1862: Frank M. Rice to Ellen Rice

I could not find an image of Frank but here is Pvt. Albert Conover of Co. E, 94th New York Infantry (LOC)

This letter was written by Pvt. Frank M. Rice (1840-1917) of Co. C, 94th New York Infantry who enlisted on 18 October 1861 and served until 18 July 1865, according to Muster Rolls.

Frank was the son of Franklin A. Rice (1812-1888) and Amanda Hoisington (1816-1900) of Ellisburg, Jefferson county, New York. He was married to Ellen E. Pratt (1847-1918) but given her age at the time of his enlistment, my hunch is that the couple were married while Frank was at home on a Veteran’s Furlough in early 1864.

From the regimental history we learn that the 94th New York participated in the Battle of Gettysburg and then spent the next several months in a “fruitless campaign” in Virginia culminating in the Mine Run Campaign. While most of the Army of the Potomac went into winter quarters at Culpeper, the 94th New York was ordered to Annapolis, Maryland, where it was attached to the 8th Corps temporarily, and where it remained on duty at Camp Parole until 26 May 1864 when it rejoined the army at the front.

To read other letters I’ve transcribed & posted on Spared & Shared that were written by other member of the 94th New York Infantry, see:

Calvin Littlefield, F&S, 94th New York (1 Letter)
Andrew J. Allen, Co. C, 94th New York (1 Letter)
James P. Cross, Co. C, 94th New York (1 Letter)
Edward Garland, Co. C, 94th New York (1 Letter)
Benjamin Clark Near, Co. H, 94th New York (3 Letters)
Walter Nathaniel Little, Co. K, 94th New York (1 Letter)

Stationery used by Frank for his letter


Camp Parole
Annapolis, Maryland
April 18, 1864

Dearest Ellen.

With pleasure I now take up y pen to write a few words on reply to your kind and welcome letter of the 13th inst. which came to hand this morning. I was very glad to hear from you and to learn you was well as this leaves me. Well, I hope and trust it will find you you enjoying the same blessing.

I have no news of importance or interest to write for it is the same thing over and over again. The weather is quite mild. We have a shower of rain occasionally—just enough to lay the dust—but it seldom rains more than 4 or 5 days at a time.

Ellen, you say you do not get all of my letters, or rather you seem to blame me for not writing more often. I have written seven or eight letters to you since I got back to the regiment. I don’t see why you have not got more of them. Your father has just got to the regiment, yet the health of the regiment is rather better than when I wrote before. We have had one case of the small pox in the regiment and that was in our company. His name is [Francis P.] Fryar. He is a new recruit. Lives in the town of Worth. He was taken sick the same night he got here and was sent to the hospital the next day. 1

Ellen you say you have not seen Lib since I left home. What is the reason? Have they moved from Belleville or are you at variance with one another, or what is the matter? You say you and [sister] Armida are going to get your likenesses taken together. That will suit me just as well. How does Uncle Steve Cornish’s folks get along? 2 Have Dell and Jimmy become reconciled yet?

Well, as it is getting late and I want to write a few lines to Armida and put in this, I will close by requesting you to write soon and often and hoping this war will soon close so that I can return to my friends and home and to you, my dear wife. No more this time. Goodbye, from your husband, — Frank M. Rice

1 Francis P. Fryar enlisted at the age of 18 on 15 March 1864 at Lorraine to serve three years in Co, C, 94th New York Infantry. He was wounded in action on 13 June 1864 at White Oak Swamp, Va., and died the following day.

2 This was Steven Silas Cornish (1824-1888) of Ellisburg, Jefferson county, New York. Steven was married to Amira Rice (b. 1822). They had a daughter named Adell (“Dell”) who was born in 1847.

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