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Francis and Harriet Ferguson Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MS-2125

This collection contains 34 letters that Francis wrote to his wife, Harriet, and 19 letters that Harriet wrote to him between 1864 and 1865. Francis's letters deal primarily with camp and regimental life. He relates interesting anecdotes having to do with life in the regiment and tells his wife of their movements and activities. As might be expected, Francis does not dwell on the battles that the 111th Pennsylvania participated in, possibly to avoid worrying Harriet. Indeed, Francis is at pains to assure his wife that he is well and will come home at the earliest opportunity.

After Francis was wounded in 1864, his letters speak of hospital life and his road to recovery. He frequently assures his wife that he is well and improving quickly, although he is still lame. Francis was also a religious man, and his letters occasionally speak of his faith and of his religious views.

Harriet's letters to Francis deal primarily with life at home in Fairview. She usually assures Francis that she is well and tells him of their young daughter Florence's doings, including her assorted illnesses and injuries. She also emphasizes with his life as a soldier, saying that battle must be terrifying and that he must be tired from so much marching. She also expresses her fervent wish that he will soon be able to return home safely and mentions that she fears for his safety when he does not write her letters to let her know that he is well.

Unfortunately, some of these letters have been damaged by rodents, who have chewed them into near illegibility. Others have become severely faded as a result of their age. Although these letters have been preserved as well as is possible under the circumstances, many of them can no longer be deciphered.

Dates

  • 1864-1865

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection of letters exchanged by Francis and Harriet Ferguson deals with life on both the battle and home fronts during the American Civil War.

Biographical/Historical Note

Francis Ferguson, a native of Fairview, Pennsylvania, served with Company C of the 111th Pennsylvania infantry regiment during the American Civil War. This regiment was organized at Camp Reed (near Erie, Pennsylvania) and mustered in on January 24, 1862. Highlights of their service include their participation in the battle of Antietam (September 16-17, 1862), the battle of Chancellorsville (May 1-5, 1863), the battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), the battle of Lookout Mountain (November 23-24, 1863), the battle of Mission Ridge (November 25, 1863), the siege of Atlanta (July 22-August 25, 1864) and Sherman's March to the Sea (November 15-December 10, 1864). At the end of the war, the regiment was reassigned to Washington D.C. and mustered out on July 19, 1865.

Francis himself was wounded in July of 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign (May 1-September 8), probably near either the Chattahoochee River or Peachtree Creek. He was then evacuated to the Lookout Mountain Third General Hospital near Chattanooga, Tennessee. His wound damaged his hips and legs, and he speaks of broken bones and needing to use a cane in order to walk. He would seem to have returned to his family in Fairview in late April of 1865.

Arrangement

Collection consists of two series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Francis Ferguson Correspondence
  2. Series II: Harriet Ferguson Correspondence

Acquisition Note

Collection was purchased by Special Collections in August 2004.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480