Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Francis Brown Papers, 1864-1865

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, November 1997

Summary Information
Title: Francis Brown papers
Creator: Brown, Mary
Inclusive dates: 1864-1865
Extent: 26 items
Abstract:
The Francis Brown papers describe Brown's experience as a cook for the 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery Regiment stationed outside of Washington, D.C. during the Civil War.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1983. M-2093.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Francis Brown Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.


Biography

Brown, Francis

Rank : Private

Regiment : 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery Regiment. Co. C (1864-1865)

Service :1864 ca. August-1865 September?

Francis Brown, of Manchester, N.H., served in one of the many heavy artillery units manning the defenses of Washington during the latter stages of the war. Stationed first at Fort Williams, Va., but transferred shortly to Fort Smeades, near Fort De Russy, the move from Virginia foiled Brown's attempt to be detailed to a surgeon. Soon after his unit's arrival, however, the enlisted men forced the removal of the regiment's two cooks from their jobs, dissatisfied partly because the cooks had been selling portions of the company's coffee supply for personal profit. Brown was chosen to fill one of the cookhouse vacancies, and turned this appointment to profitable advantage by selling grease from the cookhouse.

A Protestant evangelical with strong religious convictions, Brown found the ugliness of the war and camp life a test of his Christian values. While he received encouragement from family members during these trials -- including his wife, Mary, and brother-in-law, Jonathon Sleeper -- his shiftless son Frank compounded Brown's worries, proving even a greater agitation for Mary.


Collection Scope and Content Note

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.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Cookery, Military--United States--History--19th century.
    • Fathers and sons.
    • Soldiers--Religious life.
    • United States. Army--Cooks.
    • United States--Armed Forces--Messes--History--19th century.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   33, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Francis Brown papers,  1864 October 31-1865 May 21 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    Constitution--Amendments--13th.
    • 1865 February 1
    Cookery, Military.
    • 1865 February 5
    • 1865 February 8
    • 1865 March 2
    • 1865 March 22
    • 1865 March 25
    Courts martial and courts of inquiry.
    • 1865 March 25
    Deserters, Military.
    • 1864 December 4
    Draft--Substitution.
    • 1865 February 8
    Embezzlement.
    • 1865 March 22
    Fathers and sons.
    • 1865 January 8
    • 1865 January 9-10
    • 1865 January 20
    • 1865 May 21
    Fishing.
    • 1865 March 29
    Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
    • 1865 April 1
    Prostitutes.
    • 1864 December 4
    • 1865 April 1
    Richmond (Va.)--Capture, 1865.
    • 1865 April 5
    Schools.
    • 1865 January 8
    • 1865 January 9-10
    Sexually transmitted diseases.
    • 1864 December 4
    • 1865 April 1
    Slavery.
    • 1865 February 1
    Soldiers--Alcohol use.
    • 1864 October 31
    • 1864 December 4
    • 1865 January 20
    • 1865 February 5
    • 1865 April 5
    Soldiers--Religious life.
    • 1865 January 5
    • 1865 January 8
    • 1865 February 15
    • 1865 March 22
    • 1865 April 5
    Soldiers--Suffrage.
    • 1865 March 13
    Swearing.
    • 1865 March 22
    • 1865 April 5
    United States. Army--Cooks.
    • 1864 October 31
    • 1865 January 8
    • 1865 January 9-10
    • 1865 January 20
    • 1865 February 5
    • 1865 March 2
    • 1865 March 22
    • 1865 March 25
    • 1865 March 29
    • 1865 May 6
    United States. Army--Officers.
    • 1864 December 12
    • 1865 March 2
    United States. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.
    • 1865 March 22
    • 1865 March 29
    • 1865 May 6