William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
C. Frank Shepard Papers, 1861-1862
James S. Schoff Civil War CollectionFinding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, May 1992
C. Frank Shepard papers
In August 1861, Frank Shepard enlisted in the 1st Michigan Cavalry. His papers consist of 8 letters written to his wife, Amanda, during the early months of the Civil War.
The material is in English.
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open to research.
Copyright status is unknown.
C. Frank Shepard Papers, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Shepard, C. Frank, b. ca. 1830
Rank : Sergeant
Regiment : 1st Michigan Cavalry Regiment. Co. D (1861-1866)
Service : 1861 August 12-1862 June
In August, 1861, Frank Shepard left his wife, Amanda, and young child at home in Owosso, Mich., and travelled to Ovid to enlist in Company D of the 1st Michigan Cavalry. After gathering at Camp Lyon, near Detroit, the 1st Cavalry was posted to Camp Rucker, Washington, D.C., for the months of October and November, and wintered near Frederick, Md.
In February, 1862, the comparative calm came to an end when the regiment linked up with Geary's 28th Pennsylvania Cavalry to join in Nathaniel Banks' operations in the Shenandoah Valley. Late in February, Banks seized Harper's Ferry, Charlestown, and several other strategic towns on both sides of the Blue Ridge, and by mid-March had forced Stonewall Jackson's forces to evacuate Winchester. During these operations, the 1st Michigan participated in the Battles of Kernstown and Winchester -- where they earned special mention from Banks for helping to avert an even greater defeat -- and in both engagements at Front Royal during May. Shepard, like many others, relished in the self-image of the dashing cavalryman, and was gratified when Geary refered to the "Blue Devils" of the 1st Michigan as "the most Reckless set of Fellows I ever saw" (1862 March 8). In June, however, Sgt. Shepard was discharged from the service on a surgeon's certificate of disability, and remained in Michigan for the balance of the war.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The collection consists of 8 letters written by Frank Shepard to his wife, Amanda, during the early months of the war. Frank's letters are thoughtful, highly literate and display a deep affection for his wife and a devotion to duty. Shepard anticipated that if received a commission, he would bring his wife to the "seat of the war" to be near him, but under any circumstances, she was a great comfort to him, even if she were not the most faithful of correspondents. "If I am away from you, perhaps not see you for some time I have the consolation of knowing," he wrote, "that although I am absent I am not forgotten, neither shall I be while life lasts, and reason holds her throne" (1861 November 29).
Noteworthy in this small collection are letters in which Shepard ascribes the backward appearance of southern cities (Washington, D.C.) to the degrading influence of slavery, and in which he writes of a soldier's desire for action, rather than the dry routine of camp life. "What Patriotic American would not rather die upon the battle field, or in the camp, than in the Palace, or Mansion." His description of Camp Brodhead, Md., and of the daily routine of soldiers is also excellent.
- United States. Army--Michigan Cavalry Regiment, 1st (1861-1866)
- United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Cavalry operations.
- Slavery--United States.
- Washington (D.C.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
- Shepard, C. Frank, b. ca. 1830.
Additional Descriptive Data
Battles.Camp Brodhead (Md.)Camps (Military)--Maryland.Charleston (S.C.)Death.
Funeral rites and ceremonies.Geary, John, 1819-1873.Horses.Husband and wife.
- 1861 October 28
- 1861 November 20
Letters.Slavery.Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.)Soldiers--Attitudes.Soldiers--Confederate States of America.Soldiers--Health and hygiene.United States. Army--Cavalry--Military life.United States. Army--Michigan Cavalry Regiment, 1st.United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Cavalry operations.United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Health aspects.Washington (D.C.)Washington Monument (Washington, D.C.)
- 1861 October 28
- 1861 November 29