1812 War


We have thus stated Mr. Miller's social and public position; his worldly prospects, and his religious state. The long-suffering of God was still to be exercised towards him. He was to become satisfied with the insufficiency of the world. Then the light which had become darkness was to be revived within him; the breath of life from God would disclose the all-sufficient portion, and he would go forth to build again the faith he had destroyed.

Many were the prayers that ascended in his behalf; and some of those who were the most deeply interested for him would pass away before their prayers would be answered. But the great lessons of long-suffering, of faithfulness, and of power to deliver out of the most artful snare of the adversary, would be the more magnified, on the part of God; the praying, who were yet alive, would hail the answer with greater joy, and the delivered one would be the better prepared to take others, in the same fearful condition, by the hand, and lead them to Him who came to seek and save the lost!

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THE motives which led Mr. Miller to resign his public position as a civil officer, and enter upon the arduous and perilous theatre of military life, have been stated in the preceding chapter. Among the honors conferred on him in the military department, at the time of his advancement in the civil, was his election to the office of lieutenant, by superseding a commissioned officer, who expected it by promotion. His lieutenant's commission is dated July 21st, 1810. It is signed, "Jonas Galusha, Governor of Vermont."  

To some of the readers of this work, the form of the oath taken on entering upon the duties of such an office may be of interest. A copy of that oath, found on the back of Mr. Miller's commission, is as follows:  

"I, William Miller, solemnly swear, that I will be true and faithful to the State of Vermont; that I will not, directly nor indirectly, do any act or thing injurious to the Constitution or Government thereof, as established by Convention. So help me God.  

"I also swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United States. W M. MILLER.  

"August 13th, 1810. The foregoing oaths were taken and subscribed to before me.  

"CALEB HENDY, JR., Brig. Gen."    

The reader will see that this commission is dated about two years prior to the declaration of war with England by the United States. The premonitions of that war, however, were already seen. On the 18th of June, 1812, the declaration was made in due form; and the first note of preparation found Mr. Miller, with hundreds of his hardy and patriotic Green Mountain neighbors, ready to take the field. A very short time after it was announced that he would take his place at the head of a company of state volunteers, the ranks were filled. And on the day after the date of the act of the state government of Vermont which authorized the raising of such a body, his captain's commission is dated.

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It is presumed that very few of Mr. Miller's particular friends will feel any special interest in these details of warlike affairs. He is nothing more nor less to them, on account of his connection with these matters. But it is not so with all who may read this work. The fact that he honored these public and responsible offices, which men are accustomed to regard with so much respect, would weigh more, on the question of competency, in the estimation of many very worthy people, than the purest Christian deportment in ordinary life. His true military station has also been misstated; and it is the work of the biographer and historian to give facts as they are. The question of Mr. Miller's rank and soldierly character can be presented in its true light, by the use of authentic documents, in fewer words than can do the question justice in any other form. And these documents must be decisive. No other reasons need to be stated for employing them. His captain's commission, in the Vermont volunteers, is in these words:  

"L. S. By His Excellency, JONAS GALUSHA, Esquire, Captain-General, Governor, and Commander in Chief in and over the State of Vermont:  

"To WILLIAM MILLER, Esq., greeting:  

"You being elected a Captain of a Company of Infantry in the first Brigade of Volunteers of this State; and reposing special trust and confidence in your Patriotism, Valor, and good Conduct, I do, by virtue of these Presents, in the name and by the authority of the Freemen of the State of Vermont, fully authorize and empower you, the said William Miller, to take charge of the said Company as their Captain, pursuant to an act for raising a Corps of Volunteers, passed November 6th, 1812.  

"You will, therefore, carefully and diligently discharge the said duty, by doing and performing every matter and thing thereunto relating. You will observe and follow such orders and directions as you shall, from time to time, receive from the Governor of the State for the time being, or any other your superior officers, according to military discipline and the laws of this State: and all officers and soldiers under your command are to take notice hereof, and yield due obedience to your orders, as their Captain, in pursuance of the trust in you reposed.

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"In testimony whereof, I have caused the Seal of this State to be hereunto affixed.

"Given under my hand, in Council Chamber, at Montpelier, this seventh day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twelve, and of the Independence of the United States the thirty-seventh. JONAS GALUSHA.  

