March 30, 1865 Headquarters 9th Army Corps [Virginia] #35
Yours of the 20th lays before me and was pleased to hear from you all again and that you were all well. My health still continues good and I am thankful to my God for it. I hope I may have health and strength during my absence. Last night and today all day it has rained steady, which makes it very disagreeable for Grant’s army to march and fight. He moved yesterday morning about daylight from here with General Sheridan’s and General Craig’s [sic, Gregg’s Second Division] entire forces of cavalry besides part of five corps of infantry on our left to make a death blow of the Rebellion.1 Last night at about half past 10 o’clock, the Rebels massed troops in front of Petersburgh, but was unsuccessful in making the attack. They were received with a rather warm reception from our Batteries, which opened out on them. I never saw such cannonading. You would have thought all the stars in the Heavens were falling. The night was dark and every shell that was thrown looked like a star shooting until it burst, which would make a large flash of light.
You wanted to know of me what I thought of you selling your silk dress. You may do as you please about letting her have it. I don’t think you will ever wear it much if you keep it, for it is too light. You can get you another one which I think would suit you much better. I think you are getting all it is worth. You better let her have it and I will buy you one better than that is.
How does Ellen Johnson feel about Charley being drafted? Ben sent me a list of five townships. I see that Andrew I. Galbreath is one on the list. James C. Hart, Bill McLenahan. Oh, but I think that is good for him, the poor, mean Copperhead. It is all good for those Secesh [nickname for those who favored the Confederates]. It had ought to of hit George McLenahan and Plum Heagan. They may not see any fighting, for the General and other officers all say it will wind up in about 60 days. Tell Doctor White for me that I thank him very much for the kindness he has shown towards me and my family. I shall remember him as long as I live, for his kindness and I will make it all right some day. He if a fine man—[even] if he does tell stories about turkey eggs!
I think it will clear off. It has commenced to thunder. We are not at work today. The weather is very warm. We can work all day without our blouses or vests on. I see in the papers that sugar and coffee is on the decline. I presume cotton cloth must be coming down, also. Some of the country merchants will not fare so well as they have done heretofore. I am glad you have your wood procured for the summer. Try and get along the best you can. We will all be home soon. Write often and all the news you know. Let me know what Nate intends to do about the draft. I shall close expecting to hear from you soon again. Give my best respects to White’s folks. Tell them the war is progressing fine. Let me know where my letters that I write to you are mailed and how long they are going through. Yours—some of them come in four days and some 7 and 8 days.
I shan’t write any more, only if you have an opportunity of buying some apple trees this spring, that is, contract them this spring about as many as I did last spring. Get what you want.
No more at present from your constant well wishing forever,
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Miller is discussing the movement that led to the Battle of Lewis’ Farm, or Quaker Road, fought on March 29, 1865 between Warren’s Fifth Corps and Confederates of A. P. Hill’s Third Corps. ↩
- Miller, Myron M. The Soul of a Soldier: The True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War. Xlibris Corporation(2011), pp. 194-195 ↩
- 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. ↩