Miller

Caleb Woolpert

Caleb Woolpert, alias “Howard Miller,” was born on June 17, 1841, in Ohio.

Caleb left Ohio and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan sometime before the war broke out.

He stood 5’11” with gray eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 20-year-old farmer possibly living in Newaygo County when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company H, possibly as Musician on April 28, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.) On January 16, 1863, he was transferred to F Battery, Third United States artillery at Rappahannock Station, Virginia, and was discharged on February 8, 1864, at Rappahannock Station.

It is not known if Caleb returned to Michigan after his discharge from the U. S. artillery. It appears that he may have been living in the New York City area when, for reasons unknown, he enlisted for one year as “Howard Miller” in the First Independent battery, New York Light Artillery on October 28, 1864, at Brooklyn, New York. He joined the Regiment on November 27, 1864, at Camp Russell, Virginia, and was mustered out June 23, 1865.

After the war Caleb eventually returned to Michigan. He was married to Michigan native Azabah or Azuba Burgess (1848-1894), and they had at least five children: Georgiana (b. 1868), Myron (b. 1871), Lloyd (b. 1877), twins Erwin and Helen (b. 1879). By 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned $3000 worth of real estate) and was living with his wife and daughter in Roxand, Eaton County. By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Roxand; his younger brother (?) Frederick and his family also lived in Roxand.

He settled in Hoytville, Eaton County where he was residing in December of 1883 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and lived in Hoytville for many years. By 1890 he was living in Roxand, Eaton County.

He was still living in Michigan in 1892 when he applied for a pension (no. 1102219), but no certificate was ever granted.

Caleb was a widower when he died on December 30, 1898, presumably at his home in Eaton County. and was buried alongside his wife in Meadowbrook cemetery, Roxand Township, Eaton County.

Lewis W. Miller - update 8/21/2016

Lewis W. Miller was born in 1825 in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, the son of Massachusetts natives Stephen (b. 1790) and Hannah (b. 1798).

Lewis’s family left Massachusetts and by 1849 had settled in Ohio left Massachusetts and headed west, eventually settling in Michigan. By 1860 Lewis was working as a painter and living with his parents (his father was a wagonmaker with $3,600 in real estate) and two younger siblings in Lansing, Ingham County.

Lewis stood 5’9” with hazel eyes, brown hair and florid complexion and was a 36-year-old mechanic probably living in Lansing, Ingham County when he enlisted as a Drummer in Company G on May 10, 1861. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles,” was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.) He was probably injured on May 31, 1862, at the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia. Apparently he injured his back while carrying a wounded man from the battlefield. In any case, he was probably hospitalized from early June until he was discharged on January 26, 1863, at the 3rd Corps hospital at Fort Lyon near Alexandria, Virginia, for “chronic nephritis & irritation of spine caused by a strain while carrying a wounded man at the battle of Fair Oaks” on May 31, 1862.

On February 10, 1863 he was transferred as a Drummer to Company H, 1st Veteran Reserve Corps and discharged from the VRC on March 18, 1863, at Detroit, reportedly at the “expiration of service” (although that would in fact not happen until June 10, 1864.

It is unknown if Lewis returned to Michigan.

He was apparently living in Nebraska in 1884 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 743551). He was working as a traveling doctor when he was admitted as a single man to the National Military Home in Leavenworth, Kansas, on December 23, 1897, discharged on March 10, 1898. He apparently moved to his brother Hiram’s home in Colby, Kansas (he had listed Hiram, or H. H., as his nearest relative upon admission to the NMH). He was readmitted on June 27, 1898.

Lewis was a member of the NMH when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage on July 28, 1909, and was buried in Leavenworth National Cemetery: sec. 25, Leavenworth, Kansas.


Joseph Miller (2)

Joseph Miller (2) was born in 1832 in Baden, Germany.

Joseph immigrated to America and eventually settled in Michigan by 1860 when he was probably a farm laborer living with and/or working for John Myers, a farmer also from Baden, in Hinton, Mecosta County.

In any case, Joseph was 29 years old and possibly living in Newaygo County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. He was sick in the hospital in July of 1862, returned to the Regiment and was taken prisoner on November 30, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia.

He was confined in Andersonville prison where he died of disease on June 7, 1864, and was buried in Andersonville National Cemetery: grave no. 1710.

In 1880 his brother applied for a pension (no. 264432) but the certificate was never granted.

Joseph Miller (1)

Joseph Miller (1) was born in 1839 in Coblenz, Prussia.

Joseph immigrated to America and eventually settled in Michigan by the time the war broke out.

He stood 5’5” with brown eyes and hair and a dark complexion and was 22 years old and probably a farmer in Clinton County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles,” a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

He was reported as “off-duty” beginning on April 25, 1862, and he may very well have remained “off-duty” through September when he was listed sick in the hospital. He allegedly deserted on October 23 at Edward’s Ferry, Maryland, when in fact, he was still in the hospital. He was discharged on December 9, 1862, at Portsmouth Grove, Rhode Island, for “spinal irritation, attacks of quickened respiration sometimes as often as 140/minute.”

Joseph returned to Clinton County where he reentered the service in L company, First Michigan Light Artillery on February 4, 1864, at Westphalia for 3 years, crediting Westphalia, and was mustered on February 5 at Corunna, Shiawassee County. He probably joined the battery at the Cumberland Gap where it remained on duty until June 27 when it was moved to Knoxville, Tennessee where it remained until August of 1865. He was absent sick in Knoxville, Tennessee on October 25, and allegedly deserted from the hospital on November 15, 1864. He surrendered himself to authorities on April 18, 1865, under the President’s proclamation of amnesty and was discharged on May 15, 1865, at Madison, Wisconsin.

There is no further record.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 1042774).

John H. Miller

John H. Miller was born on July 15, 1837 in Milo, Yates County, New York.

John left New York and had settled in western Michigan by 1860 when he was probably working as a mechanic working for and/or living with John E. Mann, a farmer in Montcalm, Montcalm County.

He stood 5’6” with hazel eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 24 years old and residing in Newaygo County when he enlisted in Company H on May 6, 1861. He was reported sick in the hospital from August through September of 1862, but eventually recovered. He reenlisted as a Corporal on December 24, 1863, crediting Muskegon, Muskegon County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was transferred as a Sergeant to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

John was taken prisoner along with Perry Crandall and William Wood, all of Company H, on June 22, 1864. John was confined for a time at Andersonville prison, and returned to the Regiment on May 16, 1865, near Washington, DC. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Following the war John returned to Michigan. He was married to New York native Mary (b. 1849). By 1870 he was working as a raftsman andliving with his wife in Newaygo, Newaygo County. He eventually settled in White Cloud, Newaygo County, where he worked for many years as a farmer and blacksmith.

At some point John’s wife either divorced him or, more likely, died. By 1880 and 1890 he was living in Chase, Lake County (next door lived Harvey Briggs, formerly of Company F), and in 1908 he was drawing $12.00 for pension no. 1,059,222. That same year he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 5369) on December 24, from White Cloud, but he was dropped on September 2, 1909.

John probably returned to his home in White Cloud where he died a widower of chronic nephritis and paralysis on July 5, 1910, and was buried in Prospect Hill cemetery, in White Cloud.

John Miller (2)

John Miller (2) was born around 1835.

John was 28 years old and had probably just moved to Michigan from either New York City or Montreal, Quebec, when he became a substitute for George Hesslehulm or Hesloon, who had been drafted on February 17, 1863, for 9 months from Erin, Macomb County. John enlisted in Unassigned on March 3, 1863, at Erin for 3 years, crediting Erin, and was allegedly sent to the Regiment on March 6, 1863.

There is no further record nor is there a military service found in the Third Michigan records at the National Archives.

Apparently John also became a substitute for Chris Rotha who was drafted from Warren, Macomb County on March 3, 1863, and it is quite probable that Miller enlisted in Company K, Fourth Michigan infantry at Warren for 3 years. If so, he deserted en route to Washington from Detroit. Again, there is no further record.

John Miller (1) - update 8/20/2016

John Miller (1) was born on December 9, 1841, in Scotland.

John immigrated to the United States in 1857 and eventually moved west settling in Grand Rapids, Kent County. By 1859-60 he was working as a blacksmith for Cook & Seymour in Grand Rapids.