"By his Excellency's command. "R. C. MALLARY, Secretary."  

This company being filled up, organized, and authorized to take the field, pursuant to orders, next came the scene of trial to a soldier - only inferior to the hour of battle - that of bidding adieu to home, and all that is dear to the heart of man associated with home. This was an exciting and deeply affecting scene. Scepticism was silenced before the working of nature, of reason, and the proprieties of such a moment, as decided by all nations, Pagan, Jewish, and Christian. How could these noble-hearted men - husbands, sons, brothers - part with those who were dearer to them than life itself, under circumstances they might properly regard as not very unlike to those of a dying hour, without asking the benediction of the Almighty? It was impossible. But it was not generally expected, by those who knew Captain Miller as a deist and a railer at the devout, that the devotions of this solemn leave-taking would be anything more than a ceremony, in which he would act the part of a constrained or indifferent spectator. Judge, then, of the effect, when he was seen to take his former friend, who was present with the multitude, by the hand; and, with a grace and tenderness which all felt to be in full tone with the occasion, and under deep emotion, present him to the company as the man of God, with whom they would join in prayer. The chaplain, on this occasion, was Elder Kendrick, who had felt and maintained a special interest in Mr. Miller, in spite of his deism, from the first of his acquaintance with him. In his prayer, all the interest he felt in the members of the company, many of whom were his neighbors; in Captain Miller, as a promising family relative of his most intimate Christian friends; and in the great public occasion, as a patriot, was poured out with the most becoming solemnity, affection, and fervency. The effect was almost overpowering. It is fresh in the memory of those present, to this day.

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Captain Miller's company, with the great body of volunteers raised in that region, was ordered to Burlington, which was expected to be the theatre of war for that campaign. The fatigue of the march, and an accident which proved almost fatal to Mr. Miller, are described in the following letter to his wife.


"Camp at Burlington, June 13th, 1813.


"DEAR LUCY: - I am now at this place, after a fatiguing march. My feet are worn all out, and my body is very sore. On our march from Bennington to this place, I met with an accident, which almost deprived me of life. The last day of our march, my feet and ankles being very lame, I hired a passage in a wagon, with four or five of my brother officers. Capt. Clark and myself got into the hind part of the wagon, and, while fixing the seat, the horses started, and threw me out. I fell on the back part of my head, and they have since informed me that I lay as if dead for fifteen or twenty minutes. They put me into the wagon, and carried me five or six miles, before I came to my senses. My head is still very sore. Ensign Dake was in the wagon, and paid the strictest attention to me.

"I have not much news of consequence to write. We expected the British in at Burlington every hour. There were about a thousand men came in yesterday and today from Bennington and Windsor, and we are ready to meet them with any force they can bring against us. I have nothing more to write, but to subscribe myself your ever-loving husband,


On his arrival at Burlington, Mr. Miller was transferred from the volunteers of the State of Vermont to the regular army of the United States. He first took the rank of lieutenant, and was immediately ordered back to Rutland County, to attend to the recruiting service, as the following "General Order" will show.

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"Encampment, Burlington, June 13th, 1813.

"SIR, - You are hereby commanded to repair to the County of Rutland, and there attend to the recruiting service for the 30th Regt. Infantry in U. S. Army. You will govern yourself by the laws of the United States, and return to this post when commanded.  

"MASON ORMSBIE, Maj. ((((Infantry.)))) "To Lieut. W. MILLER, U. S. ARMY."    

Such a transfer is considered honorable in the military sense; and the change of service, which allowed Mr. Miller to enjoy the comforts of home and the attention of friends, while suffering from his late accident, must have been very acceptable. But there were reasons for the arrangement which bear most favorably on his reputation. The army was in great want of men who could be relied upon, under the dangers which threatened from the enemy in the direction of Canada; and there were few men who could accomplish so much, in bringing them into the service, as Mr. Miller. He was very generally known, and highly respected, in the region assigned him; he was warmly devoted to the service, so that his example had a powerful effect; and the returns, which official documents fully exhibit, demonstrate the wisdom of directing his efficiency to this department of the service.  

