The Louisiana in the Civil War Message Board - Archive

Steven DeGruy, LA Soldier

The following article appeared in The [Columbia, S.C.] State, 5 May 1901, p. 6, c. 4:

To the Editor of The State:

While on duty in Columbia as assistant surgeon in the Second North Carolina Hospital (now Science Hall) during 1863 and 1864, we received a patient by the name of Steven DeGruy, belonging to Beauregard's Battery from New Orleans. The battery was stationed on the islands near Charleston. The man was a full-blooded Spaniard, quite intelligent, refined and a gentleman. He had contracted that dreaded disease consumption. I saw it was but a matter of time with him. Cut off from home by the enemy, he at times became despondent. To divert his mind, I put him to writing up the books, which he did very willingly. In October, 1864, I saw the end was nigh. I sent for his priest, who was very attentive to him. I asked the priest if they would allow him to be buried in their cemetery. We placed a small marble slab at the head of the grave.

When a member of the legislature in 1897, I visited the spot. I found the slab partly buried in the ground, the grave completely oblterated. I placed the slab against a nearby tree. On entering the cemetery in rear of the church, take the east walk, pass down perhalf way, you will find the spot.

I call your attention to this from the fact that next week the old veterans will meet in Columbia, and I ask that some attention be paid to the grave of one who fell in the defence of his country away from home, amongst strangers, but not without friends.

A. J. Speer,

Ex-Asst. Surgeon, C.S.A.
Lowndesville, S.C. May 3, 1901"

The church referred to is St. Peter's Catholic Church, located in downtown Columbia; the cemetery is immediately in the rear of the church. I do not believe that the grave is now marked, but I did advise members of the Wade Hampton Chapter, SCV, which is very active in locating, marking, and maintaining graves of Confederate soldiers who are buried in Richland County.

Some of the records of the Second North Carolina Hospital are deposited at the South Caropliniiana Library, at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia. It is possible that DeGruy actually produced some of those records. Andrew Jackson Speer was my maternal great grand-father. He graduated form the Medical College of Georgia in 1858, and was a country doctor in Abbeville County, S.C., until his death in 1918.

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