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An Ancestor's Demise - L. D. Groce of the Forty-First Georgia

1862 Confederate Infantryman - Dan Nance

Lewis Dudley Groce was living in Carroll County, Georgia when he enlisted on March 4, 1862, as a second sergeant in Company G of the Forty-First Georgia Infantry (carried on the roster as Grace). Born approximately in 1827, Groce married Melindah Jane Boyd in November 1845 and in 1850 the couple were living in Meriweather County but would move to Carroll County some time before 1860, settling in the Villa Rica District. The marriage would produce at least ten children, probably one of the reasons why Lewis did not initially join the Confederate Army in 1861. But by late spring 1862 the Conscription Act was enticing men to join the ranks before they were drafted, and for either this reason or others unknown Groce joined the Forty-First. There were four other Groce (Grace) men on the rolls of the Forty-First, some were most likely relatives of Lewis.

The letter that follows was written by Moses G. Herrin, a member of Company A. A resident of Coweta County, Herrin also enlisted on March 4, 1862.

Columbus, Mississippi May 2nd 1862

Mrs. Melindah Groce

Dear Madam,

It is with the deepest regret that I attempt to write to you, yet a sense of duty prompts me to act thus. also a direct request made by your husband L. D. Groce.

I will here state that L. D. had been taken with diaroea near two weeks since and while under that he was taken with the measles, and after they had been broke out on him one night and day. There was an order issued by the General, to move all the sick to this place. It is 125 miles from where we was and we were kept on the car for nearly three dayes and knights, and by that time the effects of bowth the diseases had located in his bowels and the other boyes that was with him was not able to wait on him, it was Dock Edge, Marion Boyd, and Jas. Sloan, all had measles.[1] L. D. did not want to go to the hospital, and he requested me to go get a private house for us haveing one of my company that was nearly in the same fix. I looked around for a few minutes and found a man that was willing to take us in and he had L. D. halled in a carriage and he then called in a Physician, and he was a real smart man and one of feeling to. We all done all that was in our power for him, but Oh sad to write the words he is dead. But yet I hope and believe that his immortal spirit lives to day in heaven. He died on yesterday at Eleven O’clock A. M., it being the 1st day of May. I sent for the boyes to come and see him before he died but they were not able to come, except David Beaty he was present at his death and L. D. said something to him to tell you if he should ever get home, which he promised to do.[2] The day and night before he died he often times would call me to him and say to me that we were all labouring in vain for I am bound to die, but yet do all that you can, for me, but the will of the Lord be done, if it is his will to remove me hence let me go in peace as I have no fears of death, said he, “Moses I would give all that I have to be at home with my wife and children but ah it is too late.” He then quoted this scripture man that is born of a woman is of but a few dayes and full of trouble. He requested that he should be carried home if it was possible for without it was done it would be a block of grief to his wife and children for life, he whispered something to me to tell Hugh but his voice was so weak that I could not understand what it was. Myself and David Baity examined his trunk and in his purse we found five Dollars and 30 cts, and that is in it yet. I had him buried in a plain neat coffin, it and digging the grave and burying him cost Seven Dollars, and I am goying to have all his clothes washed and put them in his trunk and deliver it to Capt. Hembrey as soon as I get where he is, as I think it best for him to have them in charge. The man that we are boarding with is by the name of Charles W. Brown. he is a plum jentleman, he lives in the town. this is a large city. There is nearly 2000 men sick here.

Mrs. Groce as I wish you to understand me fully, the Seven Dollars that I spoke of is what the government payes for burying her soldiers and you can get the remaines of Mr. Groce at anytime for the name and residence and Regiment and co are all taken down by the man who attends to burying the soldiers at this place also no of grave, his was no 40, new plat of grave yard.

And if it should meet with your judgment to get some of your friends to come immediately that they will find some of the boyes here, for I have no idea that some of them can leave here in less than two or three weeks for David Baity told me yesterday that there was strong symptoms of typhoid fever about Dock Edge though it was not decided to be that, Jas Sloan and Marion was a little on the mend There is so many more sick that I do not know, that I say nothing about them suffice it to say that we have not well man enough in our regiment to wait on the sick and they are all scattered in every direction. I will here state that we have not drawn any money except our bounty and there will be some two more months wages and his comutation money for clothing for six months that he is entitled to, and that was to be paid now Soon the Capt will attend to that I suppose, so at least, this I know to be so whether he gets it or not, I believe that I have given you as correct an account of what L. D. said that he wanted me write to you, though if I should be spared to get back to my much distressed wife and children, I will come and see you if possible as I must close I do fondly hope that the God of all grace and mercy may be with you and your children through life and at death save each of you in heaven is the honest desire of your friend and well wishers so farewell, done by request.

M.G. Herrin

M.B. if you should send after L. D. he who comes will have to come by Montgomery and mobile and then to this place.

Respectfully M.G. Herrin

To Mrs. Melindah Groce

I concluded to clip a lock of his hair and send it to you as I supposed that you would like to have it for a badge of respect and also of grief for your self and children, so farewell with respect

M.G. Herrin

Groce’s remains were buried near Columbus, Mississippi and today rest in the Friendship Cemetery.

I wish to thank Matthew Groce for sharing his ancestor's story and giving me permission to publish it on the blog. The Forty-First Georgia served in Maney’s Brigade at Perryville, and so Matthew knew I would be interested in the connection, and I hope you have found the letter interesting as well.


[1] Fourth Corporal Joseph F. Edge (Company G), Private Marion Boyd (Company G), and Private James P. Sloan. Edge would lose an arm at Big Shanty in June 1864, Boyd would die of disease, and Sloan would be killed at Perryville, Kentucky. [2] Private David H. Batty (Company G), who would die of disease in Jackson, Mississippi in April 1863.

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