Franklin (Benjamin I.) Papers, 1863-1865, n.d.
10 Items

Administrative Information

Access: Unrestricted

Copyright: The copyright of these letters is held by Navarro College Archives, Navarro College, 3200 W. 7th Ave., Corsicana, Texas. Internet:

Cite As:Benjamin I. Franklin Papers, Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas

Forms Part of: Pearce Civil War Collection

Location: 1-S12-f, 1-E17-b

Transcription(s): Yes

Scanned Copies on File: No

Accession Number: 2002.346

Processed by: Julie Holcomb, February 2003

Reproductions of original materials and transcriptions may be available. Please contact the archivist for further information.

Abstract: Correspondence, printed material, and photographic material (1863-1968; 10 items) document the Civil War military careers of Benjamin I. Franklin and Tacitus T. Clay of the Fifth Texas Infantry. Two letters by Franklin dated August 8, 1863 and October 2, 1863 document the battles of Gettysburg and Chickamauga respectively. The collection contains three cased images of Franklin taken at various times during his lifetime. A privately published pamphlet of Tacitus T. Clay’s Civil War letters is also included in the collection.

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Benjamin Isaac Franklin served as an officer in Company I of the Fifth Texas Volunteers, also known as Hood’s Texas Brigade. The company organized at Independence, Washington County, Texas and mustered into Confederate service on September 7, 1861. Franklin fought in the battles of Second Manassas or Bull Run, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga. Franklin, who had enlisted as a third lieutenant, was promoted to second lieutenant in October 1861. From February to April 1862, Franklin served as a recruiter in Texas before returning to his regiment. Franklin was wounded at the battle of Second Manassas or Bull Run. In January 1863, he was furloughed to Texas. In spring 1864, Franklin was again detailed to Texas returning to his unit that summer. Franklin was wounded at Darbytown Road in October 1864. He may have returned home before being commanded to report to General Withers in December 1864. In April 1865, Franklin was paroled at Appomattox Courthouse.

Tacitus T. Clay was promoted to captain in the Fifth Texas in October 1861 and served as acting lieutenant-colonel and colonel at various times during 1863 and 1864. Clay was wounded at Gaines’ Mill, the Wilderness, and Darbytown Road. As a result of his injuries at Darbytown, Clay’s leg was amputated. In January 1865 Clay resigned his commission.

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, printed material, and photographic material (1863-1968; 10 items) document the Civil War military careers of Benjamin I. Franklin and Tacitus T. Clay of the Fifth Texas Infantry. The collection is arranged into three series by creator: Benjamin I. Franklin, Mrs. Benjamin I. Franklin, and Tacitus T. Clay. Materials are further arranged by material type.

The first series (1863-1864; 4 items), Benjamin I. Franklin, consists of correspondence, which is separated as sent and received, and photographic material. The sent correspondence (1863; 3 items) contains letters written by Franklin to his wife Mary from April to October 1863. Of significance are two letters written by Franklin shortly after the battles of Gettysburg and Chickamauga. On August 8, 1863, Franklin wrote his wife a short letter, which included his opinion of the Confederate loss at Gettysburg. Franklin told his wife: “Of the Campaign in Pennsylvania I can only say that in my opinion we gained nothing. I look on it as a miserable blunder.” The second letter, dated October 2, 1863 describes the battle of Chickamauga. In his letter, Franklin noted his sorrow for Mrs. Short: “One of her sons wounded & left in the hands of the enemy at Gettysburg and the other killed here. John was a brave boy and died like a man fighting for his country.” Franklin also described the actions of generals John B. Hood and Jerome Robertson: “Major Genl Hood fell, badly wounded while rallying his old Brigade. . . . Genl Robertson was to be seen on all occasions in front of his Brigade leading them on and exposing himself to every danger.” The received correspondence, dated December 12, 1864, commands Franklin to report to General Withers. The letter was written on the back of form used to request a substitute.

The photographic material consists of three cased images of Franklin. The first image is a daguerreotype, undated but probably taken when Franklin was in his teens or early twenties. The second image is an ambrotype, also undated but most likely taken when Franklin served in Hood’s brigade. The third image is a tintype undated but obviously taken late in Franklin’s life. All three images are in delicate condition and handling restrictions apply.

The series, Mrs. B. I. Franklin, consists of two letters sent to Mrs. Franklin regarding her husband’s military service. The third series, Tacitus T. Clay, consists of a privately-published pamphlet (1968) of the Civil War letters of Tacitus T. Clay.

The copyright of these materials is managed by the Navarro College Archives on behalf of the Navarro College Foundation, 3100 W. Collin St., Corsicana, Texas 75110. Phone: 903-875-7438. Internet: