This letter was written by German-born Pvt. Jacob Miller [or Muller] (1832-1910) of Co. E, 4th Ohio Cavalry. Jacob enlisted at the age of 28 on 13 September 1861 and mustered out on 31 October 1864 on expiration of term of service.
The 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry [OVC] was organized on August 5, 1861 under Colonel John Kennett, mainly from the Ohio and Kentucky counties surrounding Cincinnati, OH, but with many recruits also from the areas around Allen and Lawrence Counties, OH to the north and east of Cincinnati, respectively. Company E was recruited from Hamilton county, Ohio.
Jacob was living in Anderson Ferry, Ohio, when he died on 21 May 1910 from injuries sustained in a railroad accident, and was buried at St. Joe. German Catholic Cemetery in Cincinnati Ohio.
April 20, 1862
I received your letter the 27 and was glad to hear from you. I am well and hope these few lines may find you all in good health. We are in camp at Murfreesboro where the rebels fled from Nashville. I have just returned from a scout. We went about 50 miles ¹ and took some prisoners but did not have any fighting to do. We was only 15 minutes behind the damned bridge burners. They got on the cars and left.
You say in your letter that you have not received any letters from me since you wrote your last one. I have written you two letters since I got one from you.
We have had some very hard times since we left Camp Jefferson. You had ought to see us cross Big Barren river on an old scow. ² We got into Bowling Green, stayed one night, and started our march to this place. Here we are in the land of cotton. The peach trees are in full bloom. The woods are getting quite green. I do not know how long we shall have to stay here—I hope not very long as it is a great deal better for us to be on the march.
The health of our company is pretty good—about 12 on the sick list. I wrote home that I would send home some money. I received one letter from George saying that Father did not want it. If Father or any of you does not want it, I will not send it home as it is not very safe to send it now. I must bring this letter to a close. Write as soon as this comes to hand. Excuse this short letter. Yours as ever, — Joe Miller
Direct as you did before. I will answer George’s letter in a day or two.
This letter ______ ____. This letter is from Jacob. It is for Nancy ____. I will send it to you. Write to him and let him know how you are getting along. They was not in the fight at Pittsburg Landing [Shiloh]. Direct to Nashville, Tennessee in care of Eagleston’s Battery, [Ormsby M.] Mitchel‘s [Third] Division [Army of Ohio].
¹ The 4th OVC performed a reconnaissance to Shelbyville, Tullahoma, and McMinnville on March 25-28.
² The crossing of the Big Barren river using an old scow, transporting eight horses at a time until a squadron was over, was described in the book, “The story of the Fourth Regiment Ohio Veteran Cavalry, by Lucien Wulsin (page 24-25). “The horses slipped and cut their feet in entering the scow, it being veneered with ice. Every movement had to be accomplished in haste and the least possible time… As soon as landed, the cavalry went in pursuit of the retreating rebel cavalry who were watching every movement the Union Army made.”