Francis Brown papers 1864-1865
Collection Scope and Content Note
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The Francis Brown papers consist of twenty-six letters, twenty-three of which were written by Brown to his wife and son while in the service of the 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery in the defenses of Washington. Brown describes his duties as cook, the menu for the troops, and his methods of supplementing the army diet, such as fishing and collecting fifty cents from each man to purchase fruits and vegetables. He also discusses a side line he had developed to earn extra income: selling grease from the cookhouse. In addition to bits of everyday camp life, Brown discusses reforms in system of draft substitution, absentee voting by soldiers, and the problems caused by drunkenness and prostitutes. In writing to Frank, Brown urges him to help his mother and to practice his writing so that he can write to his father.
The collection also contains one letter from Mary to Brown and two from Jonathon Sleeper to Brown. Nearly every letter is accompanied by an envelope pre-printed with Mary's name and address, an oddity for a private soldier.