
This woman faced unfathomable loss, yet she clung to the hope believers have of meeting again in heaven.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that death is not the end! I rejoice in your resurrection hope.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” ~1 Corinthians 15:55
Jocelyn Green, the wife of a former Coast Guard officer, is an award-winning author, freelance writer and editor. Along with contributing writers, she is the author of Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (Moody 2008), and its sequel, Faith Deployed . . . Again (Moody 2011). She is also co-author of Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq/Afghanistan (AMG Publishers 2009) and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (AMG Publishers, April 2012). Her first novel, Wedded to War, is a Civil War historical and will release from Moody Publishers in July 2012. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com and follow her at www.facebook.com/jocelyngreenauthor .