April 8, 1865 Headquarters 9th Army Corps, Nottaway Court House [Virginia] #36
Dear Wife and Children,
I suppose you would like to hear from me. By this time I suppose you have heard that Petersburgh and Richmond belong to the Yanks, also the South Side Railroad, with forty five thousand prisoners, 8 generals, and driving the Rebs like chaff before the wind. General Lee’s army is reduced down to 18,000. The rumor is that Grant gave Lee 12 hours to surrender. If not the Ball goes on. We left our old camp last Monday morning, the 3rd, for the march. We followed the South Side Railroad all the way, a distance of forty four miles. I think we will stop at Burkesville a while, which is the junction of the Danville and Richmond. The darkies are tickled almost to death to see the Yanks.
You cannot expect to hear much from me at this [time], only I am well and hearty. You can hear more at home of this campaign than I can write at present. I am writing this in our wagon. Don’t get uneasy about me if you do not hear from me again in two weeks. The thing is going on well. The war is coming to a close very fast. I think by next week we will close the fighting.
My regiment [the 211th Pennsylvania] was in all the fight last Saturday [April 1, 1865]. Sunday [April 2, 1865] my company lost thirteen killed, wounded and missing. Captain Lee was killed, Isaac Graff is missing, also Selkirk Wade. The regiment lost heavy. The fighting was desperate. I saw them fight, make charges. Oh, such a contest I never saw. You will see all the news in the papers. We had pretty hard work on this march. I did not mind that we could ride. I will wait until evening. I may get a letter from you. I hope you are well.1
We may all be home before a great while. Don’t be alarmed about me, for I think I have a good position. Give my respects to all that may inquire about [me]. I must close for the present, expecting to hear from you soon. The Yanks are all happy, are all eager to close the Rebellion. We live fine. We have hogs, sheep, turkeys, chickens and everything the country affords. Such a destruction of property. Buildings burned and furniture destroyed. I shall tell you all about the raid when I come home.
No more, but I remain yours forever,
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Miller is discussing the fighting done on the Ninth Corps front east and southeast of Petersburg in early April 1865. This fighting and that done by other portions of the Unon armies led to the fall of Richmond and Petersburg on April 3, 1865. ↩
- Miller, Myron M. The Soul of a Soldier: The True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War. Xlibris Corporation(2011), pp. 195-196 ↩
- 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. ↩