He was 20 years old and probably living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was described by George Harris, also of Company F, as “the man who swore to stand by me through thick and thin before we left Grand Rapids and has always kept that pledge inviolate, he has stood by me in danger and we have fought side by side; we tented together and slept together and are as firm friends as ever.” Harris, who was taken prisoner and spent a brief sojourn in a southern prison, had apparently requested Miller to write to Harris’ girlfriend since Miller “of course knew your address having seen me direct my letters many a time and when he was sure that I was either killed or captured he considered it his duty and in fact it was my request that if I fell in action he should in case he survived to acquaint my friends with the facts. He answered yours of about the 19th of July which I thanked hastily for doing when he told me what he had done for I naturally supposed my love that it relieved your mind of a great deal of anxiety.”

John was attached to the ambulance corps from September of 1862 through January of 1863, and reported as an ambulance driver for either Bramhall’s New Jersey Battery or Company K, 6th New York Artillery from February of 1863 until he was mustered out on June 20, 1864.

He may have been a member of the 6th Independent battery of an unknown New York artillery regiment, and it is quite likely that he was the same John Miller who enlisted in the 6th New York Artillery on August 21, 1862, at Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York, and was mustered out at Washington, DC on August 24, 1865.

It is unknown whether John ever returned to Michigan.

He married Priusian-born Bertha Wilhelmina Seibt (1847-1890), and they had at least one child: Bertha M. (Mrs. Donovan, 1874-1940).

By 1880 John was working as a blacksmith and living with his wife in Santa Rosa, California. He was living in Santa Rosa in December of 1886 when he became a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association, and in 1900. In 1903 he applied for and received a pension (no. 1077924).

John died on May 18, 1906, probably in Santa Rosa, California, and was buried in Old Rural cemetery, in Santa Rosa.



George Washington Miller - updated 7/9/2011


George Washington Miller was born in September 2, 1843, in Wheatland, Monroe County, New York, the son of Jared (b. 1817) and Jennet or Janet McPherson (b. 1823).

New York natives Jared and Jennet were married on August 9, 1842, in Caledonia, Livingston County (or Middlebury, Wyoming County), New York. His family moved from Wheatland, Monroe County, New York to Michigan in 1846 and eventually settled in Bowne, Kent County. By 1850 George was living with his family in Bowne, where his father owned and operated a substantial farm, and in 1860 he was a farm laborer and attending school in Bowne.

Shortly after the fall of Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, many men in western Michigan answered president Lincoln’s first and second call for volunteers to aid the federal government in putting down the rebellion, and George was among the first to leave his home and walk to Grand Rapids where a regiment was slowly taking form. (According to family historian Mary Lane, George wrote his brother Arthur in August of 1861 that he had “run away” to join the army. Arthur, too, would “”run away” from home in 1863 and join the US Navy, serving on a gunboat  on the Mississippi.)


George wrote regularly and frequently to his family in Michigan and his letters were later transcribed by his sister Delia. On April 28, 1861, George wrote his parents from Grand Rapids that “Today is the quiet and peaceful Sabbath, the usual din of the city is subsided while here and there the citizens are flocking to church.

We have orders from the Captain to met [sic] at the armory at 1:00 and proceed to St. Mark’s church in a body. We had a great mass meeting here yesterday. All the people took an oath of allegiance, [and] our company marched down Canal Street and joined the Rifle Company [Grand Rapids Rifles, soon to become Company C] from over the river and marched back to the square [probably Fulton park], stayed a little while and then marched back to quarters, and there dismissed.” He added that they expected to receive their “uniforms and guns this week. We are going to camp out after this, it is going to be down the flank [Kalamazoo plank] road [present Division Street] somewhere in a field. I believe some of the officers have just been in, they say we will not leave town under three weeks. We drill on the square every day when it is fair; we shall commence practicing with muskets tomorrow I expect.

He was 17 years old and probably still living at the family home in Bowne when he enlisted (presumably with his parents’ consent) in Company A on May 13, 1861.

The Regiment left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, and arrived in Washington on June 16, setting up camp near the Chain Bridge on the Potomac River above Georgetown Heights. The following day, George wrote home to describe the trip out east.

We arrived here without any accident of any account, we got into Detroit about 6:00 that day [June 13], we marched about the streets of Detroit an hour or so then went to the depot and took refreshments and then took steamboat for Cleveland. At every Station along the line through Michigan there was a little crowd, they would greet us with cheers and sometimes with cannon or an anville [?], at Pontiac they brought us refreshments of cake and cheese. We got into Cleveland a little after sunrise [June 14], we took cars from there to Pittsburg, the[n] through the northern part of Ohio is level and nice but towards the southern part it grows mountainous and rocky, it is a great coal region here. There is lots of places along the line where the hills are pierced for coal. This is the great oil region; I saw wells all along, we struck the Ohio River opposite Virginia at a little place called Wellsville, the railroad from there follows the Ohio all the way to Pittsburg, the Ohio here is a little stream about as wide as the Grand River at Lowell, we arrived in Pittsburg about dark on Friday, we changed cars there for Harrisburg, at almost every station along the line through Ohio there was crowds of men and women who cheered and waved their handkerchiefs or brought us refreshments, the girls showering flowers onto us. At Pittsburg we were warmly greeted with cheers, the citizens came and shook hands with us, in going from Pittsburg to Harrisburg we crossed the Allegany Mountains; although there are some pretty big hills they don’t come up to my idea of mountains, there is some big rocks though, the railroad mostly follow [the] course of small streams, we passed through four tunnels, the hills have been dug down through about forty feet through solid rock. We arrived at Harrisburg a little after noon on Saturday, took refreshment, then changed cars for Baltimore; we passed the Massachusetts Six[th] Regiment about daylight, before we got into Baltimore. When we arrived at Baltimore we formed into platoons and marched through the city without the least sign of fight, we saw some houses there marked with bullets. We took another train for Washington, on the way we passed the relay house where the secession troops were stationed [and] arrived at Washington about noon we formed in marching order and marched through Washington across the Potomac (a little stream about thirty or forty feet wide at this place) and up through Georgetown and about three miles beyond, we are encamped between the Michigan Second and the District of Columbia troops, it is a nice healthy spot and no warmer than in Michigan.

On July 14 he added the observation that “When we got through to Washington we were all of us nearly fagged out. The day that we arrived was exceedingly warm, and marching four or five miles after so long a journey being kept up night and day was pretty hard on us. Some of our men gave out -- before we got to cam we have heard since that no other Regiment had come in without stopping at least a day to rest in Washington. That day’s march was the cause of a great deal of sickness to some of our men. A little railroad ride is fun but four days and nights of it begins to be hard work.”

On June 28 George wrote to his parents in Michigan that they had not been in a fight yet but were continually on the alert for the rebels. “Down at the bridge there was what appeared to be a finely dressed lady with a horse and buggy, came up to the bridge to cross, she was stopped to be be examined according to orders, they found under some grass in the buggy about a bushel of percussion caps. This led to closer examination of the lady which ended in the discovery that the supposed lady was a man and a rank secessionist at that, they have got him prisoner.” He added that there was considerable sickness in camp due to weather and climate, and that he had had the measles and was “now enjoying the mumps, they are getting better now, they keep me in the tent pretty much all the time.”

George wrote on July 7 that he “spent my 4th [of July] by standing guard two hours out of six all day and all night. There was no celebration whatever except firing a few guns from the battery. The boys had spent all their money before so there was no getting drunk. Taking it all together it was a very quiet 4th.” He said that they had at last received their new uniforms, at least the pants, which were “blue, the old grays are worn out. We understand that most of the secessionists wear gray. The pants are not particularly noted for fit . . . but by considerable ingenuity, patience and tailoring I have managed to make a passable fit. Some of the boys wear the pants up under their arms. Reading is rather scarce here and I would be much obliged if you would send me a paper now and then; we are allowed one franked envelope a week to write to our friends.”

On July 14 he wrote home that he had not been to Washington “since I had the measles. I intend to go down some of these days though. The Colonel [McConnell] is very strict about giving passes now, some of the soldiers would go out and trespass on the people’s property who would come and make complaints to the Colonel, [and] ever since he has been very particular about giving passes. The Dutch Company [Company C] have moved across the river to guard that end of the [chain] bridge.”

George wrote home on July 20 of the action at Blackburn’s Ford on July 18, that although he had not “been in a fight, I have been pretty close proximity to one.” One thing he did learn from this first engagement in combat was that “I used to think it foolishness to dodge a cannon ball but I think the other way now. You can hear a cannon ball quite a while before it gets to you and sometimes you can see them. I saw several that were coming pretty straight for us in time to dodge them.” And on July 27 he wrote of the great fiasco at Bull Run on July 21. He was on skirmish duty and participated only from a distance.

