I left Part 1 blog with Josiah Miller wondering if his twin brother, Joseph, was alive? How long did it take a letter to reach him from home during the Civil War, especially with the 4th Wisconsin moving so often? Josiah was a private in the Union Army. As a private he marched shoulder to shoulder, in straight battle lines and acted on the commands of their company officers – their job to fight by sheer force of numbers. In May of 1863 Josiah marched to Port Hudson and from May 9th to 26th laid siege to the Port from May 25-June 9. There was a three day expedition to Niblitt’s Bluff, another assault on Port Hudson June 14, Port Hudson surrendered July 9th and Josiah moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 25th until September.
August 22, 1863, was a day of great rejoicing for Josiah. The designation of his Regiment was changed to 4th Wisconsin Cavalry. Josiah didn’t have to march anymore! He became a wonderful horseman. What a decision he had next to make! His term of enlistment was for three years. At the age of 21 he’d volunteered and his records say he was single, hazel eyed, light hair, light complexion and 6′. Josiah was now 24 years old, the war wasn’t won yet, and he had a horse. A decision was made: Josiah Miller re-enlisted as a Veteran Volunteer on the 1st day of January, 1864, at Baton Rouge, by Lieutenant Pierce; he was mustered in on the 14th day of February, 1864, at Baton Rouge. He was engaged in scouting, picketing and operating against guerillas in that section of country lying between the Comite, Amite and Mississippi Rivers till June 1864. Josiah was promoted to the rank of Corporal on the 20th day of June, 1864. (A corporal, was positioned in the line of battle. They helped to keep a uniform line in the movement of the company. Privates looked to their corporal to help guide them during combat.) He saw places :Greenwell Springs, Donaldsville, and New River. Another Christmas and New Year passed and by March they were back in Baton Rouge. From June 29 to August 9, 1864, they were ordered to Morganza. The patrols continued and there were skirmishes November 14-21, at Liberty Creek November 15, Jackson November 21, to Mobile and Ohio Railroad and Pascagoula Bay Nov 27-Dec 13. Another Christmas and New Year’s passed. At Baton Rouge till April, 1865 where he fought in the Mobile Campaign, where Mobile was captured April 12th. From there they went through Alabama to Georgia and on to Vicksburg, Mississippi April 18-June 5. They moved to Shreveport, Louisiana June 26-July 2. And then a march to San Antonio, Texas that took them from July 8-August 3, and duty there till October. It was on the trip to Texas that Josiah was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on the 10th day of July, 1865, and transferred to Company A of the 4th Calvary on the 23rd day of August, 1865. (A Sergeant helped guide troop movements and kept the men in their positions by example.) Josiah went on an expedition to Fort Inge. He would have stayed in one of the two wooden barracks with thatched roofs that quartered the soldiers. It wasn’t much of a post having been abandoned by the Confederate Army in 1861. Josiah would have been garrisoned there briefly in 1865 by the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry. On to Fort Clark. Fort Clark was described as the liveliest burg in West Texas, where the night life could be compared to the saloons and gambling places that existed during the Klondike gold rush!
And then on to Eagle Pass in September of 1865. Eagle Pass was the first American settlement on the Rio Grande. As Josiah passed through the hills he would have noticed the contour of the land through which the Rio Grande flows bearing a fancied resemblance to the outstretched wings of an eagle. He was on guard and patrol duty along the Rio Grande from Brownsville to Laredo till May, 1866 and mustered out with an honorable discharge at Brownsville, Texas, May 28, 1866.
Some where along the way the only wound he had was a musket shot that went cleanly through his shoulder. The Regiment lost during service 11 Officers and 196 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 Officers and 311 Enlisted men by disease. Total 431.
Josiah was a young man of 25, I can not imagine what he saw during his travels fighting in the Civil War. At the close of the war there must have been some celebrating going on because I have some DNA matches from the town of Hidalgo, Texas on the Rio Grande. Josiah stayed in Texas, rather than going home. He met a pretty little gal, all of 5″2″ named Emily Atkinson. Her 3 brothers, Francis, Jeremiah and Edward had all fought for the Confederacy. Emily had been born at Wilmington, North Carolina, where her father, Samuel, owned a slave plantation and her mother Sophira had left him and brought the children to Texas in the 1850’s. Sophira or Sophia was a Sidbury with ties back to the Stockleys and Sidburys that settled Accomack, Virginia back in the early 1600’s. (a story for another blog someday?)
Josiah Converse Miller was married to Emily Atkinson on June 17, 1868 at Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas. Their married life will be Part 3.