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Miller Family Papers: Transcripts - MS 656
June 19th/ 62
Encamped near Alabama
Esteemed Friend William
It is in good health & enjoyment of life that I devote a few moments this beautifull cool morning in writing a few lines to you whome I so dearly love Oh William if You & I could have one 24 hours conversation together to talk over our boyhood acts also what has transspired since we parted last What an unexpressable comfort it would be to me – I will admit without any argument with you that you have had more enjoyment in Society than I have But I hold that I have whilled away the last nine months as pleasantly & seemingly as quick as any body excepting no one. it dont appear to me that it has been over one month since I left home if the ballance of our three years term passes by as fast the three years wount bee any longer than one was at home If Uncle Philip enjoyed good health. it would be but mighty little that I cared about home but I feel for him as though he was my father & I would consider it a pleasure if I could do his work & take care of him while he is sick. all the difficulty he & I ever had I dont consider that either of us was in the fault – But I will say no more on this subject for if I live to return home a gain I intend to give my old homestead another trial & if We can live in peace I will stay if not I will rebell for I think that I have lived in war long enough but I have much more comfort in the preasant war than I did the one ere before this. William I am not half as bad a boy as I thought I was I am getting quite consaty of myself I havent been in the guardhouse nor been done any extra duty yet & still worse I dont get a scolding three times a day & once between meals and that is saying a considerable for a Soldier in the rear rank
I should liked to have been at Berea with you last winter I am write sertain that we would had some sport if we hadent done nothing worse than went to see some of those fair sakes that you spoke of but I dont know but what the school that I am attending now will be as proffitable for me in the long run as one term of schooling at Berea would be fore me Soldiering learns a man to look out for no one if I were in you boys places at home I would enlist in the three months Service if the plow had to stop & say Good By old cradle for this harvest but if the war shouldent happen to end in three months it would be a bad job for the old folks at home for I will asshure you that you would like it so well that you would remain in the Service till the war ended I’ll that makes me lie awake nights without rest is I am a fraid that the War will close before my three Years is out But without jokeing I never was as harty or knew what good jenuine happiness was till the presant time Oh give me a Soldiers life to live then I know who my friends & foes are. And your can have all the luxuries that sweet home affords & be entirely wellcome to them also the Ladies. Which We the masculine love so dearly Oh what nice rosy cheeks & ruby lips they have but it would be better for them if their minds were stones.
Please take notice of my good writing
Yours Truly Wm Miller
Your ever True Friend
Geo. O. Bailey
Well Old Friend William
You are well this evning how am I Old Bailey Well I will declare what small sheets of paper we dew have down here Why I fill a sheet this morning in tow jerks of a lambs tale Then I dident tell you half of my story So I sit down this blessed evning on my nice little lounge that I hae built with poles & crutches & 8 inches high for posts & oak leaves & pine bows for my feather bed & also my commissary & canteen by my side so if I get thursty or hungry my supplies will be ready for the table my haversack contains about one peck of hard bread 4 pounds of nice pickled pork 3 pounds of sugar one of coffee one plate one knife & fork & a little salt pepper musterd & and one 65 cent can of preserved strawberies with a few other yankee notions for the stomache & I guess that is a bout all My Cartridge box has 45 cartridges in it cap box full of caps that never fail My knapsack has had the diarhoea very bad since We have been accostum to fource marches it has allmost diarrhea it self away but just the shell It used to look like a few peddlers budgegt but all it contains now is one shirt three pair of sochs one indian rubber blanket portfolio & needle cushion I can march 18 miles per day & cary my whole equipments with perfect ease I dont think that the weather is any warmer in this State in the summer than it is in Ohio & I am sertain that the nights are a great deel cooler Last winter I dreaded this summer but We all have better health this summer than we had last winter I hope that we will go to New Orleans before we are sent home but I think it is doubtful that we ever get any further in that direction Last Tuesday our Brigade started for Tuscumbia Alabama but we only got eight miles on our journey when the order was Countermanded So we madad a boutface & marched back to camp We are encamped in Tishgorningo County Mississippi in the South east corner of the State we are in two miles of the line of Tenn & Alabama We have been in Alabama three times since we came to this camp We helped build up the bridge that Gen Mitchel burnt to keep the Rebles from retreating by railroad from Corinth I can tell you that we was a cross looking lot of boys when we found Corinth evacuated for we expected nothing else but to have to follow them up with fource marches But I guess that we have accomplished as much as though we had had a battle with them for they burnt enormuss sight of provisions & storeage & took several thousand Prisoners I think that we will stay at this place for some time the Rebles in this part of the country is about played out if they ant good swimmers they will have to drowned in the Gulf of Pity the poor butternuts dont you I hope that McCleland will have good success in getting old Jeff but He will runn like Beaureguard did from Corinth Wilson is well & is the best sergeant in the 41st & if the war lasts three months longer before the three months expires he will ware shoulderstraps & after he gets the straps on the bars will soon grow on He would been promoted ere before this if Jack Mitchell was out of the way The Capt is urging to get Jack promoted but the Col knows that he isent capable for the office I will have to stop for this is the last line Please write often dont wait for me to write
I would wrote your before but I had not time I would like to write often
A letter from Geo & James wouldent come a miss I hope that you will enjoy the Fourth of July just eat a small piece of cake & piece for me & I will train for you
Dont think that I dont want to hear from because I dont write for I doo I should think that you would like to write Sundays
Tell the Boys that I would like to hear from all of them & I will answer as soon as possible
Mr. Wm Miller
postmarked Sandusky Apr 19 1862
41st Regt O.V.I. Co. I
18 miles North East of Knoxville Tenn.
