This letter was written by Pvt. Franklin (“Frank”) Moore of Co. A, 15th Veteran Reserve Corps. Frank formerly served as a sergeant in Co. C, 92nd Ohio Infantry until he was reduced in rank and later transferred to the Invalid Corps (renamed Veteran Reserve Corps) on 24 November 1863. The cause of Frank’s inability to continue duty with the 92nd Ohio is unknown but in this letter he complains of a weakness in one of his legs. [Note: See comment below regarding soldier’s possible identity]
In general, the Veteran Reserve Corps were put to work guarding Confederate prisoners as well as serving provost duty and guarding railroads — any duty that did not require extensive physical exercise.
In this letter, written from Camp Douglas — a prison camp for Confederate prisoners, Frank tells his wife of the 4th of July celebration held at the camp in 1864. The prison guards were being supplied, at the time, by men from the 8th and 15th Veteran Reserve Corps. Between the two corps, there were approximately 1,000 men to guard as many as 8,000 Confederate prisoners.
Camp Douglas, Illinois
July 4th 1864
I seat myself this pleasant evening to answer your kind letter that came to hand last week. It found me in good health and I hope these few lines may find you the same.
Sarah, this is the fourth [of July] and a pleasant time I have had. I was on grand review and grand dress parade. Two regiments was all in line of battle and we had a foot race and a pig chase. All the fancy people from the city was in camp today. Sarah, I cannot tell you all in this letter. I will tell all when I come home. We had 2 pieces of artillery ¹ in camp and they was fired about 100 shots and I am very tired. I have been on my feet all day and my leg is about played out.
Sarah, you spoke about Vine writing to me that she was a going to get married and it is a failure. Tell Vine I think she is a coward. She is afraid to get in bed with a man. Tell her that she is too nice to do the like and her man is the same — too nice to sleep both in one bed. I will put her through when I come home.
Sarah, I will close for the present hoping to hear from you soon. I will answer Mary’s few lines.
With pleasure I seat myself to answer your short letter that came in Sarah’s last one. Mary, I have but little time to write this time but I will say this — I was pleased to hear from you and when you write again, write more than you did in your last. Mary, I want you to be ready to get married when I come home. Mary, please excuse these few lines and I will tell all when I come. Tell Lib that I want her to write to me and tell me all the news and when she is a going to get a man.
I will close for this time hoping to hear from you all soon and often. No more but remain yours, — Frank Moore
Mrs. Sarah Moore and Sisters Vine and Mary and Lib and all the rest.
I send my love to all. Goodbye. — F. Moore
¹ The 24th Independent Battery was garrisoned at Camp Douglas at the time of this letter.