Letter from Jun. 6, 1865

M.J. Miller to Linda Miller

  • Full Title

    Letter of M. J. [Monroe Joshua Miller], Montgomery, Ala., to Linda, Lebanon, Illinois, June 6, 1865

  • Description

    Mentions his disappointed in not being mustered out. Regarding the news of the President's amnesty proclamation and the news of General Lee's arrest. States that he is realizing the impact of Lincoln's death, since Lincoln never would have acted as President Johnson has done.

  • Transcription

    Montgomery, Ala.,
    Tuesday, June 6, 1865
    My Dear Linda:
    I don’t like to write when I am feeling so disappointed and mean, yet you will want to get news of some kind whether I am feeling good or bad. When I wrote the other day, we were expecting to start homewards Monday (yesterday) but Sunday afternoon word came to us that this mustering out business was suspended for the present in this Department. You may guess how we were “sot back” by this piece of news. I felt like cursing black and blue every man who had anything to do in bringing such an order about. From what we heard it seemed evident that Old Smith was the chief cause of it— he wanting to keep as large a command as possible. But now it is intimated that he wanted to give the officers a chance to receive as much of their pay, before leaving the service, as possible. Paymasters having arrived with orders to pay all troops not under orders to be mustered out, the mustering-out order was withheld from us. So they say. They say also, that so soon as we are paid, we’ll get the order to start. I’m afraid it’s not true. We will be paid tomorrow four months pay. This delay can only accommodate the officers, because always when troops are mustered out the men are paid off anyway in full; but the officers pay kept back (several months of it) until they settle up their accounts with the Government. If we are paid four months tomorrow, there will still be about that much due them when we leave the services. But that is “none of my funeral.” It only troubles me to be kept so long in the service on account of other money-grabbers. All they talk about is their money— how to get it all, &C. I get so sick hearing it. Yesterday we received the President’s amnesty proclamation, and the news of Gen’l Lee’s arrest, &c. We now begin to realize how much we lost in the death of Lincoln. He never would have acted as Johnson is doing. It is most unfortunate I think, though others here say that is the right course. I don’t believe it. The civilized would will denounce such a course. And I fear the war will break about anew, and continue for years. The proclamation pardons a few, and excepts the great majority of the Southern people. But I have no heart to talk about these troubles. We don’t get out of one until we are plunged into another. Nothing but a superhuman Power can save us from utter ruin. I think it’s dreadful that we should be so heavily afflicted by our own ambitious rulers. But excuse me for writing what will make you feel worse than you would without any letter at all. Still you know my failings, and probably can make some allowance for them. If you can be more hopeful than I am, I am glad of it. It does not help matters to lament so about them.
    The Col. is detailed on a Committee to examine the officers of our Brigade— to report their characters and their wish to remain or not to remain in the service. The order appointing such a com. created considerable debate— some contending that they had no right to examine any officers but those who want to go into the Regular army. Among other warm discussions, one sprung up between the Col. and Maj. Olden. It continued until the Col. avowed himself insulted and walked off. That was yesterday morning. I don’t think they have spoken since. They were both in fault. The Col. ought to know better than to argue with such an unprincipled savage as the Major. Sic Transit egotism!
    O dear me! What hot weather we have here. And so dry and dusty. It’s awful. It’s dreadful. I do long to be up and going— homewards. I am so afraid something will turn up to compel us to stay till the 19th of September. That would be almost unbearable. I want so much to see my wife and my May. I am thinking of you almost constantly and wanting O so much to be with you daily and nightly. O may that happy day soon come to us. We will then, God willing, be so happy together. Would that I could fly to you, my sweet wife, and clasp you to my heart this very day.
    Ever your own true husband,
    M. J. Miller
    P. S. If it so turns out that we shall be kept in the army a month or two, I will send you money the first opportunity I have. Otherwise I will bring it home myself. It’s a tremendous amount anyway! It almost makes me sick when I think how much time I have thrown away.
    M. J.

    [Transcription by: Evan Laugen, Chandra Manning's class, Georgetown University].

  • Source

    Missouri History Museum

  • Rights

    This item is in the public domain.

  • Tags

  • Cite this Item

    Miller, Monroe Joshua, 1830-1866. "Letter of M. J. [Monroe Joshua Miller], Montgomery, Ala., to Linda, Lebanon, Illinois, June 6, 1865". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed April 25, 2019. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/321