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Transcribed by: Cheryl Canty
Typed as is

Letters from Benjamin Franklin Marsh during the Civil War

Head Quarters 8th Mich Vol.
Green River Ky
May 8th 1863

Dear Mother I must say a few words to you and Sarah too I have plenty of time today for I am out on Picket it is just sundown now it has been a beuatiful day and I have enjoyed myself very well in reading the news of yesterdays paper which I bought this morning when the stage passed our post we have to pay ten cts for a paper here so I dont buy many.

Oh Mother how I wish you enjoyed as good health as I do I wish you could see me I am fat as a Pig. now I must tell you what I am going to have for supper I have got some pork and a piecs of ham a dozen eggs some good green tea and to tap out with some of Old Abes crackers.

now if I only some of mothers buiscake I could have a nice supper for I have got a dish to cook them in. now I suppose you think I am having hard times but I dont I like very well I think we shall have good times this summer as our division is ordered to stay in kentucky and keep Old Morgan out and all other rebs well it is getting late and I must stay and get my supper I want to say a few words to Freddy in this Good Night

Sunday May 10th 1863

well freddy I guess you have begun to think I did not think enough of you to write to you but not so. I have been very busy for some time and could not get time to write to all so I hope you will forgive me and write me a good long letter when you get this. you must tell me all about the school and the town people & I wish I could see you this fine morning I could tell you some stories worth your attention but we must wait for a while I should like to see you all but I dont want to come home untill I can come to stay. I should like to come over and visit your school some day but we are pretty busy and I dont think I shall come but you must be a good boy in school also at home be kind to mother do all you can to help her I suppose it is about time for you to make Garden I hope you will have a good one this summer for I may be home this fawl to eat some roast potatoes with you now freddy I hope you will write me a grand long letter soon tell the folks around home I am well and doing first rate - I like Old Kentucky the best of any state we have been in yet I should like to live here in time of Peace.

Well now my paper is full and I must close Give my respects to all enquiring friends if I have any such Give Mother and Sarah my Love and except it yourself

Yours Truly F.H. Holmes

B.F. Marsh

(around the paper)

I wish I was home to attend church with you today Mother but I shall spend the day the best way I can as I shall be relieved from duty now in a few minutes

Please let me know if you get the things I send in the second (runs off copy of page)

Cincinatti Ohio
Aug 19th 1863

Dear Mother the present day finds me well we have been on move again we were on the boat ten days and on the cars two. then found ourselves in Cincinatti. it is a beautiful Place a very large place too.

Will Shaw and George Carnes are here in the Hospital some where in the city- I have heard from them they are getting well doing fine, I could not go and see them for it is impossible to get away from our officers for they put on so much state when we are in place they think they are ground Gods I suppose. but thank the Lord there is a day comeing when shoulder straps will play out. when a private will have as much power as they and when that day comes some of them will get their just dues. I am not complaining of their misuseing me yet I get along all right as yet but to see how some of the boys are used it makes me dislike any man that wares the straps.

I dont know but you may think I am getting sick of writting home as I have not written very often of late but it is because I have not had any chance to write as we have been moving so much. no mother I am just as anxious to hear from home as ever I was. and just as anxious to write as you are to hear from me and I hope we are where can write oftener and get letters from home in less time. we are now not far from Home and can get letters in a short time we are going to stop in Kentucky to day and I am very glad for I think ky is the healthiest country we have ever been in as yet such good water in any part of Ky. there is a plenty of good water. down in Mississippi we had very poor water all the time we drank water there that was thick with dirt and mud and at Jackson we fairly suffered for water of any kind when we were on the front in line of battle but that time is past and Old Frank is all sound yet - (Bulley for that)

Well Mother I guess you will think this a dry letter at least I do for I am out of practice and cant think of any thing to write. but you will see by this if it is dry that I am in good health. I hope this will find you all well. I think you are getting along nicely at home so far and I hope we will get our pay soon so I can send you some money we expect our pay soon. how do you get along for wood and in fact all things do you stand in need of any thing you cannot get I dont want you to deprive yourself of any thing that money will buy for you can have all you want to use if I can get it for you and if I dont send it often enough go to Mr. Spauldings and get what you want. Tell Sarah to be a good girl for I think this war will soon close and I want to find a sister at home that I can feel proud of if I live to return and I think that six short months more will bring us all home this is full write soon

from your Loving Son

B.F. Marsh

(around the pages)

Address B.F. Marsh Co S 8th Mich Infty 9th ?? Cincinatti Ohio

tell Freddie I have not forgotten him I will write to him soon he must be a good boy.