He was employed in raising recruits till 1814; but this period of comparative repose was of short duration. He was thus remanded to head-quarters:  

"Cantonment, Burlington, July 7th, 1813.  

"Lieut. W. MILLER, at Poultney. - You are hereby commanded to join your regt. at Burlington immediately, and report yourself to the commanding officer.  

"ELIAS FASSET, Col. 30th Inf'ry."  


Soon after his return to Burlington, in July of 1813, Mr. Miller was called to suffer another of the dangers of army life, which, on many accounts, is quite as serious as those of the battle-field. The army fever, which broke out among the troops at Burlington, has already been referred to. So alarming were its ravages, that the great body of the army, quartered in or near the town, was removed several miles into the more elevated country, east of the lake. A change from the humid atmosphere and bad water of one locality, which aggravated, if they did not cause the distemper, to the salubrious air and pure water of the other locality, could not fail of producing a happy effect. But those who were too feeble to be removed, and those who could obtain suitable accommodations in the town, remained. Mr. Miller was among these.

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One of the very common, most lamentable and mortifying evils of war, is the absolute dependence of the poor soldier on those whose avarice or profligacy rob him of all the comforts, and often of the necessaries, which his country may provide for him. The medical department of the army too often furnishes this form of the horrors of war. When a mere reckless pretender to the title of his profession, who has become disqualified for any station in civil society, obtains a place in this department, the life of a soldier is thought as little of as the life of a dog. It would be far more desirable to face the cannon of the enemy, than to fall into such hands. How many of the brave soldiers at Burlington, who found so undesirable an end, were indebted to official aid for that result, is unknown. Happy were those who could provide for themselves. Mr. Miller was thus favored. His fever bore a greater resemblance to the common bilious fever than to the prevailing epidemic. But the same potations, dealt out so profanely by the bloated official to the dying around him, were prescribed for the young officer from Poultney. He knew the danger, and sternly refused to take the stuff. He immediately put himself under the care of one of the resident physicians of the village, Dr. Littlefield, whose name is still remembered in the family of Mr. Miller with sentiments of affectionate gratitude.

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At the time now referred to, Burlington appeared much more like a camp than like a place devoted to the peaceful pursuits of commerce and learning. As it was the most important United States settlement on the shores of Lake Champlain, it was generally expected that the English forces would be concentrated here, for its conquest or destruction. The regular routine of college exercises was suspended, and the halls of learning were appropriated to the sick and dying officers of the army. To enjoy such accommodations was esteemed a great favor. But these rooms were so much crowded, and such was the want of proper aid, that the air within every part of the building, occupied was like a pestilential solvent for everything that passed into it. In one of these rooms, Mr. Miller was confined for several days after he was taken sick. As soon, however, as the tidings of his sickness reached Poultney, his wife resolved to place herself at his bed-side with as little delay as possible. An anxious and hurried ride, in an open wagon, brought her to witness such a scene of suffering and death as she had not before known. She found her husband quite as comfortable as she expected; but on entering his apartment, she saw that the prospect of help for him, and of escape for herself, was about equally dark. But what could she do? He could not be taken home; she was among strangers, and all that the generosity of the inhabitants could furnish, which was nobly brought forward, was needed to meet the common demand. Most providentially, there was another of her own sex on the premises, who, although she had devoted her ample stock of bedding, and other conveniences for the sick room, to the common benefit of those who occupied the college, could still sympathize with a wife and mother in such affliction, and cheerfully make the sacrifice that was needed to meet the case. This noble-hearted woman was Mrs. Cushman, whose husband had charge of the college boarding-house. She invited Mrs. Miller into her spacious and airy parlor; she brought forward her unsoiled bed-linen, and other things on which the comfort of the sick so much depends, and generously devoted them, the parlor, and its ample appendages, to the use of her afflicted visitor. But little time was needed to put all in order for the removal of the patient to this most inviting apartment. All the circumstances of the change combined to make its effects the most desirable. The fear of burdening Mrs. Cushman was the greatest difficulty in the way of feeling themselves at home. In the comparative quiet of this apartment, with the skillful attention of Dr. Littlefield, and the constant attention of his wife, Mr. Miller exhibited the most gratifying indications of recovery. But as hope became strong in reference to him, there were reasons for alarm about Mrs. Miller.

