Sunday, July 13

This week in the Civil War: July 13, 1864

Life and death in the trenches near Petersburg, Virginia.

The Boston Evening Transcript of Boston, Massachusetts reported July 15, 1864, on the death of a beloved Massachusetts officer fighting for the Union in Petersburg, Virginia, when it came under siege 150 years ago in the Civil War. The dispatch said Col. P.S. Davis was "mortally wounded in the trenches near Petersburg." War dispatches gave an account of his death: "One of the rebel shell entered his tent on Monday, and after rolling under the chair in which he was quietly seated, reading a newspaper, exploded and wounded him in so shocking a manner, that he expired within an hour." Just 40 years old, Davis left behind a wife and three children in Massachusetts, along with a business selling books and stationery in Boston. The Boston paper reported that under Davis' command, his regiment had flourished and "was frequently mistaken for regulars, from their admirable bearing and discipline." It added Davis was deeply missed by many: "Beloved in all the walks of private life, his public career as an officer of the union army has been honorable to himself and the State which claimed him as one of its most patriotic citizens."

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