This letter was written by Franklin (“Frank”) Marshall (1841-1911), the son of Robert G. Marshall (1812-1893) and Louisa Vickers (1813-1886) of Norton Center, Summit county, Ohio.
Frank enlisted at the age of 21 on 10 August 1862 at Akron, Ohio, in Co. H, 104th Ohio Infantry. He was transferred to Co. C, 23rd Veteran Reserve Corps (VRC) on 5 January 1864. [A history of the regiment gives the date of his transfer as 22 January 1864.] The reason for his disability is not stated but from the letters we learn that Frank attributed his condition to “weak lungs.” See Wisconsin Civil War Camps.
In the 1900 US Census, Frank was enumerated in Racine, Wisconsin. He was widowed and residing with his 19 year-old son Everett. In 1910, he was still enumerated in Racine — a 68 year-old carpenter contractor. Frank died in 1911 and was buried in Mound Cemetery at Racine.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
April 15th 1864
I seat myself this afternoon to let you know that I received my pay yesterday. The amount that I received was $91.88 of which $78.00 of it was six months pay and the remainder $13.88 was clothing money due me on settlement up to the 6th of November 1863 — the time I was transferred to the V. R. C. [Veteran Reserve Corps]. I am going to start $780.00 to go next Monday by Express. I will send it to Akron in care of G. D. Bats. You can take it & use it as you like.
I came off guard this morn from the city. We are doing Provost guard now. I like it much better than guarding prisoners. I with some of the other boys from our company was guards in the theater last night. Robert McVay & I arrested a deserter there, took him & turned him over to the Provost Marshal. We have lots of fun arresting men.
How much a month does Curt get at the new shop in Akron? Tell him that I want him to write to me & tell all about the news. I have give up hearing from [brother] Thomas. If I do not hear from him pretty soon, I will write him & tell what I think about it. Yes, & a little more. I saw Dodge’s boy since I wrote you. He wanted me to go down to their house. He said that his father & mother wanted to see me. Sometimes I think I will go, then again think I will not.
There was one of our boys died in the hospital last week. His name [was] Edward Jameson. ¹ His death was caused by hard drinking. His stomach had become so coated with strong drink that medicine had no effect on him & there is more of them in our company will go in the same way unless they stop drinking pretty soon. This is the greatest place for selling strong drink ever I saw — nearly half of the buildings in the city is drinking saloons.
I with William Mahaffey are going to send to New York for some medicine for weak lungs. I will send you a letter & a pamphlet that I got from the man that we are sending to so that you can see what it is & all about it. I will send them separate from this.
No more for this time. Write soon. — Frank
I want you to take good care of the letter & pamphlet that I send you if you get it.
¹ Edward Jameson (1823-1864) had prior service in Co. E, 51st New York Infantry before being transferred into co. C, 23rd Veteran Reserve Corps. He died on 5 April 1864 in Madison, Wisconsin. The roster of the 51st New York Infantry has his name as “Edward Jamerson” and gives his age as 38 when he enlisted on 9 September 1861 at New York City to serve three years. He was transferred to the VRC on 1 July 1863.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
September 12, 1864
Yours of the 6th came to hand in due time. I was sorry to hear that you was worse again but hope you will be better the next time I hear from you. My lungs is the best now for the last two weeks they have been since I came to Wisconsin. I think that medicine that I am taking helps them some. My eyes is very sore. They are swollen up so that I can hardly see. I think there [is] some[thing] that has been going the rounds in our company. Since last January about half of the company has had them. There is one of the boys in our detachment brought them with him from the company.
I received the box & contents today alright. The boots suit me very well for winter boots but they’re nothing like my other ones as I wrote to have them made. The tops is alright on the outside. That is the way I wanted them.
I am going to Milwaukee tomorrow to get my pay & the rest of the boys pay that is here out of our company. I will get $384.00 for us. Then will be the time to start for Canada, won’t it Pap?
No more for this time. Write soon again. I hope my eyes will be better the next time I write. Good night.
— Frank Marshall