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The fatigue of the journey to Burlington, the anxiety she felt for her husband, the constant care and labor required to make him comfortable, had prostrated her so far, that she became peculiarly exposed to the infection of the pestilence. She was permitted only to rejoice in her husband's improvement before the usual premonitions of the dreaded malady appeared in her own system. As it was no longer indispensable that she should continue at Burlington, she resolved to fly from the infected region, and run the risk of a failure in reaching home. Although her husband was afflicted by the thought of her leaving him, he was much more afflicted by the fear that she might be prostrated, and fall into unkind hands, on the journey; or even become helpless on the highway, and die, as his grandfather Phelps had, by the same disease, only a few months before. However, she ordered the lad who accompanied her to get the carriage ready, and bidding Mr. Miller farewell, she took the road towards Poultney, which leads through the hilly country above the almost level slope which borders the lake; and after a moderate ride of two days, she arrived home, in much better health than when she left Burlington. Although the sun was very hot - for this was in August - the pure, invigorating air of the mountains had restored the tone of her naturally vigorous constitution, and the alarming symptoms disappeared without medical aid. Mr. Miller was immediately informed of the beneficial effects of her journey, which had as good an effect on him as the best medicine could have; and his health soon became so much improved, that he could resume the post of duty.

As the enemy did not make their appearance in the vicinity of Burlington, or on the east of Lake Champlain, arrangements were made to locate the American troops on the west side of the lake, and to advance into Canada. Plattsburgh became the head-quarters of one division of the troops; Burlington continued the headquarters for another. In the autumn of 1813, Mr. Miller had so far recovered as to cross over the lake; but the effects of his fever appeared in the form of a bad sore on his left arm. This became so painful, and was so much of annoyance, that a surgical operation was advised, which was to remove the affected parts of the flesh, so as to cleanse the bone by scraping it. If this was not done, possibly amputation would be necessary. He was somewhat displeased by the rudeness of the thoughtless medical students, or surgeon's mates, who too often seem to think that a disabled soldier is good for nothing but to cut up for experiments. And, as they handled the diseased limb one day somewhat roughly, and spoke very lightly of its amputation, as a matter of course, he reminded them that his sword arm was still sound; and, putting his hand on the hilt of his sword, then before him, gave them to understand that, whatever might be advised in the case, he should not submit to any unnecessary pain for their amusement. They understood him, and it ended their rudeness.

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This danger, however, was shortly over, and he was able to join his regiment in actual service, while they were out in search of the enemy on the Canadian frontier. The particulars of this expedition are given in a letter to his wife, dated  

"Chatuagay Four Corners, Oct. 31, 1813

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"LUCY: - I once more have the pleasure of writing to you, and am very sorry that I cannot tell you of hairbreadth escapes and dismal sights, hideous yells and war-whoops; but so it is. I have seen nothing like an enemy, although I have been into Canada. I started from this place last Thursday, to join my regiment; but, meeting some officers, we were ordered to return to this place. The army is expected here in a few hours. They stayed only three or four miles back; they have had a number of skirmishes with Indians, and, last Tuesday,

they had a general engagement with the whole British force, consisting of regulars, militia and Indians, and it is said, would have taken the whole, was it not for the folly of some of our guides, who led that part of our army astray which should have fallen on their rear: and they being thus led astray and bewildered in the woods, the Indians fell upon them in the night, and made considerable havoc among them. Night before last, they had another encounter with our piquet guard, and there were some killed and wounded on both sides. You will undoubtedly hear many stories, but the truth you will hardly get, for there are as many different stories here as there are men. I expect we shall be posted at this place, that is, the 30th regt.; but wherever we may be, you will hear from me as often as you wish to. I have not heard from you since I came from home. Do write immediately, and direct your letter to "Lieut. Wm. Miller, of 30th Infantry, Northern Army.

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"P. S. Nov. 1st. 1813. I have joined my regt., and find all our soldiers alive and well from Poultney. We lost none from our regt.; and only one wounded. It is said we lost 30 killed in said battle. We some expect an attack by the Indians soon.


