Guide to the John J. Miller Papers, RG 505

Listed by DC

Date: 1-25-00

Date Span: 1863-1865

Size of Collection: 38 items

Biographical Sketch: Miller held the rank of captain and served as a surgeon in Company B, 12th Cavalry, Missouri State Guard (Confederate) during the Civil War. During the war, he was wounded, captured, and imprisoned. He lost a leg as a result of the wound.

Scope / Content: Correspondence to and from Miller documenting his activities during the Civil War; photographs of Miller and his wife; and biographical information regarding Miller.

SERIES I: Correspondence

May 31, 1863.  St. Louis, Mo.  John to Lizzie ( Mary Elizabeth Bird).  This is a flowing, wordy letter.  He is on parole in St. Louis with limitations on access and personal contacts.  He wants to assure her of his steadfast love for her.

Aug. 11, 1863.  Oakland, Mo.  Lizzie to John.  She assures him of her love.  His photograph has arrived, and pleases her very much.  He is now on Johnson’s island (on Lake Erie) and she fears his paroled prisoner exchanged may take a long time.

Oct. 30, 1863.  St. Louis, MO.  James Miller to John.  His father regrets that John is so far away (near Sandusky, Ohio), and that communications is so difficult.  He wants to send a heavy suit of cold weather if the prison permits.  He asks how John’s artificial leg is serving.

Nov. 5, 1863.  Oakland, Mo.  Lizzie to John. She and all her friends miss him.  His father told her that John doesn’t write home very often.  She mentions many persons, and talks of social events.

Nov. 15, 1863.  Oakland, Mo.  Lizzie to John.  She had hoped to hear from him.  Everyone there misses him very much.  His cousin Delle is visiting her, and adds a note to the margin of the letter.

Nov. 16, 1863.  St. Louis, Mo.  Richard E. Blair to John.  He has seen both John’s father and Lizzie, who is “prettier than ever”.  He mentions the petition to the secretary of war for John’s parole, and hopes it will be approved soon.

Nov. 26, 1863.  Oakland, Mo.  Lizzie to John.  She updates him on local people and events.  Thanksgiving Day was very quiet in St. Louis.

Nov. 30, 1863.  Oakland, Mo.  Lizzie to John.  She was very pleased with his most recent letter.  He is hoping for the parole request to be granted.  She is happy that a person who saw him at the prison found him looking well and in good spirits.

Dec. 5, 1863.  Oakland, Mo.  Lizzie to John.  She has a bad case of “blues”.  She relates items of a social nature about people they know.  She plans to be in St. Louis for a week.

Dec. 12, 1863.  St. Louis, Mo.  Father to John.  He tells his son that the petition request for parole was denied.  He also tell his soon that a package of clothing, articles, and “nic-naks” for him could not be sent, after authorities at the prison camp prohibited it.  He is very sorry about both negative events.

Jan. 1, 1864.  St. Louis.  Lizzie to John.  There is thirteen inches of snow, which has stopped most traffic, and the temperature last night was 24 degrees below zero.  She misses him very much and is praying for him.

Jan. 19, 1864.  Oakland, MO.  Lizzie to John.  She has heard through a letter from Capt. McDonald to Adelle that John is not well.  She is worried about this, and is writing in hopes that he is now better.  She has given up hope for his parole release.  Adelle will write soon to him.

Feb. 16, 1864.  Oakland, Mo.   Lizzie to John.  She discusses local news and friends.  It is still cold and she is not allowed outside much.  Prayer meetings are continuing and well attended.  She hears he is to move from the island, and asks for news from him as soon as possible.

Mar. 4, 1864.  St. Louis, Mo.  Father to John.  He is inclosing ten dollars for John as requested.  John will be listed as graduating from medical school.  Rumors indicate that John will be moved from the island, so packages will be held pending news of a change of location.

Mar. 6, 1864.  Oakland, Mo.  Lizzie to John.  She missed him and wonders what he is doing, and if he has patients to care for.  She did not attend the medical school graduation, but will send him a list of graduates.  She wonders when he will be exchanged for parole.

Mar. 19, 1864.  Oakland, Mo.  Lizzie to John.  Mostly contains comments about mutual friends.  Since he started numbering his letters in December, she has received all of seventeen except number three.

Mar. 24, 1864.  Johnson’s Island, Ohio.  John to Lizzie.  He discusses many mutual friends in St. Louis.  He does not show her letters to him to fellow prisoners, even though some prisoners show their letters to him.  He wants freedom from prison very badly.  He misses her constantly.

Mar. 26, 1864.  Johnson’s Island, Ohio.  John to Lizzie.  He discusses her comments from a prior letter.  The ice in the lake is melting.  He has no word on release of prisoners.

