Editor’s Note: Luther Rice Mills apparently belonged to the sharpshooter battalion of Wise’s Brigade until he was wounded at the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864. When he returned in November 1864, he took over as the acting captain of his company, Company K, in the 26th Virginia, Wise’s Brigade. The previous captain, Captain Poindexter, had been killed at the Crater. These letters of Mills to his brother John written during the Siege of Petersburg were originally published in The North Carolina Historical Review, Volume 4, Number 3 (July 1927), pages 301-310.
Note: This overview of Mills’ life comes from page 285 of the article “Letters of Luther Rice Mills—A Confederate Soldier.” from The North Carolina Historical Review.
Lieutenant Luther Rice Mills was born in Halifax County, Virginia, on August 17, 1840, and died at Wake Forest, North Carolina, on August 18, 1920.
On his father’s and mother’s side, Lieutenant Mills came of vigorous Virginia stock. His father, The Reverend John Garland Mills, was an eminent Baptist minister, large planter and plantation owner, with numerous slaves.
In a large slave-holding household obedience had to be prompt and unquestioned. It was only natural, therefore, that the master should begin with his own children. Lieutenant Mills was trained for managing his father’s estate. Very early in life he was taught self-reliance and courage. The young boy’s school advantages were limited to the schools provided by his father at his own expense for the children of the neighborhood who would avail themselves of the opportunity.
In 1857, while only seventeen years of age, Mills became a student of Wake Forest College. He was graduated from that institution in 1861 at the head of his class.
For four years Mills was in the Confederate army. His campaigning took him from Virginia to Florida. He spent the terrible winter of 1864-65 in the trenches in and around Petersburg, Virginia. He suffered and endured much for the cause of the South—he was willing to sacrifice his life for the Southern cause. Often he lacked sufficient food and clothing, but with an unconquerable will he continued to press forward in the cause of the Confederacy.
Letters of Luther Rice Mills, 26th Virginia1:
- LT: June 12, 1864 Luther Rice Mills (26th Virginia)
- LT: November 16, 1864 Luther Rice Mills (26th Virginia)
- LT: November 26, 1864 Luther Rice Mills (26th Virginia)
- LT: December 5, 1864 Luther Rice Mills (26th Virginia)
- LT: January 3, 1865 Luther Rice Mills (26th Virginia)
- LT: March 2, 1865 Luther Rice Mills (26th Virginia)
- LT: March 9, 1865 Luther Rice Mills (26th Virginia)
- LT: March 19, 1865 Luther Rice Mills (26th Virginia)
- Mills, Luther R., and George D. Harmon (ed). “Letters of Luther Rice Mills—A Confederate Soldier.” The North Carolina Historical Review (4.3). (July 1927): 285). Print. ↩