On August 3 he wrote that the Regiment was presently encamped down the Potomac opposite the Navy Yard. “The river here is about half a mile wide, most of it is shallow and grown up with grass, [and] the tide rises here about two feet. I remember in writing you one of my first Letters to have described the Potomac as a narrow river but I was mistaken in the stream. The stream that divides Washington from Georgetown is only a creek. The river at Chain Bridge is not very wide but down by the Navy Yard the eastern branch [Anacostia?] connects itself and the river immediately grows wider.” He added that as regards the retreat to Washington from Bull Run,

I stood that retreat very well. I had all the crackers I wanted to eat while some of them had nothing to eat since the day before. On the retreating that I saw everything was done in good order till we got to Fairfax when some of them were so tired that they fell out and came along behind. Between Centreville and Fairfax we passed several baggage wagons, some overturned that looked as though they had been left in a panic. As for our boys they were mad because they had to run without a chance to fight the Rebels. After passing Fairfax it commenced a drenching rain which grew harder as the day advanced. The greatest need on a march is probably for water, [and] at every spring, creek or pool there would be a run to get a little water t wet the mouth. I have seen ordinary men drink water that I would not wash my hands in on ordinary occasions. By the time our Regiment had reached Arlington Heights we had lost all order and every man came in on his own.

On August 6, he wrote his parents that he had “just returned from chopping. There is several hundred acres of woods in the hills back from here that is to be all cut down to prevent the enemy cavalry from charging on the troops camped here I suppose. A great deal of timber is slashed down and spoiled, [and] we take turns at it and chop three hours after which whiskey is dealt out to those that choose to drink it. There is no Sunday in a soldier’s life. We have to chop Sundays as well as other days. We had some potatoes today for dinner, the first I have tasted since we left Michigan; they tasted better than new fruit. Some of the boys have had the symptoms of scurvy but the doctor has cured all such cases. It gives a fellow a good appetite for vegetables to live on salt beef and bread. We have pea soup and bean soup once in a while and fresh beef once a week. We are allowed [?] meat or bread a day which is not enough for a health man but the boys made a row about it and we have all we want to eat now.”

On August 11 George wrote that he had again “just returned from chopping where I have been keeping the Sabbath. . . . We have got a large piece of woods down and partly cleared up. We cut and trim trees and the niggers burn it. They intend to build a battery on top of the hill.” For the first time George seemed homesick. “I should like to be at home a while to help eat them harvest apples and watermelons. There is plenty of fruit here, such as it is. The apples are all little scrawny things not fit to eat. . . .” On August 18 he wrote home that “I have to chop about four days in a week, they detail about twenty men out of each company every day. We march up to a house on the top of the hill to get our axes and a gill of whiskey for them that want it -- I give mine to the other boys who drink; we work about three hours and then march back to the house, get another gill and leave our axes; the rest of the week I either do nothing or stand guard.”

“They are very strict here about liquor now,” George wrote on August 25, “ although the choppers still get it. They have a provost guard stationed all along the roads who arrest all persons who are found with liquor in their possession; there have been a good many barrels of whiskey and beer poured out in the road. I wish I had a taste of them harvest apples; the apples around here don’t amount to much but they have noble peaches, but they are guarded so that we soldiers don’t get many. There are a good many pears here but they are not ripe yet. The leisure hours of a soldier, [and] especially of us, hangs heavily sometimes. When not on duty we either read if we have any thing to read or write letters or wander around through the country when we can get out. Some of the boys pitch quails, or play cards and some will lay down and sleep all day, these generally are the sick ones and the ones who eat the most. Camp life is the laziest life I ever saw. It is like a continuation of Sundays; the men get so lazy that the smallest duty is an effort to some of them, but when we get to chopping we are all right again.” George added that “I intend to go to school if I live through this but I am afraid there is but a slim chance for me at West Point. I hate to lose this winter’s schooling the worst way but I don’t see as it can be helped. Probably I shall learn all the better if I go to school again.”

He wrote his parents on September 4 that as regards their cooking arrangements “when we are in the Regiment we have two cooks to cook for us and divide our rations, but when we are out on picket every man looks out for himself, and with [the] exception [of] chickens and corn and fruit that we confiscate, we manage to live very well.” He added that ”As I look over this fair country I think what a sad thing this war is, here is fine forests of timber leveled to the ground. Orchards are cut down, peaceable citizens are obliged to leave their property and his fences are demolished, their houses are disfigured and if anything movable is left it is destroyed. I hope Michigan will never be cursed with an invading foe. I hope this war will soon end but you must not flatter yourselves about seeing me home by Spring, for I am afraid you will be disappointed.”

On September 10 George again raised the possibility of study, but was less enthusiastic about being able to spend much time with books. “I expect I might study some times but a soldier has no control over his time and is often changing places so that his course of study would be rather irregular.” On October 13 he wrote of his elation in receiving a package from home. “That long looked-for box of provisions has at last come to hand. The cheese is delicious, and is exactly the old homemade cheese. There were several more cheeses in the box but mine is the best among them. There was 60 pounds of butter in the box, some maple sugar and lots of cookies and crackers. We concluded to use the things together in common as the best way of dividing it, so we can all have plenty of butter and cheese as long as it lasts.”

On October 24 George wrote home and described a recent trip he and Norman White took to Mount Vernon.

It is a splendid place, no engravings can give you an exact picture of the appearance of the place. It did not look at all as I expected to be sure. The mansion looks natural but there is a great deal more shrubbery around the house than is put in the picture. The tomb looks like the picture. It is built of red brick, [and] there is an iron grate in front of the vault. Inside of it is [sic] two marble coffins in which rest the mortal remains of George and Martha Washington. On the right of Washington’s coffin is engraved an American eagle with the United States coat of arms. I plucked an ivy leaf from over the tomb and I will enclose it to you for the curiosity of it and with it an orange leaf from a tree that Washington planted with his own hands; the smooth green one is the orange leaf. There is a splendid flower garden at the mansion and a great many tropical plants. They have two sage palms, planted in large tubes so they can house them in winter. They were short stumps four and a half foot high with long leaves branching out of the top that looks a good deal like the long swamp breaks only smoother leaves. Another most curious plant is . . . a native of Mexico. The plant consists of long thick leaves three or four feet long and having thorns on the ridges and two or three inches thick at the bottom and about the color of [the] cabbage plant. I saw a young Palmetto there. It is kind of an odd looking tree, but I don’t see where the virtue is in it that would make it the symbol of a nation. There is some curious trees here. There is a kind of oak here that has leaves full like a willow tree; it is a kind of water oak. I got my daguerreotype taken yesterday and I enclose it to you in this letter. The boys say it is a good picture so I leave it between them and you to decide whether it is or not. The artist took kind of a queer notion and pulled my knife out of its sheath and stuck it in my belt as you will see in the picture. The knife is not so blunt a the picture represents it to be, but has a long sharp point. I saw Safford W. a week or two ago. He never said anything about wanting to join our Regiment. I guess it must [be] a mistake about his wanting to be transferred. I will send you a few specimens of Virginia flowers as soon as I can get them.

He added “That cheese of mine is getting pretty well broken up as well as ate.”

George wrote to his mother on November 14, that “There has nothing of any consequence happened more than common to stir up our blood, except one report of the rebels advancing. I was on picket at the time, [and] a cavalry man came along the line of pickets on a gallop telling us to hurry into headquarters. When we got in we found that a large body of Rebel cavalry had been seen in Accotink. One of Company K’s men who happened to be down there at the time, came near being taken prisoner. He had to throw his overcoat and gun away. He went back afterwards, however, and found them. Three or four of us went down to the village toward night and learned that there were about 500 of this cavalry and they had gone towards Pohick church. Next morning two or three of us went down to the village and found our Regiment and the 37th New York had passed through there. We followed after and found the whole division at Pohick church but the Secesh had fled.”

On November 21 George wrote home that they were still working on building various fortifications around Washington, but that they “do not have to work very hard or steady. We are detailed so that each man has to go on about once in three days; the rest of the time we have nothing to do unless we are detailed to stand guard or picket. We drill most everyday.”

The day before they participated in “a grand review by General McClellan and Old Abe” at Bailey’s Crossroads. “There were over 50,000 men there; more men that I ever saw before, or ever expect to see again. When our division marched around in front of McClellan our band struck up Hail Columbia and our Regiment marched in beautiful order, Division front. General McClellan turned to Old Abe and remarked that the Regiment marched well, after we had marched around. We could see all over the field; there was about forty acres of ground all covered with soldiers marching in divisions, batteries of cannon and Regiments of cavalry. Long bridge was left free for citizens to cross to see the review. Munson’s Hill was covered with spectators and there was what would be called a large crowd on ordinary occasions on the ground where McClellan’s staff was stationed. I do not know what the object of the review is exactly, but I have heard it was partly for the purpose of selecting troops to send to South Carolina.”

