March 23, 1865 Headquarters 9th Army Corps [Virginia] #33
Dear wife and children,
I received your letter last evening, Wednesday, dated 12th of the present month which I gladly received. I was also happy to hear that you and little ones were well. It also found me in good health with the exception of a little cold. We have nice weather here. The apple trees are pretty near covered with leaves. They will bloom in a few days. Cherries are in blossom. Everything is growing in spite of the war. Today was the stormiest day I ever saw. You could not see fifty rods for sand. It blew a perfect hurricane all day. We were in the woods cutting and splitting cordoroy timber. We had to stop work for a while on account of so many trees falling. The pines in Virginia are very easily uprooted, the ground being so sandy.
Silence, I suppose sugar making is over any day in Pa. [Pennsylvania]. If you get a chance to buy some at a reasonable price, buy some, but I presume store sugar is about as cheap as home made. You wanted to know when our cow would come in. I drove her to McMaster’s I think the last day of June. Bill Andrews went with me and then went home from there to the picnic at the McMichael’s. I think you will find it marked on one of the almanacs. She ought to come in the first of next month. Where does those men that have sold their farms intend doing—go west or buy again in the neighborhood? I think the boys had better hold on to their farms for they cannot better themselves, not about there. What did they ever do with Alfreda about her claim? Did she ever send them a deed? If Mother wants to come and live with us, take her. Tell the boys not to run away. Stand the draft and if any of them are drafted to come, there will not be much fighting done.
The Rebs talk strong of making peace. You ought to read the papers and hear what they have to say. There were 40 came to our lines yesterday and today, that is just to our corps. I have prophesied all winter that the war would be closed this spring. I cannot think anything else. I feel like it hard and I can’t help it. Did Myron get his picture paper I sent him? And let me know when you get the letter with the fifty dollars. I hope it has gone through, [that it will] be all right.
We have not moved our quarters yet. We may not have to move yet for several months.
How does Mag flourish now a days? Is she cross as ever, and what does she think of her smart brother-in-law? I ought to write to Ab, but I do not like old Mag. Silence, next time you write, let me know how my lumber is, whether it is all stuck up nice yet, and whether you have loaned any tools or whether the neighbors bother you any about working in the shop. I have written you once before about it and you must have forgotten to say anything about it. If it can be done, I would like to have as little done in the shop as possible, for they will spoil my tools and bench, etc. That has bothered me a considerable that my tools will all be carried off and lost. Now remember, let me know in your next letter.
Tell Myron—Mother tells me that little Mead rather bosses you. You must [not?] hurt him when he plays with you. You be good and take good care of him. You must let me know whether he tries to talk any and whether he can jump or not. I sent you two nice photographs. Take good care of them and don’t dirty them, and when I come home I will buy a nice photograph album to put them in. I suppose you think that stay away a long time. Just have patience. I will be home pretty soon.
Give my respects to all that inquire about me. I have not written to Mother yet. We have so much to do that I cannot write so many letters. Give my respects to Ellen Johnson. Let me know what John McGregor is doing. Now when I think of it, don’t let James McHenry move away and take that calf skin with him. He said he would have it finished by the first of May. Pay him for the tanning of it, for I want a pair of boots made of it, if I live to get home. Write often and give me all the news. I am well and I hope you are well also.
I heard that Loudon is dead, but I am somewhat surprised to hear that Amos and Miss Rudy are going to get married. Did Amos ever pay you what he owes me? If not, dun him for it, for it will come in play to you some day. He can see by looking at the Day Book how much he owes me. He did not settle the books the day I left. I am much obliged to you for sending things in that box if they ever come. Give my love to Mother and you also. [This portion may belong with an earlier letter, one that preceded his getting the box from Hartstown.]
From your most 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. 190-192 ↩
- 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. ↩