Aug 19th 1863

Oh Mother I suppose you dont care how long a letter I write so I will put in a little more of my nonsence I dont know as it will be worth reading but I will leave that for you to judge. first I want to ask a few questions you said Liddie had been to our house did she say anything about getting a letter from me I have written to her and never recd any letter from her. and how does Mr. Birdsalls folks get along does Mat drink as bad as ever I dreamed of being at home the other night I had a good visit with you all and the neighbors. I really enjoyed myself.

every thing seemed as natural as could be if I were there.

Now as for Will Cole and Isac K. I suppose their folks will enquire after them as for Bill he is doing first rate it is making a man out of him comming from home. but as far as Ike I dont know what to say of him I guess he never will be any body. I have tried my best to make a man of him I have talked to him in every way to get him to do different but he only curses me in the worst way he can to pay me for it. and I am discouraged trying he spends all his money for little foolish things he has bought two Old Brass Watches last payand he paid $15.00. fifteen dollars for one and let one of the boys take it and I guess he has diserted and now he has bought another one for eight dollars to Pay for when we are payed again I guess he will owe all his wages when we are paid but I cant help it I have said all I should for I have got tired of being sworn at by him.

you will think by the head of my letter that we are in Cincinatti but we are not we are across the river near Covington Ky. it is just opposite Cin---

I expect we will get a big mail to night as in the morning for we have only had one mail since we started on our journey and the boys went to the office after the mail yesterday for our Brig they said there were five bags full I hope some of it is for me if it is I suppose it will be from home for all the girls have soured on me and stoped waiting I guess I shall have to advertise in some of the papers for a corispondant as some of the boys have or write oftener home which will suit you best. but I see this is full so Good day

Write often

Petersburg Va June 17th 1864

Dear Mother thinking a few words from me would be acceptable with you I will try to pen you a short time. I am to tired to write much but will tell you that we have arived at this place or as near as the Johnie will allow as they hold the town, we reached here last night about four or five o'clock after making a march of some thirty-two (or five) miles from half past five o'clock Wensday night till about four thursday night we marched all night steady crossed the James river on a pontoon bridge some 150 yards long taking 103 boats to tug it that was the longest bridge of its kind ever known I believe.

Oh may be I was not tired any no I guess not

Well here I saw this morning I believe I am all here

(cannot read) the box the most

(cannot read) nearly played out, at least I thought so last night as we were (cannot read) shine out to (cannot read) near buy as we were ???? our Old Captain I fear our company will go down for we only had two Corporals last night to show all our Sergts our back and the Lieut not many in charge of the company was so far in the rear I only saw him twice in marching nearly two miles when we came to form a line the command was given by companies into line march but we had a officer to repeat the command. I was at the head of our company! and called for him; several times but could not find him we formed our line in a line of ?itt. and remained until the next (cannot read). but I am ahead of my time as I finished the (cannot read)tance called for him we were ordered side line to advance we marched up about half a mile and lay down in a ravien in the hot sun about eleven O'clock waiting for orders and the next thing I know I found myself about one mile in the rear laying under a tree with one of ??? taking care of me I felt for my watch and found it gone. I asked him what time it was he said half past four, so you see I had lain from eleven until about four without speaking or knowing anything and I was as wet as if I had been thrown into a ???. I was left all alone at dark without any water having lost my canteen this morning I got up and took my things and went down to the front about half a mile and found our cooks also one of my our Sergents that had my watch he said Clark Dibble gave it to him to keep for me I suppose Clark took it so as to not have it stole. I have been with the Cook all day it is now five O'clock. Isac Kidney came in about two hours ago from the Regt they were in the skirmish line when he left he was wounded very slight in the head the ball passed between the part toward that lineing but did not go through the lineing it got his head just enough to make it bleed a little he will be able for duty I think.

all other fenton guys are all right as yet

Your ??? ????

B.F. Marsh

Petersburg Virginia
Sunday June 19th 1864

Well Mother I am ??? ??? to well this morning only ???? ???? sleepy after bening up all night cooking returns and carrying to our ???. I have a little bad news for Fentonville from the yesterdays fight. George B. Carnes, was killed he was shot in the head and died in a short time, I did not see him after I was sunstruck the boys say he was one that helped carry me off, him and Clark Dibble! I saw Kidney! and George W. Foote. poor George he is done with all his troubles here below! he has never enjoyed himself since he received the news of his wife--running away it has worn on him dreadfully! but the poor boy is over all that now! I have a silk handkerchief also a pocket book which I suppose his folks would like to have and I ought to write them a line I suppose but I do not know how to write to his folks on such a sad occasion but I have received his accounts in the Company which are large. I suppose it must be sent to his folks for pay! so I will write his father a short line which you will please send to him so I will close my letter to you as I have got to work a board for my grave. I am doing well Mother

I think I will get along if I only (cannot read) which I shuld try to ??? ??? a time.

