This letter was written by Frank Brown (1832-1922), the son of Enoch Brown (1805-1851) and Anna S. Leonard (1809-Aft1870). Frank enlisted at LaPorte, Indiana, in Co. G, 87th Indiana Infantry on 21 August 1862. After two years of hard fighting as a private, he was promoted to Commissary Sergeant and on 10 June 1865 was mustered out at Washington, D. C. Before his promotion, Brown fought at Perryville, Hoover’s Gap, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, New Hope Church, Pine Hill, Kennesaw, Peach Tree Creek and Utoy Creek.
In his letter of 11 December 1863, Frank speaks of his intention of returning to the battlefield at Chickamauga to look for evidence of missing comrades. It was in the woodlands on that field where “the 87th Indiana established its bravery forever by standing steadfast with its brigade on three separate occasions, each time saving a significant part of the Union army.” [A Stupendous Effort, by Jack K. Overmeyer]
Frank wrote the letter to his sister, Charlotte (“Lottie”) Brown (b. 1835). Frank’s father died in 1851 but his mother was still residing in Almond, Allegany, New York in 1870. Frank had at least two brothers who also served in the Civil War. Joel Brown (1830-1865) served in Co. B, 211th Pennsylvania Infantry. He was killed in action in front of Petersburg on 2 April 1865. Albert Leroy Brown (1838-1862) served in Co. K, 11th Pennsylvania Reserves (40th Penn. Infantry). He was killed at Antietam on 17 September 1862.
December 11, 1863
I don’t like to scold but I really do want you to write oftener. I write to you as often as once a week without waiting to get letters to answer and I would be very happy to have you do the same by me. You will, won’t you? The mails are very irregular at present and I don’t suppose that over two-thirds of the letters that are written ever reach their destination. I have seen nothing of your Mother’s or Henry’s photographs yet. Why don’t you send them? I am going to have some more taken soon and then I will send you another one different style but still with the florid mustache which I shall wear until I am done soldiering.
I am going out on the old battlefield of Chickamauga where we fought September 19th & 20th tomorrow to be gone two days. There is a party going out to see what they can find out about the lost and missing comrades that was with there. I expect it will be quite interesting to me to go over the ground again that we made such desperate efforts to win but was compelled to let it slide.
I don’t much think that I shall get to see you this winter and if I don’t this winter, I shall not for another year. I have made up my mind to stay and see the end of the show if it don’t last too long and I think it is good to last another year yet at least. I may get a furlough but it is not much of an object as they won’t let you be gone only just about long enough to go and return so a poor fellow has no chance to visit. However, I may take a short run up that way. I have the promise of the next chance in our company so watch out or I may come in and take you by surprise. When I do start, I will beat a letter through.
I have no idea that I can get a furlough of sufficient length to go and see my Mother. Too bad isn’t it. I have got two letters from her yesterday and a paper. She thinks I am just one of the best boys there is. I write to her every week and have sent her seventy dollars (70.00) since last payday and shall send her fifty more in a day or two. You may wonder how I get so much money. I do a little speculating on my own account in the stationery line and then I am doing the Orderly Sergeant’s duty and keep our Commanding Officer’s Books and clerk for him for which I make them pay a nice thing. So much for having a good-shaped head.
Henry must be getting to be a large boy. How I would like to see him and all of you. Love to all. write to me about all our friends as far as heard from. Ever yours, — Frank Brown