James Bailey called to tell us that Lieut. Charles B. Gates is dead. I fear his parents were too late to see him alive. He is their only son, and a very affectionate, amiable young man. He was pursuing his education at Marietta College but left his studies to serve his country.
|Charley, Bettie, and Mary Gates|
|Charles Beman Gates|
Charles Beman Gates was the brother of Mary Gates Dawes (wife of Rufus R. Dawes). Charley's parents and his sister knew he had been injured in the railroad accident of the previous week but at the time, no one believed it was a serious injury. Charley proceeded to Harper's Ferry, but could not go on as by this time he was quite ill with pneumonia. A telegram was sent on May 30, calling his parents, Beman and Betsey Gates, to his bedside at Harper's Ferry. They arrived by train, shortly after he died.
This is an excerpt of a letter that Mary wrote to her brother a few days after the accident but before the serious nature of his condition was known. It is unknown whether he received it in time to read it.
No doubt all the letters today will tell you we miss you and not to be behind the rest, I shall say it too for -- we do miss you. Father this morning started for the kitchen armed with boots, brushes and blacking and saying "Pshaw but I don't like to black boots, Charley always does it when he is at home." Adaline [the cook] has lost an important prop to her institute. Her pies and cakes dry up and blow away from the want of somebody to eat them. Adaline certainly has a tender heart and is sorry to have you away from home but then she might feel worse for her pump is in good working order and more than all there is water in the cistern but I doubt not Charley she has tender feelings for you every time the wheezy old thing goes. I do. Bettie misses you at all times and on all occasions and from the conversation of the young autocrat at the breakfast table she evidently sees you still in her dreams. But Mother, "Oh that these lips had language!" And Charley I miss you. Of course I have no need to tell you that I miss you "boat nights," and that I often want you to do errands, to do this, to stop doing that, but I don't know, I guess you never thought I would think of you so many times in a day and wish you would come in and make me laugh, or show by your look or a quiet goodnight kiss that you felt sorry for and pitied me. And so it goes we all talk of you and plans for your coming home.