Edwin V. Sumner


from The New York Times, March 29, 1863:
    The Last Sickness of Gen. Sumner--His Dis-
                      ease.
  From the Syracuse Journal, Saturday, March 21.
  The particulars of Gen. SUMNER's last illness and
death are briefly as follows: He reached his home in
this city, from Washington, on Friday, the 13th inst.--
a week ago yesterday--having just received from the
President an appointment to the Department of the
West, and intended early this week to take his
departure for his headquarters, at St. Louis.
On Sunday last he attended church, and
appeared to be in his usual good health. The
next morning, about 2 o'clock, he was taken with
a high fever, which appeared to be the result of a
cold. A physician (Dr. TROWBRIDGE) was called, and
at the patient's request, mild remedies were adminis-
tered to him, so that he might not be prevented from
making his intended journey. The next day (Tues-
day) his condition was such that his physician put him
under vigorous medical treatment. On that day,
the succeeding day, (Wednesday,) and even as
late as Thursday,Gen. SUMNER daily expressed
his determination to proceed to St. Louis, and but for
the absolute refusal of his physician to permit it, he
would have undertaken the journey. On Thursday
noon, he directed that a special car be procured for
him and the members of his Staff, and that rooms be
ordered by telegraph for him that night at Buffalo. It
was while endeavoring to convince his family that
he had the strength to stand the ride by railroad to
Buffalo, by walking several times across the
hall adjacent to his room, that he took the
additional cold which developed his disease
into a severe attack of congestion of the lungs,
which terminated fatally in thirty-six hours after-
ward. He felt that it was imperatively necessary
that he should be in St. Louis at once, and in his en-
deavor to discharge what he considered a high duty
to his coutry, he sacrificed his life. The responsi-
bility which he attached to his entering upon his new
command immediately, grew out of the peculiar
circumstances under which it was conferred upon
him. His appointment to the Department of
the West was asked of the President by Attorney-
General BATES, the Senators and Representatives in
Congress from Missouri, and the civil authorities of
that State, in the belief that his presence in command
there would restore confidence among the entire peo-
ple of the State, that the farmers would this Spring
resume their usual avocations, and that the blessings
of peace and prosperity would be again reinstated.
  When Gen. SUMNER's disease assumed the form of
congestion of the lungs, his physicians (Drs. TROW-
BRIDGE and SHIPMAN) pronounced his condition criti-
cal, but they did not despair of restoration to
health until Friday afternoon, about 2 o'clock,
when a great change took place--his fever
left him and he suffered intense physical
agony, accompanied by profuse perspiration; and
soon he sank into a lethargic state from which he did
not rally. Toward evening of Friday, the dying sol-
dier attempted vainly to speak intelligibly to those
about him. At last, when a glass of wine was handed
him, he took it in his hand, and with a great effort
waved it above his head, and spoke in a voice as
clear as ever, "God save my country, the United States
of America." These were the last words of the pa-
triot hero. He sank rapidly until a quarter past 1
o'clock, and died peacefully.
  Gen. SUMNER was a native of Boston, Mass., and was
in his sixty-seventh year. He spent his entire active
life in the service of his country. His family con-
sistes of his wife, who survives him, four daughters,--
Mrs. JENKINS, Mrs. Col. TEALL, Mrs. Col. LONG and
Mrs. Col. McLEAN,--and two sons, E.V. SUMNER, Jr.,
Major on Gen. STONEMAN's staff, and SAMUEL SUMNER,
Captain on his father's staff, both of whom are in the
regular army.


Maintained by Sue Greenhagen.
E-mail: greenhsh@morrisville.edu