“The weather is somewhat cold but very pleasant,” George wrote his mother on December 12. “We had one little snow but it did not last two hours after the sun came out. The folks around here say it never snows of any account until after Christmas. I hope war will end by spring but I doubt it ending until it dies out itself. There isn’t fighting enough going on to do it. As a general thing there is a good deal of swearing prevalent in camp but the boys in our tent are pretty moral sort of of fellows.”

On Christmas night he wrote home that “We have nothing to do but stand guard about once in five or six days. A good many of the boys are building log shanties; they make comfortable little places to live in as well as thinning out the tents, so that we shall have more room. We spent our Christmas hunting after Secesh” and “went out on a reconnaissance in the vicinity of Pohick church. We discovered nothing but some Rebel pickets. A squad of rebels was seen on a hill about a mile away. The artillerymen fired a cannon shell at them and that was the last we saw of them. We received orders then from headquarters to return to camp. We about-faced and returned to camp hungry and tired. This is the day we spent our Christmas.”

On December 28 George wrote home and complained heartily about the Regimental chaplain, Rev. Dr. Francis H. Cuming. “Old Doc Cuming disperses the gospel to us on the Sabbath unless it is too cold, but the principal parts of his discourse consists in telling us how awful wicked we soldiers are and agitating the subject of a big tent for the Sabbath exercises, which he wants the soldiers to buy, and take it all around. He is the biggest nuisance of the Regiment. If he was like the Chaplains in some of the other Regiments, the boys would take some interest in him, but as it is, it’s like smoking saw dust to hear him. There was all of 9 out of our company to church last Sabbath and part of them came back before the services were over.”

George wrote home on January 27, 1862, that “the times are awful dull here. . . . We have nothing to do but lay around in the tent and get our ration three times a day. Our turn standing guard comes around about once a week, and it is rough business now, though the weather is not very cold but most disagreeably damp. The boys have spent most of their money. . . .” He added in a letter to his mother that to reduce the boredom “We go target shooting occasionally and we have reading of some kind most of the time. We have got our new [Austrian] rifles. They shoot pretty well but they do not suit me as well as our [minie] rifles did.” On February 18 he wrote to his sister that “There are bets out to the amount of $50 between the boys that peace will be declared in three months from now. I should not wonder if this great army of the Potomac would be moving as soon as the roads get passable and then for another big Bull Run scramble. I guess if they keep on as they have for a while back you may expect to see me at home by next fall if I don’t get pegged out by some unlucky bullet.”

On March 20 he wrote home and described the recent departure of the Third Michigan from their winter quarters to the Virginia peninsula, to participate in the opening of the spring campaign of 1862.

One week ago today [he wrote] we packed our knapsacks and marched from Camp Michigan. Our destination was unknown but was the general impression that we were to go on a fleet. Our Brigade marched down to Fort Lyon, [w]here we stacked arms and pitched our little portable tents. They are in sections and button together. Three men hitch together, making two sides and one and making a very comfortable little tent. It commenced to rain soon after we pitched our tents and some of the boys were blowed [?] out. We lay there until Monday, when we picked up and marched through Alexandria and shipped out on board the steamer John Brooks. Our Regiment was the first one shipped. Troops were shipping all that day. General McClellan came down to see that those were going on all right, [and] by sundown our division had been shipped. We moved out into the stream and anchored. We started down the river about noon. Tuesday we passed Fort Washington, Mount Vernon and all the other familiar places soon after. We passed the rebel battery at cockpit Point about three o’clock; there is a large camp of union troop opposite this place. The gunboat Yankee had been shelling the battery at Aquia Creek in the forenoon; we passed this place soon after; . . . The land all the way down the Potomac looks very much the same as it does around Alexandria, mostly tempered with little scrub pines, looking dreary and desolate with only here and there an old mansion and half-over grown plantation. We entered into Chesapeake Bay early in the morning of Wednesday. Some of the boys soon began to feel the influence of the long swells of the bay. Some of them were a little sick but not so far as to heave up more than their breakfast. I never felt better in my life. We arrived at Fortress Monroe about four o’clock in the afternoon. . . . It is a fort they are building almost in the center of the harbor. The land line of the stone fortification of Fort Monroe appears on shore, the big Union gun is in front of the main fortification behind a little sand fortification of its own. The harbor is full of vessels, one French and one English man-of-war, among them is the little iron-clad Monitor, which probably lately saved us Fortress Monroe. Her fight with the Merrimac [C.S.S. Virginia] was seen from here. she look a good deal as the Rebels said she would, like a Yankee cheese box on a raft. We could see several dents in her side where the balls of the Merrimac struck her. Our band played “Bully for you” when we lay along side of her. We did not land till next morning when we marched off from Old Point Comfort and are now camped about two miles from the fort. Norfolk is about eighteen miles from here and the smoke of burning timber is visible on Cran Island. Big Bethel is not a great ways from here. The rebels picket line is about nine miles from us. A short way from here are the ruins of Hampton which the rebels burned last summer. The old brick wells and chimneys look desolate.

From Fortress Monroe George wrote to his mother on March 24 that “We have moved out about a mile beyond the ruins of Hampton. We are encamped in a large field covered with troops in every direction. I should think about 12,000 men in sight from this position, besides, large numbers camped around that are not in sight.” On April 2 he wrote from camp near the fortress that “The Merrimac showed herself once or twice but has gone back again. Occasionally our me at the Fortress [?] and the Rebs at Jewell’s Point exchange a few shots. Contrabands come in every few days. They are generally a hard looking set. Two of them came in one day, One of them died from fatigue and disease. They having lived in the woods three weeks getting nothing to eat excepting what they could steal.”

We left our camp at Hampton last Friday [April 4, he wrote on Thursday, April 10] and took up our line of march on the Yorktown and Richmond turnpike. We marched the first day on the best roads I ever saw. The country is level and well cultivated. We passed three fortifications at Great Bethel about sundown; their fortifications are mere rifle pits, but it lays behind a swamp and makes it a hard place to charge on. They had more fortifications at a place called Mill Hill. But our advance guard shelled them out. It rained a little Friday night and made the roads very muddy. The boys throwed away everything they could possibly get along without. I keeped [sic] all of mine taking lesson from my Bull Run experience. We arrived here [near Yorktown] Saturday night -- our battery and the secesh had a few rounds. It has rained almost every since we camped here, [and] a great many of the boys have been taken sick and gone to the Hospital, . . . We have moved from our camp in the field into the woods in a good dry place out of the wind. I suppose all we are waiting for now is for the siege guns to come up and shell them out. As the roads are very bad we get no mail sent out, [and] hardly sufficient rations. One hard cracker and a half and a cup of coffee was all he had for breakfast and we have not had anything since though it’s past noon. But the boys do not grumble about their rations; they have got[ten] used to it. This is the regular bone and muscle of soldiering; no play in this.

On May 1 George wrote home “We are doing nothing at present” but “guard our trenches and go on picket. Our Regiment guarded trenches night before last. We were posted along two on a post with order to keep awake all night and keep a watch over the rifle pit. It is pretty tough business to keep awake all night. A fellow has to walk much to keep awake sometimes. The rebels keep up a scattering fire all night on the picket lines. I can think of no other reason than to draw the fire from our lines to see where we lay. They fire an occasional cannon or two and now and then a shell but they do no damage.” He wrote his mother on May 6 from Williamsburg, Virginia, that the rebels made a stand at Williamsburg following their retreat from Yorktown “and we fought them all day. The Michigan boys had a chance to show our good breeding but I am sorry to say the Third did not have a hand in it. We were detailed to support a battery and we did not go down to the battlefield till just about dusk when the fighting ceased and we marched back to where we left our knapsacks and camped. The rebels retreated during the night and we are now camped beyond their fortifications. We are all well and in good spirits.”

In his May 7 letter to his mother Miller described the recent movements of the Regiment from May 4 to May 6.

