Heroes of Albany - Arthur Haswell
ARTHUR HASWELL, OF WATERVLIET.
Arthur Haswell was born in the town of Schoharie, Schoharie county, June 14, 1838, and was the sixth of a family of eight children. His parents were Joseph A., son of Arthur Haswell, of Watervliet, and Frances, daughter of Michael Freligh, M. D., also of Watervliet, Albany county.
Inheriting from his futher an unbending integrity and intense love of country, he felt, from the beginning of the war, the injustice of the foes who had plotted the overthrow of the government, and he longed to engage at once in the conflict. Duties at home prevented this; but, as regiment after regiment took the held, the subject of his going was still renewed. His father gave, at length, the son on whom he leaned the most, to his country, and he enlisted as a private soldier in Company B, One Hundred and Seventy-seventh Regiment, at Albany, October 21, 1862.
He suffered much in the change of climate and hardships to which that regiment was subjected. At the time of their first active service, he was too ill to go with them, and felt keenly the deprivation. He mentions, in a letter to his mother, the last he ever wrote, that it was a hard sight for those who were left, to see the regiment go to its first active service without them, and hoped she would not think he had been unfaithful to his duty.
His family, who knew him best, in a home where much was required of him, cherish his memory as a son and brother of more than ordinary purity and faithfulness. Shielded by Divine Providence from temptation, in the comparative seclusion of a country home, he bore an unexceptionable moral character, and, during his short stay in the army, won the respect of both officers and men. Although he lacked the buoyant temperament so necessary to the soldier, he was faithful and enduring, and, in his letters home, which were frequent, never complained of the hardships of army life.
An incident which occurred at the time of his leaving, will serve to show his decision of character. He was packing his knapsack for the last time, when he playfully remarked to his sister that the canteen was intended for liquor, and asked if he should take it. She replied that it was best to do so, it might be necessary to life in case of being wounded and without help. His manner instantly changed, and in a firm, decided tone he said, "I will not take it."
His last illness was typhoid fever, and he was confined to the hospital three weeks previous to his death. On the afternoon of the 20th of April, his cousin, who was in the regiment, visited him, to whom he gave his Bible, pocket dialy, and some pressed flowers, for his friends at home. This was his last interview with him. lie was at that time cheerful, but did not expect to recover. He read his Bible much while in the hospital, and it is hoped that from its sacred pages he learned to trust Him who can save at the eleventh hour.
He died during the night of the 21st of April, 1863, and was buried at Bonnet Carre. His remains were afterwards brought home, and now repose in the Albany Cemetery.
The following is an extract from a letter written by Adjutant Strong, to his mother, April 21, 1863:
"In my letter to you of April 19th, I mentioned that Arthur Haswell, of Company B, was quite sick, and that I feared he would not recover. I am deeply pained to inform you that he died last night. We did not suppose he was so near his end. From the first, however, he seemed to give up, and it seemed as though he could not rally. Every attention was paid to him, but it was all of no avail. I trust and believe that he is gone to a better land, and that his spirit is now in heaven."
The following letter is from Captain Merrihew to Arthur's sister:
Bonnet Carre, La., April 23, 1863.
Miss Anna Haswell:
Dear Friend — The circumstances under which I now address you are painful to me, while to you they will be doubly so. It devolves upon me to connnunicate to you the sad intelligence of the death of your brother Arthur. He died in hospital yesterday morning, April the 21st, 1863, about two o'clock, of general debility. He was without any apparent disease until a dav or two previous to his death, when he was attacked with diphtheria, which has proved so fatal with us. We did not consider him dangerously ill until he was attacked with diphtheria, when he commenced to fail very rapidly; and all the skill of our physicians here, could afford no relief, and he has gone to return to us no more forever.
"He who docth all things well," has seen fit, in His infinite mercy, to take him away; and while it may seem hard that yon should be called to mourn the loss of one so young, and full of promise, and so far from friends and loved ones at home; yet you have the comfortable assurance, that he has gone to that better world, where sickness nor sorrows ever come.
You will please accept the heartfelt sympathies of the company of which I now have the command, and of which Arthur was a most worthy and esteemed member, I can assure you that your brother had, while associated with us here, by his virtuous conduct, and his many amiable qualities, endeared himself to us all; and we feel that the place now made vacant in our ranks by his death, we may never expect to fill again.
I am very respectfully, your friend,
E. H. MERRIHEW,
Capt. Co. B. l77th N. Y. S. V.