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LT: March 19, 1865 Luther Rice Mills (26th Virginia)

Luther Rice Mills to John Mills

Near Hatcher’s Run

March 19th, 1865.


Our brigade was relieved the night of the 14th by Terry’s Brigade, Gordon’s Division and ordered to the right. Johnson’s Division is on the extreme right next to the Cavalry. It may seem strange that our men seem opposed to leaving our old place. We had made ourselves tolerably comfortable and as we had held that position during the winter, we did not think it exactly fair to order us to the right where all the hard fighting was expected. Had we remained in the trenches six days longer we would have completed our ten months in the trenches—much longer than any other Division has ever staid in them. I was very agreeably surprised at the conduct of our old Brigade the night of the 13th. The Yankees “kicked up a row” just to our right that had for awhile the appearance of a charge upon our lines. Our men were in place before they could be ordered out, cheered lustily and seemed to be “panting for fray.” I do hope it is in earnest of what our old Division will do this summer. I feel assured that our old Brigade, is sustained by other troops, will win laurels during the coming campaign. My Regiment is now on picket. I know [not] where to say unless in a swamp. The left of our Regt rests near where Gen’l Pegram was killed in the fight.1 We will be relieved tomorrow. We stay on picket three days at a time. C. S. gives us a little corn meal, bacon, sugar & coffee but no cooking utensils. So we have “ashcakes” all the time. We enjoy wood immensely—would enjoy it more if it was colder. Make up large log fires, “scourse” (discourse) & smoke our pipes until the small hours of the night. When we are relieved we will go back towards the S[outh]. S[ide]. R[ail]. R[oad]. about three miles where we will have superb quarters—good log cabins. I have but one objection to them—they are so large I will have to hunt for my bed. It seems like being out of doors. The chimney of my cabin is larger than the tent that four of us staid in last winter. We are doing too well for good luck. I am going out in a few minutes to look for Baldy Williams. I guess he is a mile or so to our left. I will stop writing.

Yours truly

L[uther]. R[ice]. Mills2,3


  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: General John Pegram, brother of artillerist Willie Pegram, was killed on February 6, 1865 during the Battle of Hatcher’s Run.
  2. 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): 309-10). Print.
  3. SOPO 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.
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