VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE MIXED-FRANKING COVER FROM THE PRISON HOSPITAL ESTABLISHED NEAR THE GETTYSBURG BATTLEFIELD AND SENT VIA FLAG-OF-TRUCE TO RICHMOND.
Benjamin Franklin Little was appointed captain in Company E, North Carolina 52nd Infantry Regiment, on April 28, 1862, and promoted to full lieutenant-colonel on July 3, 1863, the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg. During Pickett's Charge, Lt. Col. Little was severely wounded while leading his men and captured on the battlefield. After spending time at the Letterman Hospital at Gettysburg, he was transported on September 28 to West's Building Hospital in Baltimore, then to Ft. McHenry Prison on October 22, 1863. Records show he was mustered out on August 30, 1864, at Gettysburg.
The Little correspondence is well known, and some of it is preserved at the Greensboro Historical Archives. According to the archives' website: "Benjamin Franklin Little was a planter and in the late 1850s married the former Mary Jean 'Flax' Reid, daughter of influential planter and politician Rufus Reid of Iredell County, North Carolina. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Little was appointed captain in the North Carolina Troops in March 1862 and in August of that year received his commission, which placed the company he commanded in the 52nd Regiment. At the battle of Gettysburg, Little was severely wounded, then captured by Union forces and hospitalized. His wound would subsequently require the amputation of his left arm, after which he was sent to prison in Maryland. In March 1864 he was paroled at Point Lookout, Maryland, and shortly thereafter exchanged at City Point, Virginia. A month later he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel to the Field and Staff of the 52nd Regiment, but by July he submitted his resignation due to reasons associated with his disability. Upon his release from service, Little returned to the family home, called Carlisle, to farming and other business ventures. In the last year of the war he became active in state politics and later served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1876. He died at his residence in July 1879."
In the aftermath of the bloody battle of Gettysburg, approximately 22,000 soldiers of both armies required medical treatment, including thousands of wounded Confederate soldiers left behind as Lee began his retreat. Treatment of the wounded at Gettysburg was the responsibility of the Army of the Potomac. Dr. Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director for George G. Meade's Army issued orders on July 5, 1863, to establish a general hospital in the Gettysburg area and provide transportation and supplies to the site for treatment of the wounded. In his honor, the temporary hospital was named after him. The site chosen for the vast hospital camp was on the George Wolf Farm, roughly one and one-half miles east of Gettysburg on the York Pike. The hospital was ready by mid-July and staffed with a small army of surgeons, nurses, cooks, quartermaster and supply clerks while a detachment of infantry was detailed as camp guards to look after stores and hospitalized Confederate prisoners. Treated with equal care by the Union surgeons and nurses, the Confederate soldiers were later transported to northern prison camps before parole. Less than 100 patients remained at Camp Letterman by November 10 and it was officially closed a few weeks later. (from the National Park Service Gettysburg website at http://www.nps.gov/archive/gett/getttour/sidebar/letterman.htm ).
Ex Antrim (illustrated in his book on p. 58) and Kilbourne