Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Death of General Zook.–Diary of Josiah Marshall Favill.

Death of General Zook.–Diary of Josiah Marshall Favill.

July 3, 2013

Diary of a Young Officer–Josiah Marshall Favill (57th New York Infantry)

[July 3d]

Zook was calm, serene, and dignified, speaking occasionally, but never of himself, and apparently suffered but little pain. At daylight we concluded to move still further to the rear, as the cannon balls sometimes reached even this dreadful spot, so we took up the stretcher, and moved down the road amidst a motley crowd of ambulances, ammunition trains, and disorganized men, making it very difficult to get along; about a mile down the road we turned to the right, and took possession of a comfortable house; it was occupied by several women, who were scared out of their wits, and glad to have us in the house. We placed the general on the stretcher in the front room to the left on entering, and had the women make some chicken soup or broth. I asked the general if he would not like to see Dwight, the noted chaplain of the Sixty-sixth, a special favorite of his, but he declined, saying it was too late. He signified his wishes in respect to his private affairs, and requested me to attend to everything for him, then calmly awaited the end. At times he brightened up and spoke with considerable animation, so that we began to think the doctor might be mistaken, and tried to make him think so too, but he shook his head and said there was no hope. We had frequently amongst ourselves discussed the nature of various wounds, and were all aware that a shot through the intestines was considered necessarily fatal. He drank a little whiskey at times, and some of the broth that the women made for him, but towards evening he began to fail, and at five o’clock peacefully breathed his last.

Thus ended the career of a brilliant officer, an estimable gentleman, and a faithful friend. Killed at the head of his troops, on his native soil, defending the honor and integrity of the country he loved so well, is after all a glorious death to die, and so far as he is concerned, perhaps is the most fitting climax of a brilliant career. It is quite a different thing for those of us belonging to his military family, who have gone hand in hand together, since the very formation of the army of the Potomac. I was his chief aide-de-camp and enjoyed his confidence completely. He was to all of us friendly in the extreme, just, exacting at times, but always ready to acknowledge and give us credit whenever we deserved it. His death interrupts all our plans for the future, and our interest in military affairs seems to have entirely evaporated. What a blank in our lives his death will cause. From the day I met him first on Staten Island, when I turned out the guard to please him, I have been with him and always close to him, and knew him more intimately than any other person in the army. He was ambitious and intended getting transferred to the west at the first opportunity, where he held greater chances existed for independent commands, and consequently for gaining distinction.

Broom wrote Mitchell, of Hancock’s staff, a line notifying him of the general’s death, and asking for passes, so that we could take the body home, which were immediately sent to us. Early the following morning, July 4th, we secured some ice, packed the remains in a rude box, and sent them over to the railway station in an ambulance.

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