Last Sunday [May 4] after we got up the cannons had all ceased firing and everything appeared to be quiet. Pretty soon the report came that the Rebels had evacuated their works at Yorktown and our troops were in possession. They first received their information from a deserter who said the last Regiment had left not fifteen minutes before. About noon we received orders to pack up and at three o’clock we took up our line of march toward Richmond. We soon after passed the rebel fortifications which were stronger than we supposed. They had a fort on the bank of the [York?] river that was larger than any we built around Washington last summer. They left a quantity of arms in their fort among which was some lances for their infantry that they could not arm otherwise. I had heard of the secesh being dirty but had no idea of their being so shiftless as they were here. We could smell rebel camps before we got to them. The decaying [offal] of their fresh beef was just thrown outside of camp which filled the air with a perfume more fragment than agreeable. We camped for the night some or three miles beyond Yorktown. Our company was detailed for picket. We have got a new species of artillery along with us. It fires a common musket bullet and fires at the rate of sixty times a minute. [Gatling gun?] I believe the bullets are shoveled into a hopper and the machine is worked by a level. It commenced a drizzling rain Monday morning [May 5] which continued all day making it extremely disagreeable. We took up our line of march about eight o’clock. The roads are very slippery and muddy which keep getting deeper as we advance. There was pretty brisk cannonading going on away in the advance. The roads were getting decidedly horrible and the rain coming down wetting us through. I wore my overcoat so I managed to keep pretty dry. After we had marched about eight miles our Brigade had orders to unsling their knapsacks and make a forced march for the battlefield, which was about two miles ahead. The [Michigan] 2nd, 5th and [New York] 37th went in and won the day for us all and glory for themselves.

General [Phil] Kearny came to General Berry before we got in and requested his best Regiment t support a battery of artillery that had been taken and retaken six times. General Berry told him to take the Michigan 3rd says he, they will do you. So we filed up across a field toward a house that our men were using as a hospital. The wounded was being brought in on stretchers and occasionally some prisoners. It was only about half a mile to the battlefield and we could distinctly hear the rattle of their rifles and the booming of the cannon. The battery soon came up with two Maine Regiments. We had orders then to charge a rebel battery on the left. So we marched away down through a succession of fields, formed in line of battle in front of a woods when the order was countermanded and we marched back to the hospital and then filed into the woods, where to where [?] our boys were fighting. We now supposed we were going to have our turn at them. The boys were laughing and cracking jokes at one another as indifferent as if going on Brigade drill. By the time we got to the battlefield, it was getting dark and the firing had ceased. We had the satisfaction to hear that our boys had behaved nobly, [and] gained the day for us and won the highest praise from the generals. The 5th made a terrific charge on their rifle pits, drove them out and then charged them through our slashing. I must describe the position so you can understand the advantage the secesh had over us.

Before we got to the battleground the road leads down into a low place heavily wooded. [and] just beyond this and behind a swampy place the rebels had their rifle pits extending along that whole line. Just behind their pit they had about forty acres of heavy timber slashing, through which men could retreat and fight an advancing force with a very great advantage. Our boys drove them out of all this and then our artillery began to play upon them. They retreated to their forts, of which they had a chain of them stretching across the whole peninsula. We marched back to our knapsacks in the dark and of all the horrible of horrible roads, this was the most horrible; mud knee-deep and of the consistency of paste. We had no other alternative than to paddle through it. After we got to our knapsacks we pitched our tents and had a splendid sleep.

The morning [Tuesday, May 6] broke clear and bright to the great delight of us all; after we cooked our breakfast which exhausted our provisions we had orders to pack up our duds. Shortly after the news came into camp that the rebels had retreated during the night. We immediately marched through the battlefield which was strewn with dead secesh, pale and ghostly, most of them were hit in the head and shoulder, which plainly showed the advantage they had, the rest of their bodies being behind shelter. There was [sic] no mangled corpses, so the fighting was done mostly by infantry.

It looks rough to see so many dead men but a soldier soon learns to look on such things as a matter of course. We marched on most to the village of Williamsburg and camped to wait for provision and for our men to bury the dead. There must be a large number of killed as they have not got them all buried yet. We found several dead secesh lying around this morning, most of them had a brutal and ignorant expression and countenance. A secesh general was killed in the battle and his body left on the field. Colonel Terry of the 5th was slightly wounded and the Lieutenant Colonel also. It is said that when our men first charged on them and began to fire, the rebs hallowed, “There comes the western blue devils” and they began to break. A wounded secesh told some of our boys that our men could not have whipped them if it had not been for our western troops that we had there. He told they were too much for them. Hamilton doesn’t command us any more, he has been ordered to Washington for some misconduct I hear. We are now commanded by [General Phil] Kearny of Mexican [War] fame and after whom one of our forts in the Indian Territory is named.

On May 14 George wrote to his parents “We are in the neighborhood of a place called New Kent Courthouse, [and] we are not a great many miles from West Point, where our provisions and stores are all brought by water. We are now the rear guard bringing up the provisions and ammunition trains. We do not have very hard marches to perform. Some days we do not march at all. Yesterday we packed up and marched a mile and a half, then camped again. Today we marched about seven miles, [and] we are not more than twenty-five miles from Williamsburg. Hear [sic] the rebels are at Chickahominy Swamp where they intend to make another stand. The country through here looks very well. The inhabitants seemed to have followed Jeff Davis’ advice and plowed up every field and planted sowed, [as] the corn is about three inches high. Oats are up and look quite green.”

He wrote his mother on May 18 that “We are now camped at a place called Cumberland, a landing for boats on the Pamunkey River. We are ten miles from New Kent Courthouse, and five miles to the White House [landing] which I believe is our advance position. We have been here two days now, [and] I suppose we will be marching again before long.” And on May 21 George wrote to his sister that “We have moved from our camp at Cumberland and are now on the Richmond road some five or six miles from New Kent Courthouse, which is the County seat. So you see I am at present in Kent County if it has not the Michigan attached to it. This is a splendid country around here and well cultivated. The timber is principally pine, as it is all over Virginia. I think that I would be satisfied to live on some of the farms that we pass. . . . Corn is large enough to hoe, and oat are thick and green; peaches and apples are formed and everything looks like summer. Wonder what will turn up next?”

In what would be his final letter, written to his mother on May 28, just twelve miles from Richmond, George announced that

Things are fast coming to a focus around here I guess. Our division is on the left wing of the army, [and] we crossed Bottom’s Bridge Sunday and are now camped about 12 miles from the rebel capitol. The Chickahominy River that has been so much said about is but an insignificant stream and would be called a creek in Michigan. . . . There is some pretty nice country through here especially on the other side of the Chickahominy. I would be willing to own some farms I saw there. Wheat and oats are headed out, [and] the crops look as tho[ugh] it would be rather thin. Strawberries are ripe though they are rather a scarce article. . . . McClellan has ordered two rations of whiskey and quinine a day, but owing to the bad state of the roads and the distance of the landing whiskey has played out. Our knapsacks and other heavy dunnage have been sent back across the Chickahominy so that in case we should be forced to fall back as far as the river, we should not lose anything or be encumbered. We have rifle pits and masked batteries in store for them should they drive us. . . . We are having easy times now laying around in the shade doing nothing while you at home are hard at work sweating in the hot sun, but we do not know what minute we will be ordered to pack up and march and maybe fight. That is the difference.

George was reported missing in action following the engagement at Fair Oaks, Virginia on May 31, 1862. Henry Pool, also of Company A and who would himself be dead of disease in less than three weeks, wrote to Mrs. Miller on June 5 that because he was

a particular friend of your son George I took the liberty to open this [a letter to George from his mother, dated May 28, 1862] and answer it, as George is undoubtedly taken prisoner. We had a terrible battle Saturday 20,000 of us against about 60,000 of the rebels. After a terrible conflict we drove them back although our losses were heavy. Our Captain [Samuel Judd] was killed, First Lieutenant [George Judd] badly wounded through the shoulder. First, Second, third and Fifth Sergeants wounded. We have made a thorough search for George but as his body could not be found, he is undoubtedly taken prisoner. He was a good boy, a faithful soldier, we all deeply regret his loss, yet pray that it may be but for a short time. Our company killed, wounded and missing [numbered] 30; among the killed was William Daniels, Norman G. White, Samuel Dodge, Jared Harrison, Henry Ward, Ansel [Anson] Lewis, C. D. Smith, The rest wounded, most of them slightly. William Morse wounded in the knee.

And Henry Morse, also of Company A, wrote to Miller’s parents on June 7, 1862, that he was

grieved to write such news to a father that has lost his son. Your son was a dear friend of mine, but since the last battle [Fair Oaks] we can’t find anything of him. The last was seen of him, he and a boy in our company was seen to go toward the rebels. That was the last seen of either of them until after the battle. The boy that was with him was found dead, but G.W. could not be found, he probably was taken prisoner, and I pray that he is for then he will be restored to you again.

