November 14, 1864 Bermuda Hundred [Virginia] #13
Don’t show this. Write soon and often.
Dear and beloved wife,
I again take the opportunity of writing a few lines to inform you that I received your most kind and welcome letter dated November 5th. You also may be assured that I was very glad to hear you say you were well and had plenty to eat, drink and wear. If you have not, I certainly think it is your own fault for you live in the midst of a plentiful country.
The poor Reb soldiers in our front, that we can see every day, say that they only get one pint of flour or meal a day for their rations, and a piece of fresh beef one and half inches square, that is, they say so, them that come into our lines.
This is Monday [November 14, 1864]. Saturday night [November 12, 1864] and yesterday [November 13, 1864] all day I was on picket. Last week there were 24 come to our lines Saturday night. One came across yesterday in broad daylight. One came over to us. He said that most all that was in the fortifications would come over but they dare not only as they can watch their opportunity and then they have to watch until them that [are] opposed to deserting get asleep and then they are off for our lines in a hurry.
I will give you an idea of our picket line on a piece of paper so you can see the position we are placed in, etc. I suppose you heard that General Sherman has burnt Atlanta. He is moving his army, that 70,000 men, upon Richmond. He has destroyed 30 miles of railroad and burns everything in his way, and if our Great Commanders are not fooled, Richmond and Petersburgh must fall before many days. Praise to God for it. Lincoln is elected again without any doubt. Thank God he is—for this cruel war will soon be over.
I am very hearty and am in good spirits and sincerely hope that we may soon return to our quiet home, where you cannot hear a constant firing of cannons. I have got so used to it that I do not mind it scarcely anymore.
Silence, send me the [Altoona?] Tribune or [Gettysburg?] Star occasionally. That one you sent me never came. You must be careful how you direct [them]—the same way that you do letters. You can also send small notions in those newspapers, that is, if you have anything of the kind to send. It will also save you little postage, etc. I received that Gum which was very good. I sent Myron two coppers. I sent in two letters. I also made a ring out of a bone and sent to you in a letter. The first opportunity I have I will have my likeness [portrait] taken and send home.
November 17th [continuation of the November 14 letter]
Since the above was written, I received another letter from you dated November 8 and mailed the 11th, which lay at your office three days before mailing. I also received the Star—its date November 3rd. I was very glad to get it.
I would have written when I commenced this, but there is so much duty and fixing for winter quarters that a man has scarcely time to eat, but will have it easier in a week or ten days. Tell Mrs. Hutchins that Frank has gone to Fortress Monroe to the hospital. He is getting better. Charles Swift is very low, is not expected to live just [much longer]. Tell Mrs. Jacob Brown of the fact. Also received them pills. You say you wish we could be sent back to Washington, but we will not get there this winter. One old colonel has come back from Washington. He says if we are good boys, perhaps by spring we may get there. I hope and pray by that time this terrible war will be over.
I received a letter from Ben the same evening I received yours. He is well and hearty. I wrote to you some weeks ago that Abner wanted fifty dollars. Let [him] have it until spring at interest as much as you can get—he only wanted it until spring. What has become of Hiram? I wrote to him a long time ago. Tell him for me, Silence, the first time you see him what he thinks of little Mack [George McClellan] now?
You do not say anything how the weather is, etc. How does provisions rate in your country, how it sells, etc. Write all you can think of and a good deal more, that is, if you can think of them. John B. Henry is going to write home today also, and him myself are going to have you and Mr. Koury’s folks send us a lot of things in a box together. I want one quart of apple butter; two or three pounds of butter; two pounds of cheese; some apples if you choose; some honey if you please; one pound of fine cut tobacco. Tell Mr. Ewing I want his best. Mark my things that you send me so we can tell them apart. Send just what you have a mind to and have Mr. Hervey send them to the Christian Commission.
I will here answer your questions that you ask me in your last letter—whether I liked you. Yes, I can say with all my heart. Think no other way—as long as you live. Did you wean Milo? I am well and hope you are and the children also are well. I pray for your welfare every day, etc. You need [not?] show this letter.
- Miller, Myron M. The Soul of a Soldier: The True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War. Xlibris Corporation(2011), pp. 148-151 ↩
- 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. ↩