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October 10 1812: My Dear Harriot



On October 10, 1812, Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer, before he joins the American attack on Queenston, writes to his wife, what he thinks may be his last letter:  
My Dear Harriot - This letter may be tho last you will receive from me; If it is, let me beg of you sometimes to cherish my memory and forget any unkindness you may have received from me, for whenever an unkind word has fallen from me, be assured it was not owing to any want of attachment to you, but to the unhappy state of my mind at that moment, owing to my embarrassment and the persecution of my Political enemies who even pursue me to this quarter of the Globe. My attachment to you has ever been warm and undivided and so it Shall Remain to the last moment of my existence and if it should please Heaven to guard me from danger this night, I will when I return shew by my actions what I now express, but should it be otherwise Decreed let me beg of you to think kindly of me and meet my fall with fortitude.
My own and the Patroons Reputations require that the sacrifice should be made. If I should Succeed, it will redound to my Honor and Much to your and our dear little one's advantage. Oh! if I could give you all a parting kiss how happy I would be. Support yourself with fortitude on their account and remember they cannot do without you. My service has been very irksome since I left you, owing to your situation, never in my life have I been so impatient to return home to comfort you under your affliction. My enterprise this night will shorten our separation, if I survive I shall soon be with you, how pleasing the Idea and how happy will be that moment. I go to storm an important post of the enemy. Young Lush and Gansevoort attend me. I must succeed, or you my dear Harriot, will never see me again. If so, let me entreat you to meet my fall with fortitude; and be assured, my dear, lovely, but unfortunate wife, that my last prayer will be for you and my dear children. I wish to write much more but I must prepare for the Assault. This letter will be put in the hands of Mr. Lovett until the event is over. I have written to the Patroon about you and the children. Adieu, kiss all the children for me, mention me to all; and may God bless and preserve you my dear lovely Harriot is the fervent prayer of your affectionate and sincere Husband, .Sol. Van Rensselaer.

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