I have got his likeness and if you have not got one I will send it to you although it was a present to me while we were at Camp Michigan.

From Chickahominy creek, Virginia, Henry Morse wrote Miller’s father on June 7, 1862, that he was “grieved to write such news to a father that has lost his son. Your son was a dear friend of mine, but since the last battle we can't find anything of him. The last was seen of him, he and a boy in our company was seen to go toward the Rebels. That was the last seen of either of them until after the battle. The boy that was with him was found dead, but G.W. could not be found, he probably was taken prisoner, and I pray that he is for then he will be restored to you again. I have got his likeness and if you have not got one I will send it to you although it was a present to me while we were at Camp Michigan."

On June 22, Corporal Peter Lawyer of Company A explained to Jared Miller that George had been

selected out of our Regiment as one of the sharpshooters together with about fifty more, and they were commanded by our worthy Captain, S. A. Judd, and they went into the battle about one hundred yards in advance of the balance of the Regiment, but as the battle raged we were soon all mixed up together and we had all we could do for every man to look out for himself. Many of our brave skirmishers fell for the last time. G. W. Miller, James V. Smith and Corporal Wm. H. Drake are among the missing. The battlefield was all looked over for the wounded, [and] dead [but] [and] we found all but the above-mentioned. It is my candid opinion that these three were taken prisoners. They all belong to Company A, the same company that I do myself and G. W. Miller was a favorite of the company and very highly esteemed by all who knew him. We are all flattering ourselves that he will yet be returned to us. The last that was seen of George he was as far in the advance as any that was seen in the company. We were engaging the enemy on our left and we drove them back although they greatly outnumbered us, [and] after some time had elapsed and we were all the time facing a perfect shower of bullets and grapeshot, the enemy overpowered our right wing which fell back. The enemy followed them up and so we were holding them on our left. They came near flanking us, [and] it was with the utmost exertion that any of us escaped and there is where we think our three men was [sic] taken prisoner, G. W. among the rest. Our Captain [Judd] was killed and our company badly cut to pieces. Four of our Sergeants were wounded, the highest officer we have left in our company is a Sergeant.

I hope it will be as we expect if so we shall all see George again. You must hope for the best. It is my sincere wish that your son will be speedily returned to you again.

On August 8, the Millers’ hopes were lifted briefly when Henry Morse wrote from Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. Morse apologized for neglecting to write sooner for he “had given up all hope of his being alive until this morning. I saw and talked with a prisoner that [sic] belonged to our Regiment. He was taken to the hospital after our evacuation of Fair Oaks. From there he was taken to Richmond, [after which] he has been released and returned yesterday, [and] he told me that George was in North Carolina and the same soldier that guarded him guarded George. As there is a general exchange of prisoners, he will return” home soon “or to his Regiment. If he returns home give him my best wishes.”

For months the family worried over George’s whereabouts. On December 8, 1862, another of Miller’s friends, Jessie Coon, replied to a letter he had apparently received from Miller’s mother soliciting information as to his whereabouts. “Madam,” wrote Coon from the convalescent camp,

you are excusable in addressing a stranger under the circumstances, for there is no soldier I trust in the army so dead to the feelings of humanity as to refuse to give all the information possible in such a case. Your son was certainly not taken to Salisbury [prison in North Carolina], for I knew all of the Regiment that was there but 8 of us. I also think that all of the prisoners taken in that battle [Fair Oaks] that were not too severely wounded to prevent it were taken to Salisbury. Your son was highly esteemed in his company and no doubt they made a careful search for him as the nature of the ground would admit of. The battle was fought for the most part in dense thicket of scrub oaks and pines and in some places the timber had been slashed down and a person falling in those slashes might easily escape the notice of those searching for him. It is the opinion of his friends that he fell in one of those thickets, and so escaped their search. Deeply sympathizing with a mother for the loss of a dear son, you will pleaser accept the sincere condolence of a soldier in your great affliction.

Sometime late in the year, William Drake of Company A and who had been taken prisoner at Fair Oaks, wrote to Mrs. Miller from the camp for paroled prisoners. Drake hoped that

You will not think me forward in adding a word to that already written by friend [Jesse] Coon. I belong to company A of the Third and have stood picket a great many times with George and I say it not for display, there was not one in the Company for whom I felt a higher regard. After the terrible battle of Fair Oaks 3 of Company A were found to be missing, J. V. Smith, George and myself. We had to fight Indian fashion such was the nature of the ground, thickets, fallen timber and swampy. I think with others that he might have been carried off by the enemy (wounded) and since died or that his body was not found after we moved from Salisbury, North Carolina to Belle Isle near Richmond, Virginia some of our Regiment held prisoners there inquired of us if we knew anything about George and we made all inquiries if he was yet in the hospitals at Richmond. We should have known it by this time, hence we are driven to conclude that he has met a soldier's death. Our wounded received the best treatment the enemy could give and to my knowledge were not abused as some represent. You will pardon me for expressing my opinion as to his fate, all who knew him mourn for him and with you -- he was truthful, honorable and upright and a true-hearted soldier for such a one's sorrow is not unmixed for the dark cloud has a bright border guided by a sanctifying hope.

He closed by quoting “a poem delivered on the Fourth of July last at Salisbury prison:

“And yet amid the battles storm
Might have been an angels form
That hovered near us in the fight,
Our sun by day, our shield by night.
She soothed the dying, blessed the dead,
Thy child shall live as one of those
Who dropping, driving back the foes,
Though dead on earth, he lives to fame
And hath a never dying name.”

It was becoming apparent that George was not going to be found alive. On December 11, 1862, Henry Morse wrote again to the Millers from Washington. He was replying to an inquiry from the family regarding anything whether George had anything on his person that might identify his body.

You wanted to know what he carried in his pocket. I do not know what had had in his pocket, but this I do know, that last winter he used to save his letters till he got tired. Then he would burn them up. I think he must had something about [his] person they could have identified him by. You asked me if he ever read his bible. He always read a great deal, but I don’t know whether he read his bible or not for I did not read my own. Then he always seemed to be unconcerned about death; he appeared fearless, in fact -- he was as good a soldier as we had in our Regiment.

There was a great many so black when they were buried that they could not be recognized. They lay three days before they were buried and it was very warm weather at the time. I suppose I have done wrong in picturing to you the horrors of a battlefield for you will imagine everything about him. But what does it matter what becomes of the body when the spirit has gone to its heavenly Father and left this world of sin and sorrow? All I ask in this world is that when this body of mine is cold, my soul will be prepared to meet the being who gave it [life]. This is my mother’s prayer.


George Miller was eventually listed as killed in action on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, but his body never was found. There is a memorial to him in Bowne Township cemetery.

George O. Miller

George O. Miller was born in 1842.

George was 19 years old and probably living with his family in Kent County, Michigan, when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company A on May 13, 1861. George W. Miller, also of Company A and a tentmate in the winter of 1861-62, described George O. Miller “as different from me as day is from dark. He is a pretty wild fellow.” George O. was detached as a teamster from August of 1862 through April of 1863, and supposedly deserted on May 19, 1863, at Washington, DC, but in fact he was admitted to Armory Square hospital in Washington, DC, on May 2, 1863, possibly suffering from tonsillitis.

He was again absent sick, presumably in Washington, from October until he was transferred to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps on March 31, 1864. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)

There is no further record.

Cyrus Miller

Cyrus Miller was born in 1816 in Alexander, Genesee County, New York.

Cyrus was married to New York native New York native Phoebe Ann (b. 1814) probably in New York, and they had at least four children: John (b. 1840), Roxana (b. 1842), Martha (b. 1844) and Rufus (*b. 1846). Sometime before 1840 they settled in Pennsylvania and between 1842 and 1846 moved on to Michigan. By 1850 Cyrus and his family were living on a farm in Ravenna, Ottawa County, and by 1860 he and his wife were residing in Tallmadge, Ottawa County. Also living with Cyrus was his newly married daughter Rozanna and her husband Oscar Robinson as well as a blacksmith named John Richberg, who wold also join the Third Michigan infantry. Two houses away lived Orlando Rowe and he too would join the Third Michigan.

Cyrus stood 5’10” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion and was a 45-year-old farmer living with his wife Phoebe and John Richberg (who would enlist in Company B) in Tallmadge when he enlisted in Company I on November 16, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered on December 23 at Detroit. Sometime during the first two weeks of March, 1862, Cyrus suffered a fall which injured his “left hip joint” making it impossible for him to fully rotate the leg. He was subsequently sent to the Patent Office hospital in Washington, DC, where he was discharged on June 24, 1862, for “chronic rheumatism (sciatica) of several months’ standing” which was aggravated by his accident.

Cyrus returned to Michigan. By 1870 he was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife in Lamont, Tallmadge Township, Ottawa County. In 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife Phoebe Ann in Lamont. He was still living in Lamont, Ottawa County in 1888 and 1890.

He was probably married a second time to one Electa C.

In 1886 he applied for and received a pension (no. 360424).

Cyrus died on January 22, 1894, and was possibly buried in Lamont, Ottawa County.

In January of 1895 his widow was living in Michigan, when she applied for and received a pension (no. 443583).

Charles Aldrille Miller

Charles Aldrille Miller was born on December 13, 1839, in Plainfield, Kent County, Michigan, the son of George (1799-1884) and Ann or Anna (Akley or Akerley, 1797-1877).

Both New York natives his parents were married in 1819 in Delaware County, New York (where George had been born). The family moved west and settled in Kent County in 1837. Charles was the fourteenth of sixteen children born to George and Anna. By 1860 Charles was living with his family in Plainfield, Kent County, settling on section 23, where his father eventually owned a substantial amount of property.

Charles was 21 years old and still living in Plainfield when he enlisted as Musician in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was absent sick from July of 1862 through November, and dropped from the company rolls on December 30, 1862. However, he was returned to the Regiment on March 25, 1863, at Camp Sickles, Virginia, and in April of 1864 he was reported to be guarding “contrabands” (runaway slaves) at Newport News, Virginia. Charles was a witness at the marriage of Laura Brewer and Ambrose Bell (his future brother-in-law), also formerly of Company F and who was also working with former slaves in the Norfolk, Virginia area. The wedding took place in Norfolk in March of 1863. Charles claimed later that he had been wounded in the right shin at the siege of Yorktown. He was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After he left the army Charles eventually returned to Michigan and married New York native Annette Florilla Bell (1847-1921), on July 12, 1867, in Newaygo County, and they had at least eleven children: Winnie Grant (Mrs. Robert Blair, 1868-1951), Inez Opal (Mrs. Somers, 1885-1971), Leon (b. 1873), Cecil (b. 1877), Charnette (1870-1850), Clare (b. 1881), Guy Hugo (1883-1967), Earl Peter (1888-1963), Claude C. (1879-1969), Charles A. (1894-1932) and Lucy Maude (1886-1911). Annette was also the sister of Emer and Ambrose Bell, both formerly of Company F.

By 1870 Charles was working as a farmer and living with his wife and two children in Plainfield, Kent County; also living with them were two farm hands, the young teenage Darling brothers. (That same year his parents were also living on a large farm in Plainfield; in fact his father owned some $8500 worth of real estate.) In 1875 Charles and his family moved to Missaukee County, purchasing 160 acres in section 24 of West Branch township where he resided for many years. According to one source,

The land Mr. Miller took up in Missaukee county was at that time all wild and unimproved, but he has succeeded in reducing about forty acres of it to a fine cultivable condition and is reaping abundant harvests of hay and grain. He has a good dwelling, substantial barn and other out-buildings and has in many ways brought the place up to a high standard of cultivation. Besides his field crops, he also gives some attention to live stock and fruit, having a good orchard, which, though not as large as some others in the locality, is productive in degree.

By 1880 Charles was working as a and living with his wife and children in West Branch or Star City, Missaukee County; several doors away lived Ambrose Bell. Charles was living in Star city, Missaukee County in 1888 and 1890 (next door lived Ambrose Bell) and he and Annette were living in Star City in 1904. Indeed it is quite likely Charles lived in or near Star City for most of his life. He served as supervisor of West branch township and as justice of the peace as well as a school officer.

According to one source he had a “well earned reputation as a musician.” In fact, it was noted that “served in the army in the capcity of a musician and since his return to peaceful pursuits he has maintained his interest in the art. He is the possessor of valuable instruments and frequently delights his friends with his renditions.”

In 1864 Charles applied for and received a pension (no. 858329).

He was a member of the Caldwell GAR Post in Lake City, the Star City Grange, the Star City Church and Patrons of Husbandry. He reportedly attended the 50th Reunion at Gettysburg in the summer of 1913.

Charles died of cancer of the stomach on November 1, 1913, probably at his home in Missaukee County and was buried in Star City cemetery.

In 1914 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 772858). By 1920 Annette was still living in West Branch (as the head of the household), Missaukee County; also living with her was her young son Charles E., her daughter Inez Somers and Inez’s daughter Juliette. Next door lived her son Leon and his family.

Charles Miller

Charles Miller was born on April 29, 1843, in Sterlingshire, Scotland, the son of Charles.

Charles immigrated to America with his family and may have settled in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan in 1859. In any case, he was probably living in Grand Rapids, Kent County by the time the war broke out.

(In 1860 there was one Charles Miller, a gas house laborer, b. 1806 in Scotland, living with his two young children Mary (b. 1849) and Andrew (b. 1850), both of whom were born in Scotland, living with and/or working for a 26-year-old miller named Walter Nelthorpe, in Grand Rapids’ First Ward. In fact, John Nelthorpe, also from Grand Rapids would also enlist in Company B. This same Charles Miller had apparently remarried to Scottish-born Jane, and was working as a gas house laborer and living in Grand Rapids’ First Ward in 1870; he owned some $1600 worth of real estate.)

Charles (younger) stood 5’6” with gray eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was 18 years old and probably working as a blacksmith in Grand Rapids when he enlisted with his parent’s consent in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was wounded slightly in the back and left arm on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, but soon recovered and was apparently wounded a second time, suffering a broken left arm during the battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, probably on December 13, 1862. Charles was sent to a Washington hospital soon after the battle and remained hospitalized until he was discharged on March 18, 1863, at Detroit for a wound to the left arm.

Following his discharge Charles probably returned to Grand Rapids where he reentered the service on December 24, 1863, for 3 years in Company D, First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, crediting Grand Rapids, and was mustered on January 4.

Charles probably joined the regiment somewhere in the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennesse where it was on engineering duty as well as at Bridgeport, Stevenson and on line of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, Nashville & Northwestern Railroad, Tennessee & Alabama Railroad and Memphis & Charleston Railroad building block houses, etc., till May, 1864. The Regiment was on duty on the Atlantic & Western Railroad building block houses, etc., till September when it was ordered to Atlanta, Ga., September 25. Old members were mustered out October 31, 1864.

It remained on duty at Atlanta September 28 to November 15; and participated in the March to the sea destroying railroad track, bridges and repairing and making roads November 15-December 10; in the siege of Savannah December 10-21, in the Carolina Campaign January to April, 1865; in the advance on Raleigh April 10-14, and occupation of Raleigh April 14; in the surrender of Johnston and his army. The regiment then marched to Washington, D. C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 20, and was in the Grand Review on May 24. Ordered to Louisville, Ky., June 6; then to Nashville, Tenn. Duty at Nashville July 1 to September 22. He was mustered out as an Artificer on September 22, 1865, at Nashville, Tennessee. The regiment was disacharged at Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan on October 1.

After the war Charles returned to western Michigan and settled in Muskegon.

Charles was married on June 4, 1867, to Lucy Granger (1844-1929); they had at least four children: W. R., Mrs. William Wasserman, Mrs. Lucy Black and Mrs. Mary Nichols.

With the exception of a brief stay in Menominee County in the 1880s, he resided in Muskegon the rest of his life. By 1880 he was working as a saw mill engineer and living with his wife and children in Muskegon. Indeed, he worked for many years as an engineer, although among his other jobs over the years was as a machinist at Alexander Rogers’ machine shop and foreman for Ryerson, Hills & company. For some time in 1890s he was the unofficial caretaker of the Indian cemetery on Morris Street near the downtown area.

The Muskegon Chronicle of April 28, 1928, reported that many years earlier, Charles had given

important testimony in connection with the litigation between Martin Ryerson and William Badeaux, over the title to this historical tract, located on Morris Street, near the center of the business district of the city. This suit was won in the circuit court and the [Michigan] supreme court by Mr. Ryerson, a son of Martin Ryerson, pioneer Muskegon lumberman and friend of the Ottawa Indians. Mr. Ryerson deeded the property to the city and he also provided money to improve it and an endowment fund to maintain it so that the spirit of the Ottawas buried there might not be disturbed. Only recently the work of beautifying this cemetery was completed. [During the trial Miller testified that at the time he was] acquainted with the Indian cemetery having passed through it previous to 1865. I do not know of my own knowledge of any bodies being buried there. My wife had a cousin buried there and her aunt used to put flowers on the boy's grave. That was in 1865. Her name was Granger and she was not an Indian but Irish. I have had something to do either actively or in superintending the keeping up of the fences and that cemetery is in good order and condition. In 1894, I think, we had to renew the fences and again along about 1896 the fence was renewed. I never got any pay or asked any. I did it simply as a matter of accommodation to my old employer Ryerson, Hills and company.”

