©2009-2016 Becky Higgins

Monday, August 20, 2012

Military Monday - A Brothers Meeting

Only about four years apart, brothers Peter and Eliphalet “EB” Miller spent their childhood in Rush County, Indiana with their parents, Archibald and Ann (Barber) Miller and their siblings: Charles, Martha, Sarah, Permelia, and Susannah. Peter was born in March of 1836 and EB in Jan of 1840. They knew the joys of wandering through wilderness lands still prevalent in the area and the responsibility of helping their father tame that wilderness into fertile and profitable farm land.
In 1859, when Peter was only 23 years old, his father purchased land in Douglas County, Illinois and Peter left home to tend that land. According to Rush County records, Peter was married with one son at the time; however, this family never joined him in Illinois. The 1860 US census lists him with the Lemuel Githens family (Lemuel was Permelia’s husband); Peter is listed as having $1000 in real estate and $600 personal estate.
Enter the firing on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the Civil War in April of 1861. Unlike many young men at the time, neither Peter nor EB rushed in enlist. EB had his father and family to consider; there was much to be done and Archibald, though still strong, would find working the farm alone difficult. Peter was just getting his land in order and probably felt drawn to stay with it. However, at almost the same time, both brothers enlisted. EB became part of the 68th Regiment, Company C, of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry in August of 1862. He was age 22, 5’ 11 ½” tall with brown eyes and black hair. In that same month, Peter joined the 79th Regiment, Company E, of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Peter was age 27, 5’ 8” tall, with blue eyes and dark hair.
Taking different but similar paths the two regiments came near each other in January of 1863. I’ll let Peter tell the rest of the story as transcribed from his original letter, (Note: Eliphalet aka EB aka Dick):
Rutherford County, Tenisee near Murfreesboro at the hospitle.Dear father and Mother and sisters, this leaves me well and hope it will find you all well. I received your letter Dated Feb. the 4 and was glad to here from you. I received your letter that had the dolar in it and those two are all I got from you since the battle and I have fiften more besides this one.Dick and I rote one two weeks ago or about that. I heard that he was at Nashville and I that by telling the surgeon that he was sick that he would let me go to see him and I tole the surgeon that he was very low with the fever and had sent word for me to come and see him and he would not tell me to go. He said that if I went he would not make any interruption hereafter but he gave me no pass and I got with a train of teams that were going after ammunition and provisions. This train were six or seven miles long. No more of this.I slept with Nathan Lewis some two weeks ago. His is well, I go and see him soon again. He is in camp within two miles of my Reg.I were with Dick two nites and one day. He was well. It were after nite when I went on picket to find him. I went in the old house which a part of his Company was in and looking over the house to see if I could see him in he came to my back with some wood and I stood with my back almost to him and said , you burn your wood tolerable long here. Yes, said he without pausing, how are you, Peter and how did you get here. It always done me good to meet friends at home but it does me more good here than you can imagine to meet relation and old acquaintance. I have acquaintance in the 21 Ills, 25 Ills, 123 Ills, 37 Ind, and I have seen them all since the first of October and 67 Ind…
Peter Miller To: Archibald Miller, Ann Miller, Susan Miller, Sarah Miller, P Miller
I am fortunate to have 6 letters written by Peter to his family in Indiana ranging from 1863 through 1865 just prior to his discharge.
Both Peter and Eliphalet lived through the war and had families of their own. Peter died in 1911 in Oklahoma living to see his children grow to adulthood. Eliphalet died in 1887, one year after the passing of his wife, leaving seven orphaned children ranging in age from eighteen to one year.

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