March 11, 1865 Headquarters 9th Army Corps [Virginia] #32
This is Sabbath and I am happy to inform you that I am enjoying good health. I also hope that you and dear children are all well. When I wrote you last I thought we should have made a move, but we still stay in our old place. The prospects are favorable for the 9th Corps to stay here—to hold these lines in front of Petersburgh. Grant has repaired all the front lines, also our rear lines. I will give you a description of our breastworks upon a piece of paper so you can see how the Army of the Potomac lays. Our army is filling up. Every day there are trainloads arriving, filling old regiments, also a number of new regiments. There are three new regiments laying in the woods about one hundred rods in our rear. They are playing some most beautiful pieces on the band. The whole army is in commotion for the last ten days. Grant is making the preparations for a big Battle. All the old soldiers say they never saw such a move as this is going to be. The intention is as near as I can learn, the three corps laying upon our left, the 2nd, 3rd and 6th are to move and form a junction with Sherman. Sc[h]ofield in the South and Sheridan with his cavalry on the West, Grant with the 9th Corps to hold this place.1
We may not move for some time unless the Rebs are whipped and evacuate Petersburgh and Richmond.
I have not had a letter from you for eight or nine days I think. I looked strong for one this evening but was sadly disappointed. So I thought I’d write. I am almost afraid that I will hear in the next letter from you that some of the boys will be drafted, but I hope not, or perhaps they are going to try to fill it by volunteers. Write me the particulars if you have not done so before receiving this. Silence, I send you in this letter two photographs, Grant and Burnsides. I guess you had better give them to Myron. They cost me 30 cents each. I also sent Myron a nice picture paper. Sometime . . . .[the words are too faded to read] . . . also fifty dollars in a letter dated 7th of March. Let me know whether those things came pronto, for I am anxious to hear and have not had my photograph taken. All artists and sutlers [men authorized by the Union Army to sell merchandise to the soldiers] were ordered to the rear last week to City Point. If they had not left I should have had it taken and sent it in this letter.
I went up to my regiment today expecting to get that Memorial but they have not come yet, but expect them every day. I had a letter from Brother Jacob last week. They are all well, but complain dreadfully about hard times and the war. He will pay $100 to clear Bill and Sam from the draft. He may be very glad that he got off for that. It is only fifty dollars for each one. I see today at our regiment that Rodgers has introduced the Morning Star into the company. He gets 8 copies a week. I do love to get a hold of it to read. It does me good—makes me feel just right, but don’t neglect sending money for it, for another year.
Silence . . . [the words are too faded to read] . . . today, for it was such a lovely day. The sun shown so beautiful and pleasant. The roads so dusty and nice. The trees coming out green, and everything so lovely that I think about home. I think of you every day and night, but more Saturday night. Silence, I shan’t write any more. I may receive a letter from you tomorrow night if so I shall answer it immediately. Give my love to all. Be sure you keep a good share to yourself. I hope you are all well.
Yours truly, forever. Write often.
Samuel K. Miller
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Besides coming up with a non-existent 3rd Corps, Miller is fantastically wrong on Grant’s plans. As winter slowly turned into spring, the rumor mill must have been working overtime in the trenches! ↩
- Miller, Myron M. The Soul of a Soldier: The True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War. Xlibris Corporation(2011), pp. 188-190 ↩
- Editor’s Note: Samuel K. Miller of the 211th Pennsylvania wrote 46 letters home during his time in the Union army, almost all of it spent at the Siege of Petersburg in the Ninth Corps. Miller’s great-grandson Myron M. Miller recently edited these letters in his book The Soul of a Soldier: The True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War. Check out the review here. Mr. Miller was kind and generous enough to offer the Siege of Petersburg Online the use of these letters for the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Siege of Petersburg. A selection of Samuel’s letters will appear here at the Siege of Petersburg Online 150 years after the date they were written. These letters are the private property of Myron Miller and are used here with his express written consent. All rights reserved. ↩
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