WILSON – In Huntington, Jan. 11th, 1865, of camp fever, Reuben Wilson, of Company F, 7th Regiment, P.R.V.C.
Reuben Wilson was born in Huntington, Luzurne County, and at the early age of manhood was as fine, as noble a youth as ever trod the soil of Pennsylvania. He was active and industrious by profession a student; was truly loved by all who knew him – ‘none knew him but to love him.’ He was the hope of a fond mother and father, the pride of two loving sisters, and the companion of a kind brother. In June the 13th, 1861, there was an urgent call for more soliders to defend our flag and country’s rights. His true patriotism led him with others to put his name upon the list as one who would stand up for the dear old flag, or fighting for it die.
So he left his home, his all, and with tears in his eyes bade us a long, lingering farewell, and feeling that he was in the path of duty, regretted not the step he was taking. He passed through all the hardships of a soldier’s life. Battle after battle he fought in, and through the mercy of one who ‘noteth even the fall of a sparrow,’ he came out unhurt. But the tide of fortune turned at last. At the battle of the Wilderness (of which you all undoubtedly remember), on the 5th of May, 1864, he, with many others of our brave boys, fell into the hands of those most miserable of beings, the rebels, and were marched to Orange Court House. On May 5th took the cars for Gordonsville. From thence were moved from place to place, and on Sunday, 22nd, landed at Andersonville, Ga. Remained there, suffering everything but death, until Tuesday, Sept. 13th, when they were removed to Florence, S. C. During his imprisonment several of his comrades died, viz:-Jasper Steele, who died the 13th of June; Bryant Morton, August 1st; Earl Tubbs, August 20th; A. C. Smith, Sept. 5th; Jesse Culver, Sept. 11th; Wesley Hoyt, Nov. 5th; William Lape, Nov. 23rd; Henderson Bonham.
He remained at Florence until Dec. 11th, when he was paroled and arrived at Annapolis, Md., the 19th. Received a furlough for thirty days the 25th[?], and arrived at home on the 27th. None can imagine, and my pen fails to describe, with what pleasure he was welcomed home again. How the hearts of all rejoiced when we looked upon his face once more. On Thursday, 29th, he was taken sick. A physician was called immediately, but he was not considered dangerous. He still kept growing worse, sinking bydeerees[?], until Tuesday after New Year, his mind began to wander, and he became irrational and remained so until about an hour before he died. Another physician was called, but ‘twas too late – all, earthly and was of no avail. On Wednesday evening, the 11th, about an hour before he expired, he opened his eyes and seemed conscious that he was dying, and said to those around, “Good bye – Good bye all.” Shorter and shorter grew his breath, fainter and fainter, the beat of his pulse, and with a few short struggles, gasps for breath, his eyes closed in death and his spirit departed to Him who gave it. Thus he passed from life unto death, and another victim was added to this unholy rebellion. How cruel, how heart-rending the thought! After a captivity of seven long months then came home and in so short a time must die. Fond mother, one consolation – he was cared for during his sickness, and his every want was administered to. Instead of a board his head rested upon a soft pillow, and your hand soothed his dying pillow. Sisters wiped from off the cold damp brow the death sweats that rested there, and now you know that he is sleeping his last long sleep among his own “native hills” instead of those hundreds of miles away, where naught but strangers would visit his grave, if per chance he had any.
Lightly, lightly may the turf rest upon that noble soldier’s grave, and may his friends long live to remember him as one of our country’s patriots.
Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.