This letter was written by Pvt. Benjamin Franklin Elliott (b. 1843) while serving in Co. E, 29th Indiana Infantry. He enlisted in September 1861 and mustered out of the regiment in September 1864 after three years. This letter was datelined 11 March 1863 from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where the regiment was encamped after the Battle of Stone’s River.
Pvt. Elliott mentions John “Harvey” Grable, his comrade in the 29th Indiana, and the brother of Mary F. Grable (1847-1915) to whom he addressed the letter. Harvey and Mary were the children of Samuel Grable (1801-1892) and Hannah Conrad (1807-1876). Harvey died at Chattanooga on 1 July 1864 and was buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery (Plot E#11651). In 1866, Mary Grable married James Ritchie Christie (1845-1925).
Addressed to Miss Mary F. Grable, Metea, Cass county, Indiana
March 11, 1863
I take the present opportunity to inform you that I am well at present and do truly hope these few lines will find you well. I received your kind letter the 9th and was glad to hear from you.
Well, Molly, I would like to be with you once more. You said that you would like me to be at old Harmony the last day of school. I would like to be there [too]. I think that we would have some gay old times. Well, Mary, I have not forgot the time we went a sleigh riding.
I have not heard from [your brother] Harvey since I wrote before. I wrote him a letter as soon as I heard where he was but have not received an answer yet.
Well, Mary, I would like to be there to embrace you in a social chat once more. Tell Cin [Cynthia] that I will write to her. I wrote to her some time ago but never got any answer. That is the reason why I did not write. No more at present. Write soon. I remain your friend, — B. F. Elliott
to Miss Mary F. Grable
When this you see
Far distant I be
In miles from thee