Benjamin Franklin Burnham (1826-1863)
Benjamin Franklin Burnham was born 2 April 1826 in Enfield, Grafton County, New Hampshire. Burnham enlisted, in Co. C of the 15th New Hampshire Regiment, on 13 September 1862, he was 36. Burnham served under Captain Moses Lang. He mustered in on 8 October 1862 as a musician. The regiment was organized and left Concord, New Hampshire for Louisiana in December 1862.
The Fifteenth New Hampshire Volunteers was with United States forces at Carrollton, Louisiana, Department of the Gulf, December 24, 1862, to January 27, 1863: attached to First Brigade, Second Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, January 27 to July 11, 1863: Second Brigade, Third Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, July 11 to July 18, 1863: Second Brigade, United States forces, Port Hudson, La. (Nineteenth Army Corps), July 18, 1863, to date of muster out on 13 Aug 1863. The regiment was involved in the Siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana from 27 May to 9 July 1863.
Benjamin Franklin Burnham appears to have died in a hospital in Chicago, Illinois, on 7 August 1863 of "congestive chills and fever", just a week before he was to muster out. His body was shipped back to New Hampshire where he was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Enfield. His wife Mary T. Vaughan (1839-1898) received a small pension following her husband's death. They had no children. She was buried with her husband when she died in 1898.
"Carolton Jan. 9th 1863
Dear Sister Fannie and all the rest,
…We are in very comfortable quarters here, tents with board floors as tight and clean as you please. This is far better than straw as it keeps us up from all dampness. I suppose without doubt you will have got my other letters describing our passage out here so will let that go. We really seem to be in a rebel country have a brigade guard about the several regts and a picket guard several miles from here & we have to when on guard keep our guns loaded and if animals or persons don't halt when you tell them to, you must fire at them. Our pickets every day almost bring in negroes with all their effects on their backs. Yesterday they brought in 3 men accused of being spies. The pickets get oranges & sweet potatoes when they are out. Several days ago, we had orders to be in readiness to move at an hour's notice, knapsacks packed, 3-day rations in our haversack, & 40 rounds of cartridges in our boxes. We expected to go up to Baton Rouge but after being under marching orders for several days the orders were countermanded. We remain as before. Lots of women & girls come round with apples, oranges, pies, cake, & candy for sale. I do not buy any but the apples & oranges. How I wish I could send some of these splendid oranges to you…
If the boys are both at home, they must help mother all they can, so she will not have so hard a time to do her work as she usually does. I have written just now to John and told him some of the news. I have not got a letter yet from Oren. Yesterday Lyander came up here to see me. I tell you it looked like home to see him here. He looks as tough as you please. I told John all about him. He is in camp at the town of Carolton 2 miles below here, between here & N.O. I shall go down as soon as I can get a chance & see him again. Yesterday they were firing of cannon in honor of the Battle of N.O. as this was the anniversary. We draw rations for rations one load of bread every day, besides other things, and very often we do not eat all we get. When this is the case, we sell our bread for oranges. We get 2 good oranges for a loaf of bread…
Yours with much love, B. Burnham" (Inventory #: 30784)