This letter was written by Sgt. John H. Frain (1841-Aft1880) who enlisted as a corporal on 15 August 1862 in Co. G, 16th Maine Infantry. John was taken prisoner in the railroad cut during the fighting on the first day at Gettysburg while covering the retreat for Doubleday’s Division to withdraw from Oak Ridge west of town [see 16th Maine Regiment’s heroic stand]. He was taken prisoner again on 19 August 1864 at Weldon Railroad near Petersburg. He rose to the rank of 2d Lieutenant.
John was the son of Irish shoemaker Moses Frain (1805-18xx) and his wife Eliza (1817-18xx) of Madison, Somerset County, Maine.
Camp near Belle Plains, Virginia
April 5th, 1863
I received yours and Nettie’s and Walter’s letter last night and was glad to hear from you as I had not heard from you for ten days. Also two papers — a Farmer and a Transcript which I was very glad to get.
I have no news to write. It is snowing hard today. The roads were pretty dry before this snow. We expected to move before this but have not yet. We were reviewed by Maj. Gen. Hooker the other day — he is a fine looking man. I would not wonder if he would do the rebs something.
I saw Dennis Murphy last Sunday and Sophia Reed’s John Wyman. They are in the cavalry. I think I shall be orderly sergeant before long. That is next to a lieutenant. Our orderly has been recommended to the Governor for a lieutenancy in another company. If he gets it, I shall be orderly and have twenty dollars per month. I do a great deal of writing for the captain now. I had rather do it than not. It learns me to do business.
We expect to have some of the conscripts in our regiment to fill it up. I am glad John has got home. He was used up so. Tell him to write to me if he is able. You did not tell me what had become of Orison.
There was a great lot of company came in our tent so that there is no chance to write so I must close. Write soon and write all the news. Give my love to all. From your son, — John H. Frain
Send me a few stamps.