1864 Letter on Decorative U.S. Sanitary Commission Stationery - Patient in Covington, Kentucky Army Hospital

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1864 Letter on Decorative U.S. Sanitary Commission Stationery - Patient in Covington, Kentucky Army Hospital

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Item No. 3974369

An interesting 1864 letter written upon decorative stationery of the United States Sanitary Commission and Louisville’s Brown Hospital. The author, (signed “Frank,” possibly Frank S. Learned of the 36th Massachusetts) wrote to his sister in Massachusetts about conditions at the Main Street army hospital in Covington, Kentucky: “I get a bowl of milk every meal. I am all the one that gets milk and other little notions. I should not get them but they had rather give them to me than to hear my noise.” As a brother teases a sister, he wrote “I want you to send me your picture. I will keep it in my bed. Oh how the Bed Bugs will skedaddle.” The letter reads:

Louisville, Kentucky December 11th 1864
Main St G Hospital, Covington

Sister Della
I received your kind letter once on a time but i have forgot when. I also received one from Hattie. She said she was then in Keene. I don’t know where she is by this time. She may be in Canada for aught I know. I think she will fetch up some where after a while. I have come to the conclusion that she is not dangerously sick any how. I received 7 other letters last week. One was from Uncle George, he said he was coming to Ashburnham this month to make our folks a visit. He said he was going to stay in Mass all winter. One was from Rebeca, she said you had not written to her for a long time. She is at work at Lewiston in a mill. One of her sisters is with her. I am at the same old place I was last summer. My health has improved some since I was at home. I have got a good bed and have a fare living. I get a bowl of milk every meal. I am all the one that gets milk and other little notions. I should not get them but they had rather give them to me than to hear my noise. They have found that I am able to howl when they don’t use me well. That’s where the Hen searches. We have all been moved into the 7th ward. This building is a barn and very cold. The nice brick building where we were is shut up. My Doctor says he is going to have one moved back into the 3rd ward where I was when Hatte was here. When I get there I shall be all right. I shall be in a little room by myself where it will be warm and pleasant. I shall have nothing to do but eat and sleep. That is what I call pretty good business at $16 a month and board. I think they will put me into the Invalid Corps when I get able. But not this winter. I have not got any of my pay yet. I have written to Governor Andrews about it. I think he will make it all right for me soon. I am glad you have got my books. Send me papers when you happen to have some good ones. I had a staveing Thanksgiving dinner furnished by the people. I get passes to go out to church when I ask for them. I want you to send me your picture. I will keep it in my bed. Oh how the Bed Bugs will skedaddle. They have eaten me about half up in the last month. I think I will get some sleep if you will sent it.

We have had a big snow storm the other day. So the people think here. I guess there was about 3 inches fell in all. It is quite cold. My bed is within 4 feet of the stove so I keep warm most of the time. And when they don’t keep a good fire I howl until they make one. I have been here too long to have them fool one week. My Doctor is like a father to me. He does the best he can for me. He may get my Discharge yet. This is a dry letter but it will do till it is warmer. So I will bid you good bye for now. Direct as before and write often. I will try and write again soon. Be a good girl and keep your nose covered up cold nights.
from your Brother,
Frank

Gathering the clues available in the letter, it’s possible the author is Private Frank S. Learned of the 36th Massachusetts.

The letter was written on all four pages of a stationery sheet measuring about 4 3/4” x 8”. It is in excellent condition with very minor toning. Creased where originally folded.

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