17 August 1863: “I can’t learn any thing about the chance of my getting home soon, but think we had better not build our hopes that way for the present.”

Item Description: Letter dated 17 August, 1863 from Benjamin F. Little (Frank) to his wife, Mary, from Gettysburg General Hospital in PA. Little had earlier lost his arm (see July 9). Little gives detailed instructions regarding mail between the U.S.A and the C.S.A. and sends his love to his family.


Item Citation: Folder 6, Benjamin F. Little Papers #03954, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

[Item transcription available below image]

18630817_01 18630817_02

Item Transcription:

General Hospital, Gettysburg, Penn.

Monday, August 17,th 1863.


My Dear Wife: This is the 5th letter since my captivity. I am still getting on well. Several of the ligatures are in my arm yet. The stump had healed except around those ligatures. I wish that to keep open until they (the ligatures) come out. The matter being discharged is of a healthy character. My general health is good and my strength is increasing. How thankful I should feel for God’s mercies. How marked they have been during my affliction. Oh, could I only hear that all were well at home. I repeat the instructions in my last as to your writing to me. If you do not know any other course (better inquire) write one page place it in an envelope (left open)  with confederate Stamp on one corner, 4 Federal Stamps, (which I enclose) on the other, directed to “Capt. B. F. Little, Care of Dr. L. W. Oakley, Surgeon as General Hospital, Gettysburg, Penn. Enclose this unsealed letter in a sealed one (with our stamp) to Commissioner Robert Ould, Richmond, Va. with a note requesting him to forward by “flag of truce”. Please enclose me 10 Confederate Stamps. I can’t learn any thing about the chance of my getting home soon, but think we had better not build our hopes that way for the present. But be hopeful and cheerful; and careful with your health. I heard the Rev. Dr. Franklin, father-in-law of Gen Jackson, preach a few evenings ago. He is a sprightly old gentleman. The Rev. Mr. Colton of Fayetteville, chaplain of the 53rd N.C. Regt., called to see me yesterday. But I must stop. I wish I was allowed to write several sheets. My love to Ma and John and family and don’t remember me and speak and think of me with sadness. My dreams of you (how oft they are) are bright, and I am I think, bless with all my usual cheerfulness. Our Heavenly Father sustained me. Your true and devoted husband, B.F. Little

Kiss the dear babies for me.


Be sure not to write any thing which the authorities would consider objectionable. Good-bye. 


(On back)

Tuesday, Aug. 18th

As well as usual. 

Weather pleasant.


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