The Griffith Letters: The Story of Frank Griffith and the 116th New York Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War


The Griffith Letters: The Story of Frank Griffith and the 116th New York Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War - Joan Metzger. The "Rebellion" affected ordinary people all over the North and South, not just those in uniform, and Frank Griffith's plainspoken letters help shed light on their lives. From his enlistment on September 2, 1862 until he was injured in the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, on April 9, 1864 Frank Griffith served as a private in Company "K" of the 116th. After recovering from his injury, he served as a hospital steward, a hospital aid, a barber, and a cook before mustering out on June 6, 1865. His letters to his wife, Thankful, of which 106 survived, contribute to our understanding of the Civil War and provide insights into a soldier's life. His letters tell of his training and travels, guard duty and battles, hospital life, and the temptations a soldier faces in cities such as New Orleans and Washington, D.C., as well as his strong views on issues such as slavery, religion, temperance, and the Union cause. These letters provide a view of the Civil War and its effect on a family that is rarely seen. Not only do we hear Frank's view of the war, and see how much he misses his family back in East Concord, New York, but we also see how the family he leaves behind struggles to get along without him. In order to convey how this family was changed and challenged by the Civil War the author has chosen to include all of the letters in their entirety, misspellings and all. The loving concern of all the family members shines through despite the differences in writing skills. Frank's letters make up the bulk of this collection, and he in particular seemed to write nonstop, not taking the time for such niceties as punctuation. Footnotes immediately follow the letters and identify family, friends, and members of the 116th New York Volunteer Infantry, as well as place names, and other textural clarifications. Appendices, maps, vintage photographs, illustrations, a bibliography, and a full name plus subject index enhance the text. (2004), 2007, 5½x8½, paper, index, 370 pp.

ISBN: 9780788425578