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Calamities of War.


To the Editors of the "Jewish Messenger."

"Another Great Battle! Union loss from 10,000 to 15,000. The Enemy's loss much larger!"

Tell me, my friends, do you think you fully realize the dreadful import of this stereotyped, though truthful heading of your favorite journal, the news of which you swallow with your coffee, without lessening your appetite, or deranging your digestion?

To tell the sober truth, we have all become so familiar with those fearfully minute stories of blood-shed, that our sensitiveness has become somewhat deadened, and we begin to look upon these terrible announcements with a feeling so near akin to indifference that we find ourselves exclaiming—"the chances of war."


But for whom have these maimed and wounded and dying and dead been fighting for? Not alone for themselves surely, but for you and me, and the multitude who stay at home to find fault, and be protected.

And have not those who have so fallen, a right to something more than our inexpensive thanks? Theirs is indeed a just claim, and they demand of us, not only our sympathy, but whatever we can contribute to lessen their suffering, and heal their shattered frames.

Has it ever occured to you how many of our brethren are among these unfortunates, who, perhaps like yourselves, have never known what real suffering and privations are!

It has been my privilege to pass some time among these co-religionists, both among our own troops and among the rebel prisoners in hospitals, and if my pen enabled me to convey to the reader one tithe of what I have witnessed, I am sure this feeble appeal for assistance will be responded to with a will and alacrity worthy of the well known instincts of our hope and the cause of our common country.

The government, in assuming care of the forty-eight hospitals in this district, with their 20,000 patients and upwards, have done as much and as well as could be expected under the circumstances; but there is much, very much yet to be done to insure the comfort, and thereby in a great measure, the chances of recovery of the patients. It is to attain this desirable result I ask the cooperation of my fellow-Israelites. I therefore suggest that a JEWISH SOLDIERS' SANITARY AND RELIEF FUND be organized, (to which I beg to contribute $25.,) under the direction of, say the worthy President, Secretary and Treasurer of "the Jews' Hospital," who, I am sure, will consent to become the almoners of the Fund, which might be made large at the beginning, if Presidents of Congregations will cause a suitable appeal to be made to their members on the approaching Holidays, and inviting donations to the same then and there.

Last year I had the opportunity of observing the good efforts of a reverend gentleman from New York, who, with circumscribed powers, acted, I believe, under direction of the "Board of Delegates of American Israelites." Let him, or another equally well qualified, be appointed with discretionary power to attend the sick and wounded Israelites in the hospital, and if necessary, upon the battle field; supplying them with such necessities and comforts as they may lack; advising and communicating with relations or friends, and imparting that spiritual comfort with those who may lie ill among strangers know so well how to appreciate.

The poor sufferers would look upon such a one and those who sent him as angels of mercy, and God will, I am sure, bless the undertaking with success.

I have no wish to gratify in the manner of carrying out this project; if it can be improved upon, as I am sure it can be, let it be done; but let it be done at once, for there is not a moment's time to be lost.

Israelites, reflect and act upon the solemn duty you owe to your People, your Country, and your God!


Washington, D.C., Sept. 29th, 5623 [1862].

Letters of "Semi Occasional"