January 8, 1865 Headquarters Army of the Potomac [Virginia] #22
I was just down to my regiment, a distance of one mile. Expecting a letter from you. I am very happy today. I was not disappointed as you said you were. Oh, how I was pleased to hear that you were all well again, for I was very uneasy about Myron not getting along. I am also happy to say the Lord is blessing me with good health. I thank Him for it daily. I pray that He may watch and protect me all my lifetime.
Well, I just finished my dinner and watered my horse, so I will endeavor to scribble a few more lines to you. I have not much news to write today. I wrote you a letter last Sabbath and one a few days previous to that. I am sorry that you did not get more wood cut the day of your frolic after going to so much bother in preparing for it. The next one you make, don’t calculate it so far ahead. Make it when the snow is good or the weather is nice. But however, I suppose you did the best you could under the circumstances. I find no fault whatever, for I calculate you to wear the britches while I am gone. I know you will manage things well enough.
Yesterday and last night and today is cold and chilly but the sun shines bright and pleasant. The roads are pretty good yet, owing to the weather. Thomas Gitchel and Lyman Kilgore were over to our regiment yesterday to see the boys, but I did not see them. Tom was up on a furlough to see Lyman. His regiment lays upon our left, probably four miles. I think more than likely that he will come to see me before he goes back.
Silence, what does the people think about the coming draft. Are they making any preparation to meet it, or do they intend all to skiddadle for Canada, or hire Rebel substitutes as they did before. I think I done or took a wise plan in coming when I did, for it certainly would have caught me this time if I had not been drafted before. On the other hand, if I had not come I should have been kept poor by paying out money all the time trying to raise volunteers. So I think I am making money by coming and, if the Lord spares my life, I can enjoy it when I get home, and that in such a way that it will please God and man.
I wrote a letter to Hiram, one to Jesse and one to John at Petersburgh, and this one makes three to you in ten days or twelve at the farthest. If I had the time I should write to you every other day, but I will write to you as often as once a week at the extent. I would like to write to Abner but I do not know if it is of any use, for you can tell them all where I be and what I am doing.
I like my position first rate, only we have to work some days pretty hard, but otherwise we can rest at night and Sundays. I read a few chapters in the Testament today. We have a nice little log hut, warm and comfortable and a good bunk to sleep on. Everything nice as can be expected.
I received the Tribune and the handkerchief and am very much obliged to you until better payed. I will send you my likeness [portrait] just as soon as I get my pay. If that does not suit you I will bring you present when I come.
Direct Samuel K. Miller
Headquarters Company, 9th Army Corps, Washington, D.C.
The news came to headquarters that Sherman has taken Charleston, but I thought [it] doubtful. What does George McGranahan think about the war now—also about the draft? I can tell you the reason you did not get more wood cut—because you are an abolitionist wife. What do they think now about me going to the Army? I would like to talk to some of them Copperheads, as I think I could tell them some things that would not set very well on their stomachs. Silence, how do you get along sleeping alone? Don’t you wish for me some nights, with my cold feet? (Nonsense!). I am well. I hope you are, too. Kiss the babies for me.
From your husband
- Miller, Myron M. The Soul of a Soldier: The True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War. Xlibris Corporation(2011), pp. 168-170 ↩
- 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. ↩