Mar. 31, 1864.  St. Louis, Mo.   Father to John.  He notes that religious meetings are going well with many conversions.  The family is in good health except for John’s mother.  He mentions some mutual friends and family members.

April 14, 1864.  St. Louis, Mo.  Lizzie to John.  She has not been feeling well, and her mind seems to be filled with confusion.  Her mother wants her to be treated by a physician that she dislikes.  She asks John to pray for her.

May 31, 1864.  Richmond, VA.  John to Lizzie.  He is now in Virginia, and gives detailed instructions on how to mail letters to him.  The mail has to be handles twice, in different envelopes and postage.  He had arrived in Virginia on May 8.

June 19, 1864.  Winder Hospital, Richmond, VA.  John to Lizzie.  He still has not received any letters from her since arriving in Richmond.  He now works as an assistant surgeon in the hospital, and sees patients.  Again he writes on how mail has to be routed to him.

July 1, 1864.  Winder Hospital, Richmond, VA.  John to Lizzie. Capt. Hatch, agent for exchanged has told him that ‘flag of truce’ mails had been suspended for a time, but should now be reopened.  So he is continuing to write to her, although he has no letters from her.  He really hopes mail contact can be resumed soon.

July 19, 1864.  St. Louis, Mo.  Father to John.  He had received two letters from John, in which the July 7 letter requested him to not write again until he hears from.  He is writing anyhow, and discusses mutual friends + family.

Aug. 31, 1864.  Winder Hospital, Richmond, VA.  John to Lizzie.  This is the 13th “flag of truce” letter.  He has written to her, without receiving any letters in reply.  He is very discouraged by the lack of contact.

Sept. 7, 1864.  Winder Hospital, Richmond, VA.  John to Lizzie.  He received her letter of August 2.  It is the only letter received from her since he left Johnson Island in may.  He hopes for more letters soon and a photograph.

Sept. 16, 1864.  Winder Hospital, Richmond, VA.  John to Lizzie.  He is in good spirits, and visited a beautiful cemetery nearby with a young lady who reminds him of Lizzie.  He would like to receive mail and pictures from home.

Nov. 16, 1864.  Verandah Ridge, Missouri.  Father to John.  He is answering John’s letter of September 21.  Lizzie is writing John constantly, and all are discouraged that her letters are not received.  Uncle John Miller’s 17 year old son was conscripted by Gen. Sterling Price, much to the distress of his mother.  Leland has written to Jon and enclosed photographs.

Nov. 17, 1864.  St. Louis, Mo.  Leland (brother) to John.  He is answering John’s letter  of Dec. 23, 1863, and admits to starting letters before, but not finishing them.  He talks of visiting Lake Erie, and seeing a boy killed by a train.  His grandmother went to Michigan and saw a woman killed by a train.  He enclosed his picture, and says that John’s sweetheart (Lizzie) is well.

Jan. 25, 1865.  St. Louis, Mo.  Father to John.  He has just received two letters from John, dated Nov. 1 and 22.  The “flag of truce” mail system is a matter of despair and uncertainty.  Lizzie has had a severe case of Erysipelas, but is expected to be well soon.  Several family members are also mentioned in news, and his mother is well.

Mar. 9, 1865.  New Orleans.  Lizzie to Gennie Shelton.  This contains much comment onperson contacted while visiting New Orleans.  A round of social engagements has kept her busy, but it has rained constantly.

Apr. 13, 1865.  St. Louis.  Father to John.  His last letter from John was dated March 9.  They hope John is free to come home, and they are anxiously waiting for news.  If he needs money please telegraph.

May 12, 1865.  Richmond, VA.  John to Lizzie.  He is in good health, and now has a parole and a pass from General Grant to return, but is not allowed at present to return thru the northern states.  He hopes to see her soon.

SERIES II: Photographs

John J. Miller:  Two photographs of John J. Miller.  These appear to have been removed from books publish some years after the Civil War.  One is from a reprint of PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS OF AMERICA.  The other appears to be of Miller later in life.

Mary Miller:  Two photographs of Mary Elizabeth Burd.  She Married John J. Miller after the war.  One is a photocard, and the other appears to be a photocopy of the original, with a caption added, it appears to be of a middle-age woman.

Miller Residence:  Two photographs of the Miller residence.  One is the original on heavy card stock, and the other is a photocopy.  The house is a two-story, well-built structure of about 8-10 rooms. 

SERIES III: Biographical Information

1 Folder biographical information on Dr. John J. Miller.  This has copies of items from war records of the national archives, book and magazine articles, and hand-written notes.  He was born May 3, 1842, and married Dec. 28, 1865.

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