Camp of the 140th Regt. N. Y. V. Z[ouaves]
Near Hatcher’s Run, Va.
February 18th 1865
Dear Mother & Sister,
Your very kind note of the 12th inst. duly arrived at its destination this morning & which was read with much gratitude. Was very glad to learn by rehearsal all were well & enjoying yourselves so happily & my hopes are that this may find you as heretofore, As for myself, my health is very good & I am in hopes I may be permitted to enjoy health while in the army so far from home.
I am down in spirits ever since the conflict at the above-named place on the 6th instant in which I had a dear and esteemed friend of mine wounded by one of the enemy deadly missiles of war. He was shot through the thigh—the ball severing the main cord of the leg & injured another. His name you have no doubt seen among the list of casualties (S. Young ¹). He was a gentleman & a true soldier—no better ever shouldered a musket in the Army of the Potomac. From the moment of my hearing he was wounded up to the present time, I have been as lonesome as a lost sheep. I could of shed no more tears had it been an only brother. Had his destiny been death, God only knew what would become of me. But as it was not, I thank God for sparing his life. His last soldiering is done in the field & when I reflect but for a moment on the past happy times we have enjoyed together as fellow soldiers & then look to the future & see that he cannot return to his command, I can hardly refrain from tears. At the same time, I had ought to be glad he has once more got out of the field after all he has suffered for his country, this being the third time they (the Rebels) have hit him. He received a ball through the palm of the hand at the Wilderness.
I hardly know how to enjoy myself the remainder of my term but will try & keep up good courage as I am in hopes of seeing him ‘ere long again & both free men, But not until that Emblem of Liberty waves over the spires of Richmond. I’ll bet my old hat against a new one that Gen. Lee surrenders his army to the Hero Gen’l. Grant inside of three months. Only look what has been accomplished during the past three weeks. Charleston is in Sherman’s grasp & which cuts them entirely off from the Rebel Capitol. The fall of Wilmington was a severe blow to them but they was ashamed to acknowledge to it & turned it off as being a “blessing in disguise.”
They had better go & soak their heads & not try and mistake the fox who had been trying a long time to get some grapes. But they being so high up he could not reach them & turning away he said that they were nothing but sour ones & he didn’t want any of them. So it is with the Rebels after they lose an important position. They mention of it being a place of no importance. Though in this last ride or rather strategic movement on the left near Hatcher’s Run they acknowledge that Grant has a position here which he had ought to be driven from, but my idea they are not able to do it at present. They may concentrate all of their available forces & make an attempt to break our line but their attempt would be in vain. You have in my estimation seen through the medium of war papers the full accounts of the late battle & we will say nothing in regard to it—only that it was rather a hot place for some time.
Our Brigade (the 1 Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Army Corps, it commander Gen’l. Winthrop) held their position against two lines of battle while we had but one which they could not waver. Almost every man was out of ammunition in our brigade when we was relieved. I suffered more on this last move than at anytime before.
It is a getting late & I will close by requesting of you to send me a lot of postage stamps. Accept from your son, — C. C. Miller
¹ Stewart Young enlisted on 25 July 1863 at the age of 20 at Newfield to serve three years in Co. D, 140th New York Volunteers. He was wounded in action on 5 May 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness, and again on 6 February 1865 at Hatcher’s Run. He mustered out with detachment on 22 May 1865 at Wilmington, Delaware.