April 11, 1865 Burkesville Junction Headquarters 9th Army Corps #37
Most dearest ones at home,
The war is over. We are extremely happy. General Lee surrendered with his entire army yesterday the [of this month]. His army has or is being [released] just as fast as they can take the oath and are returning to their homes. The Yanks are the happiest mortals on the face of the globe. To tell the truth we cannot hardly realize that the war is at an end. It does not seem possible. The South Side Railroad is in way of repair. There are three trains of cars in sight from where I am now writing. The road was 3 inches too wide for our cars. One side of the road has been taken up and laid in three inches from Petersburgh to Burkesville a distance of 55 miles since the 3rd of the present month.
This world must be in perfect motion. So happy and rejoiced for myself. I feel happy and have prayed daily for the end, restoration of peace again. I was confident or at least I felt so that it would be over this spring, and my letters will show you that I said so. I can’t tell when we will be discharged.
Since I commenced this letter, there is a rumor afloat that our corps is going to start back towards Washington, but where we will stop I cannot tell, but I shall write whenever we stop. Some thinks us one year troops will have to stay our time. Some says we will be discharged. There are thousands that volunteered in 1862, theirs expires the same time ours does. There are thousands that are called veterans that their time will not expire for eighteen months. If the Government can’t get enough of men to volunteer into the regular army, then I think the veterans will have to stay their time over. We will know pretty soon who will get going home before their time expires and who will not. For my part, I prefer going home just as soon as they choose to let me.
I have stood the march and war first rate. I had the diarrhea several days of late, but I am well enough now again. My health is also good and I hope you and children are enjoying your selves well. I also hope you are all well. I had a letter from Ben a few days ago. They are all well. Silence, I shan’t write much only to let you know where I am, and etc. I shall write every opportunity I have. Yours very respectfully. Write soon. I hope I may get home to help you plant corn. When you see Hiram ask him what I told him about the war coming to a close this spring. I have a ten dollar bill Secesh [Confederate] money but I shan’t send it now. It is for Myron.
From your best friend,
- Miller, Myron M. The Soul of a Soldier: The True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War. Xlibris Corporation(2011), pp. 196-198 ↩
- 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. ↩