This letter was written by Francis (Frank) Marion Faurot (1835-1897) who enlisted at Brookville in Co. E, 16th Indiana Infantry on 23 April 1861 and served until 23 May 1862. In 1860, the year prior to his enlistment, Francis was employed as a school teacher, living at home with his parents, John Holiday Faurot (1802-1891) and Jane Chance (1807-1888), of Laurel township, Franklin county, Indiana. Frank wrote the letter to Mary Esther Pruden (1840-1885) with whom he married in September 1863. By 1880, Frank and his family had moved to Greenfield, Hancock county, Indiana. He died there in 1897 and is buried in Park Cemetery in Greenfield.
The service record for the 16th Indiana (1 Year) is as follows: Duty at Pleasant Valley, Md., until August 17, 1861, and at Darnestown until October 21. Operations about Ball’s Bluff October 21-24. Action at Goose Creek and near Edward’s Ferry October 22. Camp at Seneca Creek until December 2, and at Frederick City until February, 1862. Moved to Harper’s Ferry, W. Va., February 27, and to Charleston March 1. March to Winchester March 10-12. Strasburg March 27. Operations in the Shenandoah Valley until April. Duty at Warrenton, Va., April 2 to May 22. Reconnaissance to the Rappahannock River April 7. Ordered to Washington, D.C., May 12, and mustered out May 14, 1862.
Camp near Hyattstown, Montgomery county, Maryland
August 28th 1861
It is with pleasure I acknowledge the receipt of yours of August 14th which came to hand 27th. I assure you, it was read [with] care and the greatest of interest. Mary, you don’t know how much pleasure it relieves me to get a letter from so friend—one that I know to be a friend. I had almost come to the conclusion that my friends were but few. I never heard a word from Indiana since I came away until about four days ago, I received a letter from home.
Dear Mary, how I do think of the pleasant times that is past. Pleasant moments have past, I fear never to return. All the pleasant moments I have [now] is when I think over the pleasant times we have wiled away together—those, for instance, that you spoke of in your letter—at Mr. Secret’s. When I came to that in reading your letter, it brought pleasant moments to accompany me. But really it is but thoughts. How much it would relieve me to be there to enjoy them as I have done. Instead of that, I am situated down here in almost a savage country amongst a large body of soldiers. I can see but little pleasure in their company. It is everyone for themselves here and there is so many of them that is so rough and wicked. It is but little pleasure I see in their company.
Oh Mary, how much pleasure it would be for me to enjoy a civil life once more. If ever I get to a civil home once more, I think I will know how to appreciate it. I never knew anything about hardships until I started soldiering. Our provisions for the last 5 weeks are as follows: sea crackers, salt bacon, and coffee for breakfast; salt meat, boiled beans, and sea crackers for dinner; the same for supper. The bread is just hard as a board. It takes a person that has good teeth to make any headway eating. The citizens sometimes brings in bread and butter to sell but the soldiers bought but little. The reason was they had not the means to buy with. We never received one cent until 4 or 5 days ago. I don’t believe there was $10 in the whole regiment amongst the privates until payday. Now for a few days they have had living pretty nice.
We have just received marching orders this moment. We will strike our tents at six o’clock in the morning and start from here. I don’t know where we will go. It is supposed that we will go to Jamestown, Va. We never know where we go until we get there.
I will give you a sketch of our travels from Sandy Hook. We struck our tents and took up our line of march [on the] 15th. The first day we had a rough, mountainous country to travel over and after a march of 22 miles, we pitched our tents for the night in a pleasant valley. It rained nearly all night. The next morning we struck our tents at 6 o’clock and took up our line of march. That day we marched 8 miles through the rain and mud and that night we encamped on a little river called Manocacy. There we stayed about 4 days. Then we took up our line of march 8 or 9 miles, reached the place we are now encamped near a little town called Hyattstown. We are stationed on a beautiful hill, mountains all around us. The great Sugar Loaf Mountains is about 3 miles from us south, in plain view. They look beautiful from where we are. It is about 8 miles to the Potomac River south.
It is now 10 o’clock and I am obliged to blow the light out as we have marching orders tomorrow morning at 6 o’clock. I can’t get to finish my letter until we stop again. Good night.
30th [August 1861]. I now attempt to finish writing. We struck our tents yesterday morning at six o’clock and took up our line of march. It commenced raining about the time we started and kept it up all day steady. The mud, I think, would average 6 inches. You may know it was ridiculous after about ten thousand troops marched over it and raining all the time. After marching about 15 miles, we stopped for the night without any supper or tents. Our provision wagons were left behind owing to the bad roads. They could not keep up. So we had to lay down on the ground and sleep in the open air. It was the most disagreeable thing that I ever experienced—to march all day through the mud and rain and [then] lay down without anything to eat or protect us from the air. We were just as wet as rain would make us. It was a comfort for us to lay down on our oil cloths and rest. I fell asleep and did not wake until next morning. Our wagons has not come yet and it is about ten o’clock. I feel at this time very much like eating but I won’t get anything to eat until the wagons come. There is one consolation we have—it is a nice, clear morning. We can dry our clothes.
I think we will stay here until the wagons come and we get something to eat. Then we will march on. I think we are going to Manassas from the direction we are going. I did think we were going to Washington but we left the Washington road 20 miles from the city and turned to the right. We expect to cross the Potomac River at Edward’s Ferry about 5 miles from here. There we expect to find McClellan’s force—I think about 40,000 strong. There is about 60,000 in our column. The two columns together will make a strong force. We are in Banks’ Column.
Our wagons have just come. I will finish writing now before I stop unless we get marching orders. Charlie is a teamster. He hauls out provisions. Him and I is in the same mess. I will give you the names of our mess. There is twelve in a mess—two tents, six in each tent. I will give you the names of those in our tent; viz: Richard Reed, J. Reed, J. Howland, John Gifford, Charlie & myself. The other six is boys from Connersville. We have all nice fellows in our mess. We get along without any trouble. Three of the boys that I named is from Brookville; the other three you know. Charlie and I gets out together sometimes and talk about home and C. Ridge. Oh that we could see the time once more. We did not appreciate it at that time. I can see now where the pleasure was.
You spoke of us getting married last spring. If we had, I would not have been here. I could not bear the idea of leaving a wife on such an expedition as this. We have samples here. Them that are married are lamenting their absence from home. I think it is the wrong place here for them, so I think, Mary, we are both happier than we would be if we were married. If I get through alive, I hope happiness is awaiting us. I have nearly 8 months to serve. Then I will be through with one bargain.
I don’t know when I can put this in the [post] office. I will put in the office the first opportunity. I am much obliged to you for the paper you sent me. You wanted to know if there was anything that you could send me. There is nothing that I can think of—only plenty of paper filled with news. That was such a good letter I received from you. It is pleasure for me to read it everyday. Mary, write often. It is the only pleasure I have reading letters from home.
They are getting ready to march so I will have to quit writing. This paper is mussed so I am almost ashamed to send it. I carried it in my cartridge box all day yesterday in the rain. This is the paper you sent me. When I received it, it was neat and clean. It is far from it now. I must quit writing. Write soon. Charlie send his best respects. He wants you to remember him. No more this time.
From your friend that loves you, — F. M. Faurot
P. S. Write soon. Give me all the news. Tell how everybody is getting along.
To Miss M. E. Pruden