Charles was an active member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. During the annual reunion of the Old Third infantry association, on December 14, 1900, Miller was reported to have said that as a result of his wartime experience, and particularly that which he had during the battle of Fredericksburg and afterwards, some 38 years before, and which had left him wounded, “he learned to remember only the pleasant side of the war.” And in 1922, during the annual Old Third reunion, Miller, one of the few surviving members of the Regiment, was named vice-president of the association for the ensuing year. “‘I have missed,’” he told a reporter for the Grand Rapids Press, “‘just two reunions in 50 years,’ he said in his bluff Scotch way. ‘Twice I came down from the upper peninsula down across the lake to get here’.”

He was a member of the First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics Association, and attended the 1910 and 1920 reunions. He also belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic Kearny Post No. 7 in Muskegon. In 1863 he applied for and received a pension (no. 13407).

Charles died of cardiac hypertrophy at home at 132 Houston Street in Muskegon on April 27, 1928. “Mr. Miller,” observed the Muskegon Chronicle, “knew Muskegon history as few other men, over a period of 60 years. He saw the town enter its boom as a lumbering city. He saw the boats disappear with the acres of logs from the lake, witnessed the passing of the mills, and then he saw Muskegon come back as a manufacturing city.” Charles was buried in Evergreen cemetery, Muskegon: 7-10-1.

His widow applied for a pension (no. 1616656) but the certificate was never granted.

Andrew N. Miller

Andrew N. Miller, alias “Bernard Henry” and “Edward S. Taylor,” was born in 1838 in England, in Oakland County, Michigan, or in New York.

Andrew stood 5’8” with gray eyes, auburn hair and a florid complexion and was 23 years old and probably working as bookbinder and living in Ingham County (probably Lansing) when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles,” was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.) According to Frank Siverd of Company G, Andrew was sick with “inflammation of the lungs” at Cantonment Anderson in Grand Rapids shortly before the regiment left Michigan in June of 1861.

Andrew has the dubious unique distinction of being one of only two men in the Regiment who enlisted in the Regiment twice (the other was Charles Spang), and was unique in the Regiment for having enlisted in two additional Regiments, one of them twice. He allegedly deserted while on the road to Bull Run in late July of 1861, although according to Frank Siverd of Company G, Andrew, who had been “missing since the first battle . . . was taken sick and started for Washington and was last seen near the city, since which time he has not been heard from.”

A week later, however, Siverd wrote home to Lansing that the friends of Miller and George Southerland, also of Company G and also missing, “should not be alarmed, for, although they could not be found, yet they are known to have reached Washington.” Siverd added that in his opinion “they have taken care of themselves.”

In fact, Miller apparently joined Company E, Sixty-seventh or Sixty-eighth Ohio infantry at Wauseon, Ohio, on November 15, 1861, under the name of “Edward S. Taylor.” He was appointed Sixth Corporal on December 15, 1861, and was a Corporal and absent sick in the hospital at Camp Chase, Ohio from February 9, 1862, through June. He was subsequently reported as AWOL through December. Andrew apparently returned to the Regiment and on January 1, 1863, was reduced to the ranks from Fifth Corporal. He was reported with the Regiment through April and again AWOL from May 1, 1863, and reported as having deserted on May 2, 1863, near Perkins plantation, Louisiana, while en route from Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana to Grand Gulf, Mississippi.

Apparently, when he was reported AWOL from the Sixty-eighth in July of 1862, Andrew had in fact returned to Michigan and enlisted (a second time) under the name of “Andrew N. Miller” in Company G, Third Michigan infantry on August 8, 1862, at Detroit.

He probably never joined the Third Michigan, however, and was discharged for consumption on December 21, 1862, at Cliffburne hospital in Washington, DC. Miller then returned to Michigan.

According to a letter dated October 21, 1863, from Captain E. Robinson of the provost marshal guard in Detroit to Colonel Hill the acting assistant provost marshal general for the state of Michigan, Miller had recently been arrested. “I have the honor,” Robinson wrote

to report to you the case of Andrew N. Miller who was arrested and sent to these Barracks as a deserter from Co. G 3d Mich Infantry By Prov. Marshal Barry 3d Cong. Dist. [on] October 16, 1863. At the time of his arrest he was recruiting for a position in the 11th Mich Cavalry, in the village of Mason, Ingham County Mich. His discharge papers at that time were about six miles from the place where he was arrested, but was not permitted to go and get them. At the time Miller was brought to this Barracks he was represented to be a desperate fellow and would get away if he could. Consequently I confined him in the guard house where he has remained ever since. I find upon the records at the Adjt. Genls office today -- which note you will find enclosed -- that Miller was discharged at the very time and place that he stated. You will also find enclosed the descriptive list sent by the Provost Marshal to these Barracks with Miller, together with the remarks made by the Provost Marshall. He (the Prov M) has allowed for his arrest $30.00 -- as you will see by the enclosed descriptive list.

It is not known what was the outcome of his arrest.

However, Andrew was apparently a substitute for one Harvey Miller, and on April 12, 1865, enlisted in Company G, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania infantry under the name of “Bernard Henry,” at Williamsport (probably Pennsylvania) for one year. He was described as 26 years old, 5’6” with gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion, and by trade a laborer. He was promoted to hospital steward on June 13, and was last reported as having enlisted in the Pennsylvania infantry in violation of the 50th (old 22nd) Article of War, “prohibiting a soldier from enlisting in one organization, and then deserting to enlist in another.”

There is no further record.

In fact, Andrew survived the war.

He was married to Elizabeth.

In 1877 he applied for and received (?) a pension (no. 521723).

His widow was living in Washington, DC, in 1893 (?) when she applied for and received a pension (no. 390017).

Americus W. Miller

Americus W. Miller was born in 1845 in Steuben County, New York, the son of Lydia (b. 1818).

New York native Lydia and her husband were probably married ub New York, sometime before 1849 when their oldest child was born. By 1850 Lydia, probably a widow, was living in Campbell, Steuben County, and Americus was attending school with several of his siblings in Campbell. (Near by lived the family of John Robbins, who owned some $1000 worth of real estate.) By 1860 Lydia had remarried to a man named Robbins and was quite probably a widow again when she was listed as a farmer (she owned some $1000 worth of real estate); in any case Americus was working as a farmer and living with his mother, younger brother Norman B. and two Robbin’s children in Campbell.

Following the fall of Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, Americus, who had left New York and settled in Michigan, joined the Lansing militia company called the “Williams’ Rifles,” whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G.

He stood 5’7” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 16 years old and probably working as a farmer in Ingham County when he enlisted with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company G on May 10, 1861. According to Frank Siverd of Company G, Americus was present for duty with the Regiment and actively engaged in the various actions, particularly the retreat on July 21 at Bull Run, Virginia. By the end of the year, however, Miller was sick with typhoid fever in a hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, but he soon recovered the eventually rejoined the Regiment.

Americus was shot in the left thigh on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and, according to Homer Thayer of Company G, Miller was wounded and reported to be missing after that action. In fact, as of October 6 he was convalescing in College hospital in Georgetown, DC, preparing to go home on sick furlough. He was hospitalized from November through February of 1863, and discharged on March 22, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, for a gunshot wound of the left thigh. According to the surgeon’s report, “The ball entered on the inner side of the thigh near the middle, passing upwards and outwards making its exit on the posterior surface three inches above the level of entrance, bruising the sciatic nerve and impeding locomotion.”

It is not known if Americus ever returned to Michigan.

He was married to Indiana native Carrie (b. 1851), and they had at least one child: Maud (b. 1871).

In 1868 he applied for and received a pension (no. 12765).

By 1870 Americus was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Fort Dodge, Wahkonsa Township, Webster County, Iowa.

By 1880 Carrie was listed as having remarried one C. H. Richmond and living in Lincoln, Calhoun County, Iowa; also living with them was her daughter Maud Miller.

In August of 1921 Carrie Richmond was listed as Americus’ widow, when she applied for a pension (no. 1178378), but it appears no certificate was ever granted.