Letter from John Contee to Lewis Bush, describing the death of his brother

Contee letter to Bush feature image


This short, handwritten letter is a poignant firsthand account of one officer’s bravery and sacrifice during USS Constitution‘s first battle in the War of 1812. The letter, from Marine Lieutenant John Contee to Lewis Bush, recounts the death of Lewis’ brother, Lt. William Sharp Bush, on August 19, 1812 during the battle with HMS Guerriere. Lt. Bush was the first United States Marine Corps officer to be killed in combat.