Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Frank H. Sterns Papers, 1862-1863

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, November 1993

Summary Information
Title: Frank H. Sterns papers
Creator: Sterns, Frank H., b. ca. 1841
Inclusive dates: 1862-1863
Extent: 11 items
Frank Sterns, a 21-year old clerk from Granby, Mass., enlisted as a private in the 52nd Massachusetts Infantry during the Civil War, rapidly earning promotions to Corporal and Sergeant. His seven letters and four incomplete letters cover subjects such as contrabands he guarded at Baton Rouge, a Confederate spy, and a brief description of the skirmish at Indian Bend.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1993. M-2971.9.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.


Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Frank H. Sterns Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Sterns, Frank H., b. ca. 1841

Rank : Private; Corporal; Sergeant

Regiment : 52nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Co. G (1862-1865)

Service : 1862 August 29-1863 August 14

The 52nd Massachusetts Infantry were a nine-months' regiment raised in Franklin and Hampshire Counties in August, 1862. Frank Sterns, a 21-year old clerk from Granby, Mass., enlisted as a private in Company G, rapidly earning promotions to Corporal and Sergeant. In December, the 52nd were included in Nathaniel P. Banks' expedition to Louisiana, arriving at Baton Rouge on December 17th and remaining there over winter.

In the early Spring, the 52nd Regiment became somewhat more active. On March 13th, they took part in the demonstration against Port Hudson, and although they drove to within a few hundred yards of the Confederate works and held an advance position for almost 48 hours, in the end they were forced back. On March 31st, the regiment joined Grover's Division in an expedition up Bayou Lafourche, and on April 9th, they were engaged at Indian Bend, but not in the assault on nearby Fort Bisland four days later. After this latter expedition, four companies of the 52nd were assigned to guard duty at New Iberia, and the remainder were sent to Barre's Landing on Bayou Cortableau.

The regiment reassembled late in May, and on the 30th, marched to Port Hudson. After a brief excursion to Clinton on June 5th-8th, the regiment returned to Port Hudson and took part in the general engagement on the 14th of June, losing three men, with another seven wounded. Six days later, they again came under attack while guarding a wagon train near Jackson's Cross Roads, but remained in the area until the surrender of Port Hudson on July 9th. Their enlistment elapsed, the 52nd Massachusetts were sent north and mustered out of the service at Greenfield, Mass., on August 14th.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Sterns letters are a collection of seven letters and four incomplete letters written by Frank Sterns that describe aspects of his Civil War service. Two letters that are particularly noteworthy are the ones in which Sterns describes contrabands he is guarding at Baton Rouge, and a letter in which Sterns discusses a Confederate soldier who deserted, enlisted in the 52nd Infantry, but then deserted back to the Confederate side after gathering information. Sterns also provides a brief account of the skirmish at Indian Bend.

Subject Terms

    • United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 52nd (1862-1863)
    • New Orleans (La.)--Description and travel.
    • Spies--Confederate States of America.
    • United States. Army--Commissariat.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African Americans.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   47, Schoff Civil War Collection  
    Frank H. Sterns papers,  1862 May 15-1863 June 18 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    • n.d. (2)
    Indian Bend (La.), Skirmish at, 1863.
    • 1863 April 18
    • n.d. (1)
    New Orleans (La.)
    • n.d. (3)
    Plaquemines (La.)--Maps.
    • n.d. (1)
    • 1863 January 15
    Spies--Confederate States of America.
    • 1863 January 15
    United States. Army--Commissariat.
    • [1862] December 30-1863 January 1
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African Americans.
    • [1862] December 30-1863 January