These "skirmishes" closed the campaign of 1813 in this quarter; and, while the great body of the troops, under General Macomb, were preparing, at Burlington and Plattsburgh; for more efficient operations the following year, Mr. Miller was engaged in the recruiting service, in the vicinity of his residence, and through the State of Vermont generally. He was at home on a furlough, when he received the following orders from the colonel of his regiment:-

"Burlington, Jan. 10th, 1814.


"You will immediately repair to Poultney, and such other places as you think proper, and there attend to the recruiting service, agreeable to your last instructions.

"ELIAS FASSET, Col. 30th Inf'y."

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The year 1814 was to decide the contest between Great Britain and the United States. The former was able to bring her best troops into the field, and the latter must put forth all her resources to meet them. It seems almost impossible that human skill or strength could have brought about the result. There probably was no particular point of the general scene of the war where the circumstances of the American arms were of a more critical nature than at the point where Mr. Miller, with his brave countrymen, were to stand. Early in the year, and while he was searching out and sending into the field the recruits from the Green Mountains, he was promoted to the office of Captain in the regular army. As this is the point, in Mr. Miller's history, which has been misapprehended by some who have referred to him publicly, although the fact involved is, to his friends, of but little interest, the document which makes all clear is given:   

"The President of the United States of America to all who shall see these presents, greeting:    

"KNOW YE, That, reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity, and abilities, of William Miller, I have nominated, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, do appoint him a Captain in the Thirtieth Regiment of Infantry, in the service of the United States: to rank as such from the thirty-first day of January, eighteen hundred and fourteen. He is, therefore, carefully and diligently to discharge the duty of Captain, by doing and performing all manner of things thereunto belonging. And I do strictly charge and require all officers and soldiers under his command to be obedient to his orders as Captain. And he is to observe and follow such orders and directions, from time to time, as he shall receive from me, or the future President of the United States of America, or the General or other superior Officers set over him, according to the rules and discipline of War. This Commission to continue in force during the pleasure of the President of the United States for the time being.   

"Given under my hand, at the City of Washington, this first day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen, and in the thirty-ninth year of the Independence of the United States.

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("L.S.) JAMES MADISON. "By the President, "JAS. MONROE, Secretary of War."  

The summons which brought him to the post of danger is of the following form and date:

"Burlington, August 12th, 1814.

"TO WM. MILLER, Capt. in the 30th Inf'y.

"SIR: - You are ordered to report yourself to the commanding officer of said regt., without delay, at Plattsburgh. I am, Sir, with respect, etc. etc.,

"ELIAS FASSET, Col. 30th and Comd. recruiting."  

His promotion to a more responsible position subjected him to some very painful duties; and if we may credit the uniform testimony of his companions in arms, few men ever met the difficulties before him with greater ability or success.

All the circumstances which led to the vacation of the office to which Mr. Miller was promoted need not be stated. But the said company of infantry passed under his command in a state of serious disorder. Such a state of things became the more threatening, as the approach of the enemy rendered it of the utmost importance that each company should be in a state of the greatest efficiency possible.

The nature of the difficulties to be met, the course he pursued, and the result, are stated in the following letter to his wife.

"Camp near Fort Moreau, in Plattsburgh, Sept. 4th, 1814. Sunday, 9 o'clock evening.

"DEAR LUCY: - I received your letter of the 30th, and perceived, by the contents, that you received only eighty dollars. I enclosed 100, and think you must have been mistaken; for, if any person had robbed the letter, they would have taken the whole. My soldiers were paid their money to-day, and I have had to go out twice, since I have begun this letter, to still the noise. I have found the company in a very wayward situation, but believe, by dint of application, I shall be able to bring them to good subordination. I have had to punish four or five of them very severely, and have reason to believe that they both love and fear me. One look is now sufficient to quell any disorder. This we call a pay-day, and, once in four days, we have a whiskey-day; on which days, I have six or seven soldiers who will take a little too much, and then, of all the devils in hell, I think they must exceed in deviltry. But, while in this situation, I do not punish. After they become sober, I then punish them as I told them I would, and I find it has a good effect. One punishment which I inflict on soldiers is picketing. First, a gallows is raised, about ten feet high; then their arms are extended and fastened above by ropes; then a picket drove into the earth, on which they are to stand until they receive sufficient punishment; and we seldom have to punish them the second time. I had one on the picket to-day, for threatening to shoot one of my sergeants, and swearing that he would not obey any officer except the captain. This, in an army, is a great crime; therefore, I could do no less than to make a public example. When he was first put up, he was very turbulent, and hoped he might die if he repented of what he said; but, after standing one hour, he became as penitent as a lamb, and prayed and begged to be released. 'Oh dear, Captain,' said he, 'do take me down - I shall die! I will never commit another crime. For Heaven's sake, release me!' I took him down, as you may well believe; and it wrung tears from my eyes to see how thankful the poor fellow was; . . but this is only the bad picture. In my next letter, I will show you the good side. The British are within ten miles of this place, and we expect a battle to-morrow; and I think they must be d-d fools if they do not attack us, as they are ten or eleven thousand strong, and we are only fifteen hundred; but every man is determined to do his duty. It may be my lot to fall; if I do, I will fall bravely. Remember, you will never hear from me, if I am a coward. I must close, as it is almost 11 o'clock. 

