Title: Letter from B. S. Hile to his wife, 7 February 1862
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00028944/00002
 Material Information
Title: Letter from B. S. Hile to his wife, 7 February 1862
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Hile, B. S.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00028944
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

Havana Feb 7th 1862
Friday 5 P.M.

My Dear Wife

This is the 6th day that the Roanoke must have been out from
N.Y. but up to this time she has not arrived all seem very
anxious to hea r the news as the uncertain bits of news that
reach us now and then through the small crafts of cecessesion from
Florida and Louisianna only tend to excite us Have just finished
dinner and now in our parlour at a round center table of marble
and thought I would communicate to you now wha t poor Walter had
to pass through a nd now suffering under When the Roanoke returns
he may be better and he may be worse Last Saturday he felt dull
and stupid did not go to the office eat a trifle at dinner 4 -
felt head ache and in the evening lay down Sunday morning had a
fever and complained of soreness of tonsils took gargles and
medicine of his own directions which I procured no appetite -
restless all Sunday night Monday moving his tongue swelling
I could not as yet prevail on him to call a physician kept
getting worse and still worse on Tuesday so much so that he could
with difficulty swallow I called in Dr. Winterhalter a German
Dr. and by all Americans here said to be the best physician Tuesday
night I was by him in a cot by his side all night he
could not lie down an did not but from rocker to lounge and
walking all night I gave him the medicine gargle ointment
and other kinds Wednesday morning his tongue was so much swollen
that it completely filled his mouth and with much difficulty
could pass down his medicine The Dr. came and said it was a bad
case and told me his tongue must not swell any more and that he
should lance it he done so in the morning but brought no matter
out he was in great agony and pain still with difficulty we got
down his medicines his tongue keeps swelling and I feared that
it might choke or stangle him so I went all over to find a glass
tube but the best one was a poor thing but I affixed a guide to it
and got also another arrangement to put into his throat in case
of emergency and took them in and Walter remarks by a nod of
his head (as he then could not speak) that it was well at 8 in
the evening the Dr. came again and lanced it again nothing but
blood came out I then got the medicines ordered put in dry bags of
hot mustard as a poultice and he passed through a sleepless,
restless and painful night he could not speak a word and seemed
all most impossible for him to admit any thing past his tongue
Thursday he continues so all day till about 5 P.M. I was holding
his head while he was trying to get down some medicine and in the
act it strangled him and the exertion broke the swelling inside -
the smell at once satisfied me of this and immediately after

he felt such a relief that he raised up his head and said
"a w wite" yes "all right" says I how do you feel now Doc
says I he tried to say "bueno" but could not get it out I
presume in one minute there must have been half a tea cup or more
of matter that came from the discharge and continued to come
out during the evening and by 11 he felt quite lively and could
understand what he said and for our work he got the first nights
rest this morning he is quite smart and has a little appetite
although he has eat nothing since Friday night last week ago This
evening for the first he has taken a little beef tea can talk
and walk around and if he gets no relapse he will get along -
yesterday his tongue was spotted and dark over and during
all the time he has had a high fever some Tmes 140 beats he has
not lost much flesh yet and if he recovers it will be a benefit
to him The Dr. says he has lost some 130 similar cases of the
throat but only one like this he calls this properly "Inflammation
of the Tongue" at first the symptoms Diptheria as it comes so
fast Mrs. Riley with whom we board is very kind and gives him
every attention and all around him he is not lacking for friends or
persons to him any assistance or favor before the steamer
leaves I will dvise you whether to make it known to any one as a
matter of precaution His disease confined entirely to his
tongue a nd the Physician thinks that is caused from excess of
smoking or rather poisoned by cigars which is more than probable
I will now not detail but say that a great many cigars are
saturated with drugs to give colours and flavors and any person
smoking a great number every day buying here and there and
anywhere and at timesaaccepting a poor article for the want of
knowing how to talk a better one out of them it is a
reasonable supposition that poison in some shape would be the
cause -
Monday March 10 1862

The Roanoke came in on Saturday and I have letters from Ella and
you and all I have a Post Office Box No. 217 (Apartado 217)
where you can direct letters Walter is out toda y and to the
office and I think he will be nice in a day or so has
not lost but Tittle flesh
I will write in the morning
Yours B.S. Hile

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