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Bushrod Washington's Burial Instructions to David Calwell

On the 14th of Novr 29 I received the following confidential communication from Judge Washington.

He said he knew not how his case might terminate—that he had always had an aversion to the customs attending such cases and wished them to be dispensed with in regard to him—and added:

["]My desire is that when the event happens, the sheet on which I am then laying may be employed as a Winding Sheet and at once thrown round my Person and tied about my middle with a Pocket Handkerchief—the common Practice of washing the Body is to be avoided— my thumbs are not to be tied together—nor anything put on my face or any restraint upon my Person by Bandages, &c. My Body is to be placed in an entirely plain coffin with a flat Top and a sufficient number of holes bored through the lid and sides— particularly about the face and head to allow Respiration if Resuscitation should take place and having been kept so long as to ascertain— whether decay may have occurred or not, the coffin is to be closed up— My Steward is to be written to, immediately on the event of Dissolution, to come on, and under his care my Body is to be conveyed to Virginia in the Steam boat, by way of Baltimore and landed directly at Mount Vernon, to be buried there— Some days since I requested Doc. C. to write to my nephew, John Washington, desireing him & his wife to come up— If they should be here you can communicate these Matters to them, and to Coulson, and to no one else— The subject of this interview to be entirely confidential.

Source Note

D, ViMtvL: Bushrod Washington Family Papers; D, DLC: Bushrod Washington Papers. Below the final paragraph, it reads, "To David Calwell."