1863: Andrew Henry Frame to Mary Lucy Tenney

This letter was written by Pvt. Andrew Henry Frame (1834-1923) of Co. A, 35th Massachusetts Infantry. The 35th Massachusetts was organized in August 1862, just in time to join the Army of the Potomac and participate in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam. After the Battle of Fredericksburg and the “Mud March”, the regiment was sent into Kentucky, to Mississippi, and then back to Kentucky where apparently Andrew became sick and was hospitalized in the fall of 1863. At the time he wrote this letter in November 1863, his regiment was engaged in the Knoxville Campaign and was located at Lenoir Station in Tennessee. Frame never was able to rejoin his regiment. He was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps in March 1864. He mustered out of the service in August 1865 after three years.

There is no envelope accompanying the letter and he only refers to his correspondent as “Lucy,” but a search on the internet reveals that there are other letters Pvt. Frame wrote and these were often to his friend, Mary Lucy Tenney of Byfield, Massachusetts. In one such letter describing the Battle of Fredericksburg, Frame wrote, “Thanks be to God — He spared my life. This battle was one of the greatest slaughter for a little while…it was a great blunder to make a charge upon those rifle pits…After we got up there, we [did] not see any one. The bullets came through our ranks very [thick] but we could not see the sons of sea cooks [Rebels]. They were hid in their rifle pits. We have lost 20 men to their one…”

Andrew H. Frame was the son of William Frame and Margaret Mary Gurney (1804-1891) of Newburyport, Massachusetts. He was married in North Bridgewater, Plymouth county, Massachusetts, in October 1866 to Adeline Celestia Snow (1836-1915).


Convalescent Camp Hospital
Hickman Bridge, Kentucky
November 10th 1863

Friend Lucy,

Your last letter was duly at hand a few days ago and was happy to hear from you once more. As for myself, I am more comfortable although I was examined by the surgeon a few days ago and he said that I had the heart complaint and my lungs were afflicted as we were station[ed] in those large wall tents without any stoves — especially when it is as cold as it was yesterday. It snowed all day and it was cold enough as I am confined in military prison — especially when a man is sick, cannot have the liberty to go where he wants to, It is strongly guarded so as to keep us in. I should much rather be with the regiment that be here but I do not intend to stop here all winter as I am in hopes to get well soon and return to my regiment and resume my duty once more. But while lying in this military, as I call it, without any privileges, it is a punishment to me for I always had the privileges to go where I wanted to. I miss all those hours of pleasure I greatly enjoyed in my hours of _____. Oh how I wish those hours was to meet me now in time of need but it cannot be helped, not now. I shall see good times again. Best not to worry too hard.

There is a story in circulation about the Massachusetts men going home to stay this winter. They have taken all their names but it is most too good to be true. Hope it was so for I do want to come home while I ____ my opinion in regard of this war. The Rebs cannot hold out a great while longer now. They are in a starving condition, short of clothing [and] barefooted. I think this war will be pretty well played out by the first of January 1864. In fact, they have a long piece of land extending from the Potomac River to the Mississippi River but it is too narrow. They cannot raise enough [food] to maintain an army of 200,000 men and their families besides. I shall not be surprised if they give in to the United States forces. I think to myself better times are coming.

Well, I must bring this to a close for I got to write a few lines to Jennie. My best regards to you and [your] folks. Hoping to hear from you soon again and direct yours as the letter is headed having heard you was well pleases with the fine art of ____.

From your affectionate friend, — A. H. Frame

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