[Imagine the stress of this situation occurring just a little over one month since their own daughter Bonnie had died on April 1st... Then on June 5, Charles' brother Col Richard Henry Brewer CSA, age 30 died at Piedmont Va. And in October, Charles' father had died. It must have seemed as if the world was falling apart, and I sometimes wonder how they stood it all.]
Flora's arrival in Richmond 11:30 PM "More than three hours later Flora arrived in the wagon. One who rode with her wrote: 'A certain quiet resting on all about the house instantly impressed them, and words were not necessary to convey to the...wife the sad intelligence.' Flora's children were taken by quick hands, and she was soon alone with him in candlelight, the pale image she had so long held in her mind's eye. Despite stunning grief, perhaps it did not seem so strange to her. She had feared it from the start, and had read it in almost every line of his letters, in the war and in the long-gone days of Indian raids on the frontier. Others tried to help. Her sister Maria snipped off a lock of the red-golden hair from Jeb's head, tied it with a ribbon and thrust it into an envelope." Burke Davis Jeb Stuart The Last Cavalier p 412 - 419
So after only nine years of marriage to Jeb, Flora at age 28 became a widow. And although this was a painful moment for her, she was lucky to have the support of her sister, brother-in-law, and close friends at this crucial moment. Better a situation like this than to have him die miles away alone on a battlefield. So, despite Jeb's wishes, she was to wear black for the rest of her life.
1864 May 12 Thursday Anita Withers's Diary: "... Poor Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was wounded on the 11th, and died on the 12th May. I feel so much for his poor wife."
1864 May 13 Jeb Stuart's Funeral The sounds of cannon fire and fighting at Drewry's Bluff could be heard as the procession bearing the metal coffin drew up at St. James Church at about 5 o'clock. Burke Davis wrote: "There was no music on the streets, and no military escort, since the Public Guard was in the field." Jeb was buried in Hollywood Cemetery, a young man who had predicted his death on the battlefield and who fully embraced life despite, or possibly because of, a feeling that every moment counted.
1864 John Esten Cooke, after Jeb Stuart's death, retired from cavalry service and became an aide on the staff of General Pendleton.
1864 June 1-3 Cold Harbor Virginia . John Rogers Cooke was there with Cooke's Brigade.
1864 June 25 Death of Col. Richard Henry Brewer age 30 [Dr. Charles Brewer's younger brother by two years]. He died in battle at Piedmont, Virginia, 3 months before his father died in the North. He was a West Point graduate and a Major in the US Army. In 1858 he was in California with 1st US Dragoons and on July 1st of that year he resigned his commission and joined the CSA.
1864 June 15-18 Petersburg Virginia. John Rogers Cooke was with Cooke's Brigade as part of Heth's Division.
1864 Sept 19 During the Battle of Winchester Va, Jacob Sharpe was wounded. The 156th New York Infantry Brigade, known as the "Mountain Legion" had been ordered to Virginia. The Battle of Winchester, because of its size, intensity and result, has been considered by some to be the most important conflict of this particular campaign. Col. Sharpe, who was in command of the brigade at Winchester, received a gunshot wound in the left groin and was treated at the hospital in Harpers Ferry Virginia.
1864 Oct 16 Death of Nicholas Brewer, age 68. Father of Dr. Charles Brewer. Nicholas Brewer was a staunch Unionist and a prominent citizen in Annapolis Maryland. At the time of his death he was alienated from his three sons who enlisted with the CSA.His other sons were on the side of the Union.
The following letter between Charles and his brother Nicholas, courtesy of John Eldridge, is a poignant glimpse into what it must have been like for many divided families during the war.
Nov 7th 1864
N. Brewer Jr.
My dear brother.
"On my return to Richmond from an official visit of inspection to the South, I find your two letters of Sept 29th and Oct 10th by flag of truce awaiting me. The condition of our dear father deeply moves me and I feel an indescribable longing to be by his side and to do for him and share with you those sad duties which during this mournful war it has been so often my lot to perform yet it can only happen to us once to lose a parent.
Blow after blow from the rod of affliction has almost overturned the foundations of my nature. Still I am sustained and whilst in deep gloom at the sad news you tell, rejoice with joy unspeakable that he, the dearest of all on earth to us, looks to Christ as his redeemer.
Our necessary separation has been a bitter cup to me, but I look forward to a happier & an abiding reunion above.
... Wife is further south, well, cheerful & with kind friends, her condition required her to leave the excitement of this noisy city. [Their daughter Maria Cooke Brewer was born on May 26th 1865. So it is possible that, because of her "condition" she was spared living through the fall of Richmond on April 2nd. Anita Withers, who gave birth to her daughter Josaphine on Sept 7, 1865, also left Richmond for a period of time as well.] ...My health is much improved.
Kiss my dear father should he be alive. This from lips that have never ceased to pray for him, this love from a heart whose filial affection for him has never waned. I commit him & all I love to God who careth for us.
Your affectionate brother.
1864 Nov 15 Marriage Julia Turner Cooke and Jacob Sharpe at Trinity Chapel in New York City. The Cookes attended the wedding. Also present was Charles Sutherland, Surgeon General of the USA — a friend and relative on the Brewer side of the family. It is likely that after their wedding, Julia and Jacob lived in New York until 1880. Rachel is listed as being in New York on December 28th of that year according to the disbursement from her mother’s estate.
Jan. 25, 1865 A letter from Brig. Gen. Philip St. George Cooke, New York City, to Ulysses S. Grant.