(around edge of paper)
Isac Kidney is doing fine this morning, he got all wounded

Oh Mother I have forgotten Sarah but you will please give her my love tell her I will write to her today hoping to hear from you, soon

I will close Your ever dutiful Son

B.F. Marsh

The following is a letter Frank wrote to his Mother on a Medical Discharge paper. He took it upon himself to fill in all the categories. I have included all information on page.
This letter shows a glimpse of Franks humor :)

ROLL OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN belonging to the Hon. 8th Veteran Regiment of Michigan (Infty Leut. Heals) United State Army, commanded by Lieut. Col. Ralph Eley ??? ___, that are unfit for active service, on account of wounds or

disease contracted in the line of duty, but are not for duty in the Invalid Corps, on the 21st day of September 4681 186 , and now in ex?rinti?s at Burnside Minagery in the Big Pine Woods in State of Virginia.

Name: Benjamin F. Marsh
Rank: Corpl.
Company: G
Years of Age: 22
Eyes: Dark
Hair: Dark
Complexion: Dark
Feet: 5
Inches: 11
Where Born
State or Kingdom: New York
Town or Country: Persia
Occupation: Farmer
Joined for Service
When: Aug 9th/62
Where (Town and State): Fenton, Mich
By Whom Enlisted: Wm ?. Guest
For What Period: 3 years or ????? dis-
Mustered Into Service
When: Aug 9th
Where (Town and State) : Fenton, Mich
By Whom: Wm ?. Guest
Last Paid
By Paymaster: Newvalhenburg
To What Time: Nov 1st
Paid: $25.
Due: $75.00
Clothing Account
Due U.S.: 00$
Due Soldier: $18.00
Length of Time in Hospital: two months
Nature of Disability: Dazziness
How Long Disabled: 2 months
Character in Hospital: Rascal
Remarks: said Marsh ought to be discharged

Div. Hashdut 8th Carpas? (this line is difficult to figure out)
South side of Petersburg Vir.
Sept 21st 1864

Dear Mother Sister and Brother
and all friends included as I am gen(obliterated) make a weeks job or perhaps a month I will begin another large S?als.
I am happy to day this state (or duty) finds me well with the excepting of a bad cold. Recd two letters from home yesterday one of Sept 14th 1864 one Aug 17th, 1863 a Str?eler from Missisippi I think it must be a Vet. by this time at least both letters continued guard news. We have been having some music this morning at sun rise (100) guns was fired over Sheridens Victory in the Valley And the ki?s did not perpose to let us do all the firing so they assisted us some but was naturally very Careless and fired their guns without taking out their shot and shell. And the tanks done the same by them I think it a careless way of saluting any one. Now I think they have made a sad mistake this morning with their salute for my Birthday is day after tomorrow instead of today I think there is some misunderstanding on the matter somewhere but I will let it all go this time hoping the 21st of Next Sept will find me as well as I am this day.

1-30 P.M., I must pencil a little before (Line obliterated)supper we had all of Mush & Milk, corn cakes & butter apple sauce and Tea. and I think that was good enough for Abraham Lincoln, B. Frank. Marsh or any other man,But I am not going to fill this tonight for I do not feel very well, have been in a puzzle all this PM to know which to do give up sick or keep to work but will see how I feel tomorrow as I am going to Doctor up some tonight Good Night to one and all.

2-20 P.M. Thurs 22nd
Well now as the dinner dishes are washed and all work done untill supper time, I will try to make use of the pencil again. We had a steady rain all night and have had a very good day thus far there has been no rain since Sun rise but it is rather Cloudy now. I shall expect more rain tonight. I have been waiting to go to the Regt all day to see the boys that start for home in the morning but we have been very busy all day. I had a nice boiled dinner of Cabbage Potatoes Pork Bread & Butter and a nice Boiled Pudding with currants in it. So we have not had much time and then to not feel like walking two miles and back before suppertime I would like to see Hiram Hibbard as he goes so near home you will see him no doubt, but I will hasten this news paper along and I guess it will do as well - You said in your last that Clark Dibble was at home, I am very glad to hear he is home and doing as well as he is, it seems as if it was but a few days since I saw the Doctor taking the ball out of his shoulder time is passing fast (line obliterated) like a big mountain to climb, and so it is for a soldier but come to look back that length of time it seems like one month.Now as far as being excepted as Vets you need not fear for they have taken our names from the Muster Rools once, and now if they put them on again without our consent we can fix them for it. But I think before my time is end this War will be over for this fawl and winter must crush them with the grasp we now have on them here now it is quite certain that they must drive us from their Ruil Rouds (which they commit to) or leave Petersburg soon there is some talk that they are Evacuating already at least it is very still in that part of our lines. they seem to feel very bad about the fall of Atlanta still they contend that it is but a small loss to them as they did the Veldon R.R. and at the same time were using every effort to drive us from it and lost very heavy in every attempt, But now they think if they can only get McLellen for President they will be all right. they say it will bring Peace in immediately and that in their (power or furor) and I guess when they get get him they will. - for the very good reason they never can Ellect Little MS,,----- Well I must stop and get supper, and the question is what shall we have for supper this 22nd day of September 1864.