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"Remember your WM. MILLER."

This letter contains the only instance of the use of language approaching to the dialect of profanity, which has passed under the writer's notice, in a large amount of Mr. Miller's manuscripts. Considering that he was a deist and a soldier at the time, instances of a more objectionable form might have been expected. And this was evidently owing to the peculiar vexations of the time.  

This letter is dated less than a week anterior to the most remarkable and bloody battle of Plattsburgh. It was daily expected when he wrote. It seems almost surprising, in view of the known strength of the two armies, that he should have spoken as he did: "This is only the bad picture; in my next letter, I will show you the good side!"  

It is impossible to give a correct view of the perilous position of Mr. Miller and his fellow-soldiers, during this battle, without stating, to some extent, the details of its history. The reader will not consider it out of place, if quotations from works on such matters are here made, such as will place the danger and the courage of the subject of this memoir with other brave defenders of our country, and also the interposition of Providence, as it was regarded at the time, in their true light:-  

"It had become an object of solicitude with the belligerent parties on the northern frontier to obtain the superiorty on the lakes. Indeed, the success of the land operations was considered to be entirely dependent on that of the marine. Commodore Perry had already established our dominion on Lake Erie: and that of Lake Ontario had been successfully disputed by Commodore Chauncey with Sir James Yeo. Vermont and New York were threatened from Lake Champlain. To counteract hostile attempts from this quarter, the command of the American squadron on this lake was intrusted to Commodore Macdonough, while the defence of Plattsburgh depended on the exertions of General Macomb, and his gallant little army. In September, 1814, an attack was anticipated on these youthful commanders; accordingly, on the 11th of that month, the expected event took place.

"Early in the summer of 1814, the Canadian frontierwas reinforced by a large body of troops, which rendered the position of General Brown very critical. The British government, relieved from its long and severe struggle against Bonaparte, could dispose of many picked troops, disciplined under Wellington, and they were sent to Canada.

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"For several days, the enemy had been on his way to Plattsburgh, by land and water, and it was well understood that an attack would be made at the same time by his land and naval forces. Commodore Macdonough determined to await at anchor the approach of the latter.  

"General Macomb was frequently advised to retreat, to spare the blood and lives of his apology for an army, and save Plattsburgh from the fate of a conquered country. But the decision which he took, and to which he unwaveringly adhered, in his apparently forlorn situation, proved the strength of his moral courage, and the wisdom of his measures.    

"At eight o'clock in the morning, the look-out boat announced the approach of the enemy. At nine, he anchored in a line ahead, at about three hundred yards distance from the American line: his flag-ship, the Confiance, under Commodore Downie, was opposed to Commodore Macdonough's ship, the Saratoga; the brig Linnet was opposed to the Eagle, Captain Robert Henley; the enemy's galleys, thirteen in number, to the schooner, sloop, and a division of galleys; one of his sloops assisting his ship and brig, the others assisting his galleys; the remaining American galleys being with the Saratoga and Eagle.   

