Thursday, November 23, 2017

Gettysburg: The Last Moments of Frank Gould, Part 2

This story is divided into 4 parts.   This is part 2 of 4.  You can access the rest of the story at the links below.

Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 3 here.

Read Part 4, the conclusion, here.

PART 2 - A Letter from Frank is Discovered

Seven years after my initial contact with Frank Gould's descendant "Nate," a letter written by Frank surfaced.  A collector friend of mine came upon it while corresponding with a colleague, who previously owned the item, then sold his collection to a Gettysburg Civil War artifacts dealer.  The former owner,  Mr. McHugh, really did his research and wrote up a profile of all the principal people mentioned in the letter, including Frank.

Here are Mr. McHugh’s notes followed by Frank’s letter:

Francis A. Gould, private, Company K, 13th Massachusetts Infantry, enlisted 7/16/61 and mustered 7/19/61, residence Southborough, age 20, mechanic, wounded in hip, 7/1/63 Gettysburg, PA and died of wounds 7/14/63 in hospital at Gettysburg, PA, born Clinton, MA, buried A-36 Massachusetts Plot, Gettysburg National Cemetery. (note: This is disputed and Frank is said to be interred at Southboro, MA —B.F.).

Joseph H. Hapgood, private, Company A, 15th Massachusetts Infantry, enlisted and mustered 7/24/61, residence Sterling, age 22, farmer, wounded 10/21/61, Ball’s Bluff, VA, transferred out 10/9/63 into 28th Company, Veteran Reserve Corps, 2nd Battalion, mustered out 7/19/64.

Luther M. Hapgood (this is the Uncle Luther who is the “replacement” for Joseph), private, Company A, 15th Massachusetts Infantry, enlisted and mustered 12/15/61, residence Leominster, age 42, farmer, discharged for disability 11/10/62.

Luther S. Hapgood (my guess is that the “S” stands for Sawyer as mentioned in the letter), private, Company A, 15th Massachusetts Infantry, enlisted and mustered 7/12/61, residence, Sterling, MA, age 24, farmer, POW 10/21/61 Ball’s Bluff, VA (gained), discharged for disability 10/30/62.

Luther S. Hapgood, private, Company K, 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, mustered out 6/17/65 Washington, DC, born Sterling, MA, member GAR Post #53 in Leominster, MA, died 11/17/1923.

The letter was written in December, 1861, after six months service in the field picketing the Potomac River from Harper’s Ferry to Sharpsburg.  Company K had seen a little action by then, and Frank sums up his six months with the regiment pretty accurately.

Head Quarters 13th regt Mass Vol
Williamsport Md

Camp Jackson, Dec.29 1861

Dear Uncle and Aunt
As I have an optunity to wright a few lines I will improve it by writing to you. I have been thinking of righting to you for a long time but have not seen eny good chance before now. I left West Boylston the first of last April and went down home to Southboro. I staid at home Just a week. When I enlisted into the Company at Westboro, We drilled every day for 7 or 8 weeks when we was attached to the 13 regt. Col. Leonard at Fort - Independence The 29 of June we went to the Fort in Boston Harbor. We staid their first one month when we started for the seat of war. We [went] to Worcester by rail from their to New York from their to Philadelphia from their to Haggerstown Md Where we put up our tents and staid over night We started from their and went to Sharpsburg the distance being 15 miles we walked. it was our first march and we thought that we had a pretty hard time of it We staid at Sharpsburg a bout four weeks guarding the Potomac river to keep the Rebels from crossing the river. We left Sharpsburg and went to Middletown We staid their over night when we started for Harpers Ferry We staid their 10 weeks guarding the river as before H-Ferry is situated on the banks of the Potomac, but it is almost entirely distroyed by fire by Gen, Johnson it was government property so the rebels destroyed most of it when we left their we came to Williamsport where we still remain it is 27 miles from here to harpers Ferry to Williamsport We have been here nine weeks We are still quartered in our tents We have been in four or five skirmishes We have lost 7 or 8 men from our regt We had a brisk skirmish at the Ferry with a lot of rebel Cavalry We had six riffled cannons with us We drove the rebels of and come of Victorious We had four of our men killed in that battle.*

Williamsport is a large and beautiful town situated on the banks of the river the town is a secesh town and it is under a martial law our Col. is actin a Brigadere General now We have here in this camp at the present time the Maryland first regt the Indiana 12 the Ilinois Second the Mass, 13 regt eight Hundred Cavalry the Philadelphia batery of riffled cannons Bess's batery of Regulars is here. We are all in one camp and all are under our Col. his name is S.H. Leonard, We all like him very much. I have a letter from home quite often the folks are all well now but the two youngest have had the whooping Cough Hattie is still in Northboro running a Stiching machien in the same place where She has been for onne year and a half She is doing pretty well their  Addie is in Southboro doing house work She is well last Tuesday I received a letter from Charlotte Hapgood She said the folks wer all well at home except Joseph You have of course herd of his case. he was wounded at Balls Bluff uncle Luther Hapgood has gone to take his place I should not of thought he would of gone. Sawyer was taken prisoner and is at richmond Va I am sorry for him.

The fleet ther has gone down South does not seem to be doing much at the present time but it has been a terrible blow for the South. our forces have done a good thing in Missouri it is the greatest Victory we have had What do you think of the Mason and Slidell affair - Uncle. We do not think that England will interfear with the case What do you think a bout I do not think that the government will let them go. I hope that they will not for I think that they had better hang them then to let them go dont you think so. I think if England keeps still we will give these rebels all they want next Summer if not before I think by the way things look now that next Summer will tell the story Well as it is getting late I shall have to close

Please Except this from your Nephew
Francis A. Gould

I should be very much pleased to have you
answer This for I would like to hear
from you
Direct To
Frank A. Gould
Co. K 13th Mass Vol
Williamsport Md
Camp Jackson

*Battle of Bolivar Heights, October 16, 1861.  The killed were men from the 3rd Wisconsin.

The letter above gave a little insight into Frank Gould the person.  He wasn’t just a name any more.  I passed the letter on to Nate, Frank’s descendant, who told me it informed him of several other ‘relatives,’ the Hapgoods, he hadn’t  known about.  It was a bit more family history to look into.

I figure if there is one letter out there, there are surely more, and hope someday more of Frank Gould’s letters come to light.

To be continued.

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