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This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.

George Van Wie
of Rensselaerville

George Van Wie, the son of Andrew H. and Harriet Lanphar Van Wie, was born January 12, 1844, at Rensselaerville, Albany county, New York. Affable and kind, he was beloved by many; but most fondly is his memory cherished by the circle at home.

The winter previous to his enlistment, during a revival in the Baptist church at Rensselaerville, he sought and found Jesus. He soon after joined the Methodist Episcopal church as a probationer, and proved to be a true Christian. He was faithful in the discharge of every duty, ever willing to acknowledge Christ before men, and seldom absent from the prayer and class meetings.

In the summer of 1862, being strongly devoted to his country, he felt it to be his duty to stand up in her defence. His most convincing argument was, "somebody must go;" and after counting the cost, and fully realizing the dangers with which he would be surrounded, he resolved to take upon him the privations of a soldier's life. He therefore, July 17th, 1862, enlisted as a private in the One Hundred and Thirteenth Regiment, Company K, New York State Volunteers, then forming. He took his final farewell of home August 16th, and on the 19th left Albany with his regiment for Washington.

His letters written to friends at home, were ever cheerful, and his expressions of love for his Saviour and his country were very fervent.

The following is a specimen of the letters that he wrote to his beloved parents:

Fort Reno, Head Quarters 7th N. Y. Artillery,
Near Washington, April 29, 1863.
Dear Father—I received your letter this afternoon, and was much pleased to hear from you, and that you were all well. My health is good, which, next to the religion of Christ, is the greatest blessing a soldier can enjoy. The weather is splendid; fruit trees are in full bloom and everything has the appearance of approaching summer, which after the long winter we have had, will be very acceptable to us.

You wished me to give you my experience. I have not much time now; but I will improve the few moments I have; and after general inspection, which is to-morrow, I will write again.

I do not think I enjoy myself as well as when I left home; but I know I have a Saviour; one who died for me; one who is interceding for me; one who has promised to be with those who love Him; and I feel thankful for all He has done for me. Although I am far from the comforts of a home, and the means of grace, I have spent many happy hours. O, I never can forget those prayer and class meetings at home; how many times God has met with us and blessed us. But God is here. Yet I do not, and cannot attend our little prayer meetings often, on account of other duties. A soldier is deprived of many a happy hour he might spend in the prayer circle in the chaplain's little tent, on account of his military duties. But may God help mc to be more faithful to Him; may I be more zealous in His cause; may God help me to be a shining light, doing good to my fellow soldiers; and may I be the means, with God's help, of bringing others to know of His goodness.

Pray for the soldiers. I feel I need the prayers of all God's people. I am in the midst of temptations, and I know not how soon I may be called on the battle field. But wherever I am may God be with me and with the whole army, and bless us; and if consistent, bring about a speedy peace. May the flag that so long floated over a free and happy nation, come out as clean as the snow that descends from heaven, and with not one star taken from it; may all who are in bondage be made free; and may religion prevail throughout the land. Pray for me.

Your son,

For nearly two years his regiment was stationed at Fort Reno, D. C.; but in the month of May, 1864, marching orders were received, and with brave and fearless hearts, this noble band of soldiers marched onward to victory, and alas! how many to death! All through the battles of the Wilderness they fought with unexampled bravery. Many were slain; hundreds wounded, and a large number taken prisoners. Among the latter was the subject of this sketch.

He was soon after conveyed to Andersonville, Georgia, where he remained a prisoner until the month of November, following, when he was exchanged and brought to Annapolis, Maryland. He was so weak, from disease contracted in prison, he could not be conveyed home.

Letters were received from him weekly, stating that he was daily gaining strength, and that the holidays would find him among his friends at home. But they were doomed to disappointment. In about one month from tlie time he reached Annapolis, word was received that he was failing fast, and that he desired his father to come to him.

His father hastened to the bedside of his dying son, and found the merest wreck of the noble boy, as he was when he cheerfully girded on his armor, and bade farewell to the loved ones at home. But the father found him ready, and waiting for the angel who was to release him from his sufferings and give him rest, where wars and rumors of wars can never come.

He talked cheerfully of death, saying that, "he had never thought that it would he so easy to die, and go to heaven. His sufferings had been terrible, but he had never regretted, for one moment, entering the army. He was willing to lay down his life for his country; and the enemy who had caused his bitter sufferings and death, he left in the hands of a just God."

In three days after his father reached him, he died shouting the praises of Him who had taken "from death its sting, and from the grave its victory."

His remains were embalmed and brought to the Rensselaerville Cemetery for interment, there to remain until the last trumpet shall sound and the dead arise.

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