Charles C. Miller, 22 December 1862

Camp near Fredericksburg, Va.
December 22nd 1862

Dear Parents,

I thought that I would write a few lines to let you know that I am still well and alive after the great battle that we have had at Fredericksburg. And I hope that this letter may find you still well and alive. We are in camp in the same place where we were when we left for the field of battle. As I have little time, I will try and tell you a little of the fight at Fredericksburg.

Thursday the 11th, we left for the march about 4 o’clock in the morning. We traveled nearly 4 miles when we were halted to wait for orders. We had not stopped long before we had to move on so then went on till about one mile from the city where we again stopped at the foot of a hill so that the rebels could not see us. When we got there, our batteries had opened fire upon the city and before long they had it in flames. We lay there nearly two days. At night I went to look at the desolated city as it was in flames. It was a splendid sight to behold.

Saturday morning [13 December] we are still here but it is pretty foggy and the batteries are still. About noon they opened fire from both sides at a horrible rate but our batteries soon silenced their guns as they could not throw their shells over to our batteries. Along in the afternoon, our infantry opened a tremendous fire upon the rebel’s entrenchments. We were then called into line for to cross the river. We left at 4 o’clock and just as we were approaching the pontoon bridge, a shell from one of the rebel batteries burst right in front of our company. It made the boys dodge, I tell you. At last we got across and we marched up one of the streets [and] out on the field  of battle with the shells and bullets a flying over our heads.

We were at last ordered to lay down on our arms to be ready at a moment’s warning. We had not been there long when the firing ceased on both sides and we stayed there till next morning when we were ordered back to the city where we stayed two days. The next day I went to look on the field of battle but they did not let us go out of the yard as the rebel sharpshooters would pick our men off as we lay about 200 yards from the field. I could see the dead lying all over the field. I then went into some of the houses and of all the scenes to behold, was in that city. There was not one house in the city, I think, that did not have a cannon ball through it.

At last we were ordered back on the other side of the river in the night. It was raining and it was very muggy. At last we got across and stayed till the next day when we went back to our old camp where we are still. How long we will remain here, I cannot tell. I have told you a little about the battle and I will bring my letter to a close for this time. I hope that you will write every week and let me know how you are and if you can get time, send me some postage stamps.

From your son, — Charles C. Miller

Here is something from the ruined and desolated city of Fredericksburg.

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 9.51.00 AM
Residents returned to their homes in Fredericksburg after the battle to find their homes severely damaged by Union artillery fire. (The artist failed to remember that it was the dead of winter.)