The following letter was written by Capt. Frank Tileston Barker (1838-1890), the son of Tileston Adam Barker (1807-1879) and Semira Albee (1810-1891) of Westmoreland, Cheshire county, New Hampshire. Frank’s father, Tileston, served as Captain of the Westmoreland Light Infantry or “Old West Light” between 1847-1857. In the Civil War, Tileston was commissioned Captain of Co. A, 2nd NH Volunteers and fought in the Battle of Bull Run. Later he accepted a promotion to serve as the Lt. Colonel of 14th New Hampshire Regiment. After the war he served as NH state senator 1871-1873.
Frank Barker also served in the 14th New Hampshire, enlisting on 31 August 1862 as a private and receiving his commission as captain of Co. A on 9 October 1862. He survived the war, mustering out on 27 April 1864.
During the time that Frank was in the regiment, they were assigned duty as guards on the Upper Potomac, in the Defenses of Washington D. C, and at Camp Parapet near New Orleans. The regiment took part in a couple dozen engagements before the war ended but not until late July 1864 at Deep Bottom, Virginia.
Frank wrote the letter to Warren Snow Barrows (1824-1888) of Hinsdale, Cheshire county, New Hampshire. Warren was an active member of the Democratic Party in Hinsdale and served as chairman of the Board of Selectmen for many years. One of his last duties in the town was as depot master. See also—1863: Andrew Russell Barrows to Warren Snow Barrows.
To read letters written by other members of the 14th New Hampshire that I have transcribed and published on Spared & Shared, see:
John Amsden, Co. A, 14th New Hampshire (1 Letter)
Alonzo C. Packard, Co. A, 14th New Hampshire (1 Letter)
Otis G. Cilley, Co. D, 14th New Hampshire (1 Letter)
Henry Calvin Day, Co. D, 14th New Hampshire (1 Letter)
George W. March, Co. D, 14th New Hampshire (1 Letter)
Austin Abel Spaulding, Co. G, 14th New Hampshire (6 Letters)
Leonard Erastus Spaulding, Co. G, 14th New Hampshire (13 Letters)
John Warner Sturtevant, Co. G, 14th New Hampshire (3 Letters)
Daniel Colby Currier, Co. I, 14th New Hampshire (3 Letters)
Daniel Colby Currier, Co. I, 14th New Hampshire (1 Letter)
Washington D. C.
May 6th 1863
For many a day I have been thinking about writing you, and have at last attempted the undertaking. I suppose you have kept posted in regard to the movements of the 14th, being so many of the boys in the regiment [are] from Hinsdale. Poolesville [MD] was our residence during the past winter. From there five companies were ordered down the Potomac eight or ten miles but did not remain long before we was ordered to Washington where we now remain, doing nothing but acting as an escort to dead generals. How long we shall remain here is very uncertain.
Judging from the thundering Hooker is making down the Rappahannock, I should presume our stay here would be short and sweet. I suppose the North is all wrought up with excitement from the Army of the Potomac. Well they might be for a battle more “terrific” than ever was fought before on this side the Atlantic is going on near Fredericksburg and I hope the result will be such as to cause every loyal men to thank God for a stunning victory. A right damn thrashing of the Rebels by Hooker would be the grandest thing that could happen to this Nation and I pray that such may be the case.
That there is not so many rebels in arms as there was a few days ago I know because they are coming in here as prisoners every day conducted by as many federal “bayonets” as is necessary to make them march through the “Yankee Capitol.” They do not look much as our soldiers so and one reason is because they have no uniform, They look more like “beggars” than soldiers, but there is no use of saying that they can’t fight.
How is public opinion up North? same as usual, I suppose—are death on the war and go in for settling this thing on “paper?” Better use the paper for wadding than to sit down and rough out a compromise on it. The time has not yet come and never will in my opinion when this government should kneel down and ask or even accept a “compromise” from such an enemy as oppose us—certainly not until every man is made a cripple and nothing is left to make him a staff. I have reason to believe that you sustain this war. I am glad it is so. It is sad that there is so many at the North that prefer power and party to country, government, and law. I can look over the errors of my rulers for I believe they are honest. I have no fear of the future of this country. It’s greatness and its glory will be ten fold more than it has ever been, “When war shall be no more.”
My health is good—much better than when I was on the Ashnelet. Father is quite well though damp weather gives him a touch of the rheumatism. I should be pleased to hear from you when convenient. Please accept for yourself and family my best wishes and believe me your friend, — Frank T. Barker