10 August 1863: “…send it via ‘Flag of Truce.'”

Item description: Letter dated 10 August 1863, from Benjamin Franklin Little to his wife, Mary Jane Reid, written from the General Hospital in Gettysburg.  Little describes himself as being in “captivity” and recovering from a wound to the arm, and directs his wife on how to send him mail through the Union army.

[transcription available below images]


Item citation: From folder 6 of the Benjamin Franklin Little Papers, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

General Hospital, Gettysburg, Penn. Aug 10th, 1863

My Dear Wife: I write for the 4th time since my captivity. My general health and strength have much improved within the past week.  My arm strength is doing well. The ligatures (at least several of them) are slower than usual in coming out.  Were they all out, my arm would heal very soon, though I suppose I have no right to complain.  I have had no unfavorable symptoms. Poor Stokes McRae dies on the 2nd.  He was resigned & requested that his fond mother & friends would meet him in heaven.  There is a capt. & Lt. from the 52nd here, both wounded.  One of our Lieuts. 52nd Regt. died here a few nights ago.  The weather is warm, but we have a pleasant place.  When you get this, please write me forthwith.  If John does not know of any other way, you may put your letter (one page) in an open envelope, with a confederate stamp on one corner & a federal stamp on the other, (I enclose 2 of the latter.) & enclose this in a sealed envelope, confederate stamp, to “Commissioner Robert Ould,” Richmond, Va, with a line requesting him to send it via “Flag of Truce.”  Address my letter to “Capt. B. F. Little, care of Dr. L. W. Oakley, Surgeon at General Hospital Gettysburg Penn.” My love to all.  Kiss the little darlings.  Be very careful as to your health & place your whole trust in our Heavenly Father.  I have you all in remembrance in my prayers.

Your own devoted husband, B. F. Little

Please write at once & send to Wadesboro, or Albemarle to be mailed.  Would that I knew you had received my former letters. F.

More about this item: B. F. Little served as an officer in the 52nd North Carolina Infantry Regiment.  The wound he describes in this letter may have been the amputation of his arm, which took place at some point in 1863 in a Union hospital.  Little also served in the North Carolina legislature from 1864-1865.

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