Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Charles L. Lewis, 7 October 1806

Washington Oct. 7. 06.

Dear Sir

To me has fallen the painful duty of communicating to you intelligence which came to me by the post of yesterday evening. in a letter from mr Parmelee Commissioner of land claims in Orleans, dated Opelousas Aug. 28. is the following paragraph. ‘Charles Lewis, a Lieutt. in the US. army came to this place the latter part of July last, on his way to Natchitoches. the fore part of this month he was siesed with a severe inflammation in his head, of which he died the 12th. instant. I am induced to make this communication by being informed that he was your nephew.’ in another letter from Govr. Claiborne dated Natchitoches Aug. 28. he says ‘in addressing you at this time I have to announce an event, which, unpleasant as it may be, is nevertheless proper to acquaint you of. Lieutt. Lewis, of the army who I learn was your nephew, died a few days since at Camp Hamilton in the county of Opelousas. he had lately joined the army, & was on his arrival in good health: but was soon hurried into another world by a violent fever. during his illness he had the best medical assistance which the country afforded, and experienced all the friendly attentions which a benevolent society could render. Lieutt. Lewis promised to make an excellent officer, & his death is sincerely lamented.’ these paragraphs contain every word I have recieved on the subject, so that it is not in my power to add a single detail to them. experience in the school of affliction has taught me that words give no consolation: that time & silence are the only medecines for grief. from them alone, yourself & my afflicted sister can recieve alleviation; and praying you to present her my tenderest affections, I offer you my friendly salutations & assurances of great regard.

Th: Jefferson

MHi: Coolidge Collection.

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