Dec. 22nd 1,63
My accompliments to you sir
I recived your unexpected epistle last evening at dusk Read it with the utmost pleasure & I congratulate you in the highest esteem & hopeing that you will treat the little brats well & remember the last with the shingle nail in the end And in behalf of the school I beseech you for to not visit the house that Sam boards at. & hopeing your fear of the girls will still remain within you. Oh William why do you talk so much about the girls in the letters you write me they almost set me crazy especily about the gal that wouldent tell of it Oh my hart grows weary to think of the long long 9 months to pass by & I a sojer boy in the army But halt reflect one minute The Gov. is crying for veteran troops paying $402 Dol. bounty Yesterday the Col. wanted to know how many would reinlist providing we was sent to Ohio the 1st of next month & from there get furlough’s of 3 or 4 months & out of 111.95 agreed to reinlist on those terms I one of the No. & I think that our Regt will stand a good chance for to go back to O. for to recruit As I understand that 10 Ohio Regaments are to return to the State for to recruit Capt. Holloway wrote to us from Chattanooga but dident state wheather the other boys was with him or not The new recruits that Wilson sent us dont know as much as Sam Davis did I am more homesic for to se Wilson than I am to go home
I have a potion [notion?] not to tell you one word about the war & our heroic deeds for you You grat big stand up to might just as well be here in the army & be eat up with lice as much as me I caught a louse yesterday that had 5 little ones on it that is so honest & oh how I would like to sleep with you chaps & supply you with the beautifull pets.
But now for the knews Schoolmaster dont correct my spelling for I have a good gold pen & it likes to put in as many extra words as possible .
I wrote you a great long letter at Poe’s Tavern but as we was at that time Seiging Chattanooga thare wasent any mail went out till after the battle & I distroyed the letter & intended to write another but as time is precious & goes fast in the army I have delayed till now And as you are a newspaper reader I wount discribe the bloody conflicts that we have witnessed near Chattanooga Only that I was one of the No. that floated down the river on the pontoon boats & I wish that you would send me the paper that its is illustrated in as we dont get any male at all since the battle’s last night was the first but thare wasent any papers came We are perfectly ignorant of the war & affares only what we see with our own eyes On the 23rd of Nov. our Regt. was one of the Regarments that charged the enemy of from Ball’s Ridge We lost 3 killed & 3 wounded of our Co. none of your acquaintance On the 25th we took Missionary Ridge our Regt. colors was the 1st on the ridge Silverwood of our company carried the colors Our Brig. Captured 27 piecies of artillery but I understand that we have only got credit of only 18 piecies but we are intiytle (entitled) to 27 as muchas one piece our div. captured 40 pieces
I wount waist time + paper in bragging what our Regt. or Brig. done in the battles I will leave that for the newspaper corrispondence’s to do & as we was the first on the ridge you can judge what our fighting qualities is During the fights our new flag that Colonel Wiley presented us got shot to peicies nearly as bad as the old one was The Col. lost his leg in the charge at missionary but is getting along finely Lieut. Col. Kimberly has command now & he is a boy among us Williston still remmembers his old company & as brave a man as ever drew a saber Lieut. Watson was killed at Missionary We sent the saber that we (the Co.) presented him to his mother Since we left Chattanooga our 2nd Lieut James McMakon died we left him thare sick He was a Cleaveland boy, came out O.S. Sergt.
of Co. H. He was promoted for his bravery & good Soldierly valities & assigned to our Co. he was my particular friend His Sister is going to school in Cleveland if you happen to run against her give her my best wishes & a good recommend Lieut. Asdel our Ajutant has died also I think that Wilson will sertainly get a comisshin if so he will be assigned to our Co.
On the 27th of Nov. we buried our dead on the 28th we Started for Knoxville to reinforce Burnside We arrived on the 7th inst. But before our arrival Burnside had cleaned out Longstreet & pursueing him while we was at Knoxville I saw Co. G of the 100 Ohio every day They were garding the pontoon bridge They look like all of the Ottawa Soldiers fat & ragged On the 15th inst. Word came that Longstreet was driveing the Burnside army back So we had to sling knapsacks & march within supporting distance of Burnside On the 15th we crossed the Holsten River as we have been encamped on the opposite side fronting Knoxville On the 16th we marched 18 miles North East of Knoxville & we are remaining here yet here we found the Burnside army in full retreat but failed at this place to make a stand as we was expectid to reinfource them Dureing thair retreat Longstreet’s cavalry fought them every day on the 17th quite a little fight took place on our right our Brig. is on the extreem left we are fortifyed so that we can stand a hard Battle but it isent likely that we will have any fight at this place for I understand that Longstreet is looking out again And how long we will remain here I cant say but we will probaly persue Longstreet, go back to Chattanooga soon All our camp equipage is back thare & it is the
intention for our Corps to go back and I dont care how quick we start back for here we cant get any mail or provisions the rashions that we get we have to forage of from the country & that is cleaned out of all eatables We have fared rather hard this winter but this you can keep to yourself
At Chattanooga the Soldiers had to pick corn out of the horse manure for a liveing before the battle & since we have been on this march we have been hard up for shoes & grub I dont write this to grumble at the goverment only to let you know that we endure some hardships Now dont let the old folks hear of this for probaly they have some feelings for us hear creatures if you boys & gals hasent
But after endureing all the hardships I have I weigh 177 lb’s that pretty good for a boy But when I return I shouldent wounder than I would run of some of the fat a hunting after coon. Good By Bill Your everlasting short tailed friend Geo. O. Bailey
(written on top of last page)
Dont fail to write often I would write oftener if possible. You sertainly know that you are my particular male friend & a word from you shortens my time one year so please write often
Yours Truly Ge. O. B.
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