1862: Charles Martin Deitz to Emily Ryner

This letter was written by Rev. Charles Martin Deitz (1830-1905), the son of a Philadelphia comb maker named Peter Deitz (1804-1869) and his wife Caroline Beck (1810-1878). Charles married Elizabeth Potts (1840-1931) in 1862.

At the time this letter was written in 1862, Charles was the pastor of the Baptist Church in Upper Freehold, New Jersey (1858-1866). In the 1880’s he served as the pastor of the Baptist Church at Prospect Hill, Pennsylvania and at the First Baptist Church in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Rev. Deitz wrote the letter to Emily Ryner, the aunt and adopted mother of Alfred McClay (1846-1863), a private in Co. E, 114th Pennsylvania (Collis’ Zouaves). Alfred was received a gunshot wound to the right thorax during the Battle of Fredericksburg. The wound was initially characterized as “slight” and it was presumed by all that he would recover. He was sent to Harewood Hospital outside of Washington D. C. where he seemed to improve but periodic episodes of bleeding prompted the attending physician to attempt the removal of one of Alfred’s ribs. He died not long afterwards on 24 January 1863.

TRANSCRIPTION

Washington [D. C.]
December 18th 1862

Mrs. Ryner,

Yesterday while visiting the wounded from Fredericksburg on a boat just arrived here, I met Alfred McClay who wanted me to inform you of his having received a slight flesh wound in the right side. The wound is not dangerous and he is doing well and is in good spirits.

Yours respectfully, — Charles M. Deitz

He was sent to one of the hospitals here and will let you know which one when he gets settled.

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