Re: Did the families "officially" receive notice of the death (like they do today) or did that only occur if someone (relative, friend) thought to write the deceased's family?
I came across this notice appearing in the Richmond Daily Dispatch which may be of interest. Sorry, but I failed to copy the date.
Bureau of Information.
He would be a genuine philanthropist (says the Whig.) who would establish, at some central point in this city, a Bureau of Information concerning the sick and wounded of the armies in Virginia. Indeed, the matter is of so great importance that the Government would be justified in setting apart a considerable sum for this purpose. If we look at Richmond alone, we find the hospitals scattered over a circuit of many miles, and some of them of such immense size that a day would be consumed in looking over the wards, or, in the cases of camp Winder and Chimborazo Hospitals, the streets of sick and wounded. The Manager of the Bureau of Information should keep a record, as complete and accurate as possible, of all the sick and wounded in all the hospitals, public and private, in the city. A daily list of deaths should be printed and kept for public inspection. To attend, to this business, the Manager should be allowed two or three clerks, whose duty it should be to make frequent regular visits to the hospitals, and to receive from the surgeons in charge a list of the patients who have been received, discharged, or died. Private families having sick and wounded with them should also hand in their names to the Bureau. We are very sure that no service more grateful to the hundreds of thousands of friends and relatives of the soldiers could be rendered. If the Government will not aid this enterprise, we believe a large fund can be raised by subscription. Will not some large-hearted citizen put his hand zealously to this good work? He ought to be a man of system, industrious and indefatigable, willing to give his whole soul to the work, so as to keep his lists at all times as complete and accurate as possible. How the mothers, fathers, wives, brothers, sisters, and daughters of this Confederacy would thank this man! Suspense is so terrible.