4 July 1863
Cedar Grove, Wisconsin U.S.A.:
It is a sad and somber duty which leads me to write you on what should be a joyful anniversary of our nations birth. But write you I must, for I made a solemn vow to your son Max that I would do so.
Regrettably, and with a heavy heart, I must inform you that your son Max, age 12, a private, serving with Battery B of the Fourth United States Artillery, was mortally wounded while performing his duty in the recently concluded fight with Confederate forces here at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
He was struck down by a musket ball soon after the fighting had commenced, just west of the town on the first day of July, as his battery endeavored to impede the Confederate advance. The Battery was deployed near a ridge, along the Chambersburg Pike, among a lovely set of woods owned by a Mr. McPherson of this town.
I saw him fall, while in every way doing his duty, despite the great danger to which he was exposed. Never once did he bemoan his fate. Never once did he complain as he lay on the field. His only thoughts at the end were of you, his mother, and of his God. You should know that he bore the necessary suffering manfully, and with great courage for one so young. It may be of some small comfort to you to know that as death claimed him he had the consolation offered by a chaplain, a humble servant of our Lord and Savior. I only hope I was able to offer him some small comfort myself, staying with him until the end. A field surgeon was kind enough to supply him with a draught to ease his suffering. I am convinced he did not suffer unduly.
You may be hearing or already have heard from Maxs commanding officer, a Captain Stewart of the Federal First Corps artillery. He has promised to send along those personal effects which your son carried with him. If I can be of any further service do not hesitate to write me at any time or call upon me. You may send communications to me via letter or by wire at the New York Times Newspaper, Printing House Square, New York City, New York.
I am your most humble and servant,