6-45, P.M. Well mom I am m?st ??? and certainly you will want to know (obliterated) so I will tell you, in the first place I just wish Gen. U.S. Grant would issue an Order for every Chaplin and every member of the Christian Commission and Sanitary institution, should leave the Army of the Patomac for good, and my reasons are that the most of them are a class of men too infernal Lazy to work for a living so they came here to spunge their living and of the things sent us from our friends at Home. I just wish the Soldiers friends in Michigan and all over the states would once see just how they live and what a host of niggers and other Lazy lubbers, they keep around it is just like this they always live on the best the Hardy affords and then if there is anything for the sick they get a little taste of the leavings. they live far better than they ever did or even can at home and I think it a perfect shame, for there are plenty of men that are honest enough to be trusted with these things so the sick and wounded will get their Dues, but never mind it say nothing, things will not always last in this way I do hope -

Sept-23rd 18.64 6-30 P.M.
(To Mother)
Dear Mother. This my birth day A.D. 1864 finds me in good health and Oh how very thankful I am, that God has spared my life and protected me through the great dangers of the past two years and through my whole life and why I do hope he will spare my life still longer. if I live to witness my next birth day I will be a free man once more and ?? how thankfull I am for the restoration of my health again Why mother you can look at the picture I sent you from Ky. and judge how (cannot read this part) now. for I weigh five lbs more today than (Line obliterated)??? did before which is 156 1/2 lbs I am Grandfathers little Frank what would he think to see me walk into his house now I guess he would ??? some dont you? ( a change in the program Pencil sharpened) Well I have been up to the Regt. this P.M. to see the the? Boys that were going home but they were gone (left this morning - - - - - - But I found Trume, henman, & Douglas Eddy in the Regt. and had a good visit with them and (A?t, Terry,) they are all well And as for the boys from (F) in my Company there is only two besides (B. Frank) myself they are well. that is Isac K??ney & Phineus, Allen. I have not recd a letter from N.Y. since the last one I sent you and I am looking for one at every mail I recd a letter from Freddy a few days ago he was well and wrote me a good letter, I also recd one from Augustus of Sept 6th have not heard from Ed in a long time he does not deem me worthy of his notice I expect. (you never say anything about getting letters from him but I suppose he writes ((obliterated)(Line obliterated) ???. Recd a letter from Burton Sanger of Sept 14th he said he was doing well.Oh Dear me I am tired and will not write any more tonight for we have got a new (Feather) Bed made ??t st??? and I am anxious to try it so Good Night.

Sat Sept 24th Well as for (B.F.) me I feel rather old and lazy today after my hard days work yesterday to keep from getting a pounding I told the boys at my company it was my Birthday just as I left for the Hospital I had to be rather shy for I did not have two to help me as I did one year ago. That was deWitt S. and John Benbourn of my Company. mine is the 23rd John the 25th and DeWitts the 28th so we joined our forces to protect each other but I had no one to assist my this time and they tried every way they even came in on the Flank movements, but I judge h??? ??? now for much (obliterated)There was another salute fired this A.M. over Gen. Sheridens Victory in the Valley the 2nd battle 5,000 Prisoners and 16 pieces of artillery Well I must stop and get supper I suppose So good afternoon

Sunday Sept 25th 1864
Now I must try to finish this little Letter still I dont know as I have anything worth writting but I do know I have not much time to write for the man I have to help me has gone up to his regt to get his pay so I have all the work to do I am going up to see about my pay tomorrow and perhaps go to stay for I am as fit as a pie now and I guess I am good for anything I ever was if it only keeps cool weather and I think it will I have been like snales for two months past you know they trained early in the morning and (line obliterated) that is the way I have done but I (cannot read)must close soon there has been heavy firing (artillery) on our right all day I think is on Gen Bolters (sp) front we have not recd any news from there yet- But Mother I must hasten to a close Please remember me to all enquiring friends if there be any such and accept the Love of Your Affectionate Son

B.F. Marsh Co. G. 8th
Mich.V.V.B. 9th Corps
Washington D.C.

(Items written around the paper)

New oh-
Please write often to your son Frank
Well folks how do you like his style of a letter. I just hope you write me as long a one if it takes all you to do it and if you cant just call in the neighbors

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