|A December 2009 image of the farmhouse in Spring Hill, Tenn., where Richard Ewell lived after |
the Civil War with his wife, Lizinka. The couple died here within days of each other in winter 1872.
(Hal Jespersen | Wikimedia Commons)
|A historical marker in Spring Hill, Tenn., for the Ewell Farm,|
where Richard Ewell died on Jan. 25, 1872. He was 54.
Mrs. Ewell, who, according to her obituary, "constantly cultivated ... and stored valuable information," was the general's first cousin and the Russian-born daughter of the former U.S. minister to the Court of Tsar Alexander. She was 51.
And so a grieving Ewell ordered preparations for his own death. A will was made; so were arrangements for disposition of his property. After the war, the Virginia-reared Ewell settled on a farm in Spring Hill, 35 miles south of Nashville, with Lizinka, a wealthy heiress. (Her first husband, James Percy Brown, a notorious philanderer, died in 1844.) The Ewells raised Jersey cattle and sheep and bred harness-racing horses, and turned the farm into one of the area's most prosperous.
|Headlines in the Nashville Tennessean on|
Jan. 26, 1872, the day after
Richard Ewell's death.
In spring 1870, the Ewell's farm supplied the Maxwell House hotel in Nashville with 100 pounds of butter a week. The general even became president of the Maury County Agricultural Society. "No man in Tennessee," an account noted, "ever exhibited more interest in improving the breeds of cattle and sheep."
Ewell wanted a simple funeral -- no ostentation, no parade. Friends and comrades were to show their respect without fanfare. A plain headstone and footstone would do, he said, "like those over the graves of my father and my mother in Virginia."
"My rank while in the Confederate service might be inscribed upon one of the stones," the 54-year-old Confederate veteran reportedly told attendants at the farmhouse, "but I wish nothing in the inscription which will cast any reflection upon the Government of the United States."
|The Ewells, who died of typhoid fever in the winter 1872, are buried in Nashville City Cemetery, |
near downtown. (CLICK ON ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
Shortly before Ewell's death, Lizinka's coffin was taken to his room. Too weak to show much emotion, he was raised up from his pillow so he could view her shrouded remains. Ewell whispered he wanted to be buried next to his wife, whose picture was hung around his neck.
On the brink of death and unable to accept many visitors, Ewell signaled what he needed with gestures. The end came at 2:30 in the morning on Jan. 25, 1872. "His countenance wore a look of placid resignation and was more life-like in expression after than a short time before his death," the Nashville Tennessean reported the next day.
|Close-up of inscription on the grave marker for Richard Ewell and|
his wife Lizinka in Nashville City Cemetery.
At the funeral service at Christ Church in Nashville, where Ewell's wife had lived for decades, hundreds of mourners gathered. Among them were Tennessee Gov. John Brown and former Confederate generals Lucius Polk, William Bate, William Hicks Jackson, Richard Lilley and Edmund Kirby Smith. A hearse bearing Ewell's remains was escorted a short distance to the city cemetery near old Fort Negley, key defense during the Federals' occupation. As he wished, Ewell was buried next to his wife.
"Before the fresh earth had time to settle on the grave of the wife of his bosom, the clods fell on his own coffin," a Memphis newspaper wrote in a lengthy tribute to the general. "The rays of the winter's sun that shimmered on the mound that marked her last resting-place cast their light in the newer-made grave, as if to welcome him once more to her side."
|Richard Ewell wanted a plain headstone and footstone. He got a more elaborate marker.|
|Behind iron gates, Richard and Lizinka Ewell rest for eternity. The couple died within days of each other.|
-- Have something to add (or correct) in this post? E-mail me here.
-- Intimate Strategies of the Civil War: Military Commanders and Their Wives, edited by Carol K. Bleser and Lesley J Gordon, New York, Oxford University Press, 2001
-- Memphis Avalanche, Jan. 27, 1872.
-- Nashville Tennessean, March 6, 1870. Jan, 26, 1872.
-- Nashville Union and American, Jan. 27, 1872.
-- The Home Journal, Winchester, Tenn., April 25, 1867.