"I have two daughters, one a widow, with infant children suffering for clothing--I propose
sending them a box, of two cubic feet or less, containing clothing and nothing other,
contraband, on honor: unless letters of affection only, from their mother (?). The box to be sent
to you, from PSGC';--with the request that you have it marked 'For Mrs Charles Brewer or Mrs
J. E. B. Stuart; care of _______' -- Genl. Lee or Mr. Ould; by flag of truce. My feelings & strong
motive must be my only justification, for attempting thus to trouble you, & to consume even a
moment of your so valuable time. (Such things, I know, have been allowed.) An Aide, D. C. can write me if you approve & assent."
As printed in John Y. Simon, ed., The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, vol. 13 (Carbondale and Edwardsville, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1967- ), p. 523. ALS, DNA, RG 108, Miscellaneous Papers.
1865 March 4 President Lincoln was inaugurated for a second term.
1865 March 13 Philip St. George Cooke was brevetted a major general "for gallant and meritorious services during the war". Col Sharpe was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers for gallantry and meritorious service. (Brevet is a rank granted for a great deed but without the pay raise or all the functions of the rank.)
1865 April 2 Anita Withers's Diary: "Sunday we went to Church, the Capt. went to Mr. Grant's farm afterwards. About two o'clock in the day Mr. Myers came around to Mrs. Nelson to inform the Capt. that Richmond was to be evacuated that afternoon. Gen. Lee telegraphed Mr. Davis that the Yankees had broken through his lines in two different places and he feared would be compelled to give up Richmond & Petersburg. My husband did not return from the country until about 5 1/2, he left me about seven & half. The President, Cabinet and all the officers belonging to the different departments started on the Cars for Danville, Va. expecting to remain some there and defend that country. My Husband sometimes advised me to go to North Carolina or some other part of the Confederacy, but I refused, believing it best to remain in Richmond, thinking it would be the easiest way I could reach my home. I never spent two such nights in my life as I did the one of the evacuation and the one following, such fright, anxiety and dread I never before experienced. I felt sick for a week afterwards."
1865 April 2 Richmond - As the Confederate soldiers left, buildings were burned, mobs roamed the streets looting and destroying property. And although the Virginia State House survived with little damage, newspaper offices, banks, and churches were set on fire and destroyed. A Northern reporter wrote "...In short, Secession was burnt out, and the city purified as far as fire could accomplish it." The next day on April 3 the 81st New York raised the U.S. flag over one of the South's most notorious prisoner compounds.
1865 April Anita Withers's Diary notes: The Yankees came into Richmond about nine O'clock in the morning.
Gen. Lee surrendered his army on the ninth of April, we Southerners could scarcely believe it possible.
1865 April 4- Lincoln visited Richmond.
1865 April 9 Appomattox Lee surrendered to Grant at the court house.
John Rogers Cooke age 31, who had been wounded seven times during the war, was there with Cooke's Brigade as part of Heth's Division. According to The History of Co. D 27 NCT Tuckahoe Braves by Paul Laurent, "The regiment ended the War with one of thebest reputations of the Army of Northern Virginia, which had a lot of good reputations." http://www.angelfire.com/nc/twsj/TuckahoeBraves.html
John Esten Cooke age 34, was inspector-general of the horse artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia.
He surrendered with Lee's army and on being paroled, returned to his estate in Clark Co. and resumed his literary work, including biographies of General Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Family legend has it that he buried silver spurs at Appomattox to keep them from the enemy.
Dr. Charles Brewer age 32 and now a Surgeon-General, "Was charged with the duty of transferring to the Federal authorities the eight thousand sick and wounded (supplied with rations and medicines) left in the hospitals of Richmond. He was one of the inspectors who, appreciating the intense, but under the circumstances unavoidable, sufferings of the prisoners of war and the incapacity of the Confederate authorities to feed and care for the immense bodies of men thrown upon their hands by the abandonment of the cartel, recommended, as was acceded to, their unconditional return to the Federal government. During the prevalence of the war he lost by death both parents, an only child, two brothers fallen in front of the battle, and a brother-in-law, the distinguished General James E.B. Stuart, leader of the Confederate Cavalry of Lee's army." 1896 Biographical Review for Cumberland Co. NJ
Jacob Sharpe age 29, who had been breveted brigadier general of the US Volunteers for "gallant and meritorious service at the battle of Winchester Virginia on March 13th, was there with his unit, the 156th NY Infantry, known as "The Mountain Legion". In May, he returned to Savannah, and the regiment continued to serve in that vicinity until finally mustered out under Col Sharpe, on Oct 23, 1865 at Augusta Georgia.
He was honorably discharged at Augusta, on November 1865 as "Colonel of said regiment in the War of the Rebellion". members.aol.com/DAP4477575/156th.html
How young they were, and the emotional aftereffects they experienced from the Civil War must have been horrendous.
1865 April 14 Abraham Lincoln age 56, was assassinated at Ford's Theater in Washington by John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln died the next day, and on April 21 his funeral train left Washington. I believe Philip St. George Cooke was one of the honor guards.
1865 June 23 The final battle of the Civil War. Due to rebellious spirits and the lack of mass communication, some battles continued after Appomattox ending finally with the surrender of the Cherokee chief, Brigadier General Stand "stand firm" Watie and his American Indian cavalry made up mostly of Cherokee, Creek and Seminole, at Fort Towson in Indian Territory (Now Southeast Oklahoma in Choctaw County) becoming the last Confederate general in the field to stand down. April 1865 by Jay Winikp. 323
Many of the men who fought in the Civil War went west, opening up that period of time which formed the basis of much of our Western movies and mythology.
New Zealand 2009