February 26, 1865 Headquarters 9th Army Corps [Virginia] #30
Some five or six days has elapsed since I wrote you last. I received a Star [newspaper] from you a day or two ago which was a welcome visitor. I also expected a letter, too, but I have not received one yet. But as this is Sunday evening, I feel somewhat lonesome, sad thoughts. I spend the evening time writing to one that I love.
Today everything is in commotion. The soldiers seem all to feel rejoiced to death to hear of the constant good news that comes to headquarters—of the Rebellion soon coming to a close. It certainly is cheering news indeed to hear of General Sherman’s success in the South. There is also a strong rumor that the Rebs are evacuating Petersburgh. If not, there are strong movements going on. They burned their factories last evening about dusk, and a number of other buildings. Grant ordered our Battery men to open a few shots to see whether they were about to evacuate that place but it seems they still occupy the place or at least they replied pretty lively. But deserters say they are evacuating the place just as fast as they possibly can. You can tell the Copperheads that the day is ours, and we do not thank them, either, for their assistance.
The Jonnies come to our lines at an average rate of five hundred per day. Forty six reported here at Headquarters this morning, 35 yesterday. Remember, these only came in on the line of the 9th Corps. On the Army of the James, they number about one hundred per night. They all say the thing is played out. They also say that their leading commanders promised them to not desert until the 4th of March, and then they should go to their homes, but they found out differently by their own good learning. Instead of being sent home they were preparing themselves for a big battle. That is why they desert so. Old Lee is making another move somewhere, but Old Grant is waiting. I would not be at all surprised if we were in Petersburgh next Sunday. That is the supposition by most every one. I hope the thing will soon close.
I can hear something while I am writing that you cannot hear in Crawford County, and that is the little frog’s peep. They have peeped for 4 or 5 days. The weather is very warm and pleasant. It did rain yesterday and the day before, but today is as pretty spring weather you ever saw. Tomorrow we expect to be payed off. The paymaster has been paying off for 2 or 3 days, but we only get 4 months pay this time, which will be $64. I shall send it home by express, but I will let you know where and when you will get it.
I saw Mr. Blanchard today. He only works about one hundred rods from where I am. He works at repairing wagons for the army. He was detailed probably a month before I was. He is well and hearty. He says if he ever lives to get home, he and wife are coming to make us a visit. He says his wife writes so much to him about you and me. She thinks you are such a nice woman! I think her head is about right. I got 4 newspapers from David Russle. He also sent me a letter but I never got it. Preacher Rodgers told me he saw a letter for me at the Regiment, but we have some men in our company who have opened a good many letters and destroyed them. There is where that one has gone. It is done by our company clerk.
Give Doctor White my best respects. Tell him for me that the Rebs are a badly whipped nation. We all intend to be home by the 4th of July. Send on your volunteers. There will be no danger of them ever getting into a battle.
The Government has raised the Private’s wages to $20 per month. I did not intend to write so much as I have when I commenced but I suppose you would be offended if I wrote only a few lines. I hope you are all well and doing well. I am well also, and hearty. God be with you and family and us all is my wish. From your most kind and affectionate husband,
- Miller, Myron M. The Soul of a Soldier: The True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War. Xlibris Corporation(2011), pp. 185-187 ↩
- 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. ↩