"In this situation, the whole force on both sides became engaged; the Saratoga suffered much from the heavy fire of the Confiance, though the fire of the former was very destructive to her antagonist. The Ticonderoga, Lieutenant-commander Cassin, gallantly sustained her full share of the action. At half past ten o'clock, the Eagle, not being able to bring her guns to bear, cut her cable, and anchored in a more eligible position, between the Saratoga and the Ticonderoga, where she very much annoyed the enemy, but unfortunately left her commodore exposed to a galling fire from the enemy's brig. The guns of the Saratoga on the starboard side being nearly all dismounted or not manageable, a stern anchor was let go, the bower cable cut, and the ship winded with a fresh broadside on the Confiance, which soon after surrendered. The broadside of the Saratoga was then sprung to bear on the brig, which surrendered within about fifteen minutes.

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"The sloop that was opposed to the Eagle had struck some time before, and drifted down the line; the sloop which was with the enemy's galleys having also struck. Three of them were sunk, and the others pulled off. While Macdonough's galleys were in the act of obeying the signal to follow them, all the vessels were reported to him to be in a sinking state; it then became necessary to countermand the signal to the galleys, and order their men to the pumps.  

"At this time, not a mast was standing, in either squadron, in a condition to hold up a sail; the lower rigging, being nearly all shot away, hung down along the mast.  

"The action lasted, without intermission, two hours and twenty minutes.  

"An attack made by the British army, under the Governor-general of the Canadas, Sir George Provost, on General Macomb, commanding at Plattsburgh, owed its defeat to the bravery of Commodore Macdonough on the lake, and the undaunted valor of Macomb, commanding on shore.  

"Sir George, having collected all the disposable force in Lower Canada, with a view of conquering the country as far as Crown Point and Ticonderoga, entered the territories of the United States, on the first of September, with fourteen thousand men, and occupied the village of Champlain. As was before intimated, the cooperation of the naval force constituted an essential part of the arrangement. The consequence was, that, instantly on the discomfiture of the fleet, the army retired with great precipitation, having lost two thousand five hundred men, in killed, wounded, and missing.  

"This victory was announced to the department of war, by Commodore Macdonough, on the day it was obtained, in the following brief and modest communication:  

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"The Almighty has been pleased to grant us a signal victory on Lake Champlain, in the capture of one frigate, one brig, and two sloops of war of the enemy."  

It was in the midst of this scene of terror and carnage that Mr. Miller's courage was tried. Its effect on him is described, so far as words can describe it, in two letters, one of which was written even before the battle ended, and is addressed to Judge Stanley, of Poultney; the other is addressed to Mrs. Miller. As both of these letters will be read with interest, they are inserted. The first is dated and reads as follows:  

"Fort Scott, September 11, 1814. 20 minutes past 2 o'clock, P.M.  

"SIR: - It is over! It is done! The British fleet has struck to the American flag! Great slaughter on both sides. They are in plain view, where I am now writing. My God! The sight was majestic, it was noble, it was grand. This morning, at ten o'clock, the British opened a very heavy and destructive fire upon us, both by water and land; their congreve rockets flew like hailstones about us, and round shot and grape from every quarter. You have no idea of the battle. Our force was small, but how bravely they fought! Sir Lord George Provost feels bad. His land force may expect to meet their fate, if our militia do their duty; but in time of action, they were not to be seen. The action on water lasted only two hours and ten minutes; the firing from their batteries has but just ceased - ours is still continuing; the small arms now are just coming to action. I have no time to write any more; you must conceive what we feel, for I cannot describe it. I am satisfied that I can fight; I know I am no coward; therefore, call on Mr. Loomis and drink my health, and I will pay the shot. Three of my men are wounded - by a shell which burst within two feet of me. The boat from the fleet, which has just landed under our fort, says the British commodore is killed. Out of 300 on board their ship, 25 remain alive. Some of our officers, who have been on board,

say the blood is knee deep. Their force we have taken consists of one ship, 36 guns; one brig of 18 guns, and two sloops.

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"Huzza! huzza! Twenty or thirty British prisoners, taken by our militia, have just arrived in fort. I can write no more, for the time grows dubious.  

"Yours forever, "WM. MILLER.  

"Give my compliments to all, and send this to my wife."  

If it should be necessary, the forbearance of the reader is again appealed to, for noticing an incident, which, if it is of no other value, gave the greatest possible interest to the letter of Mrs. Miller, in the estimation of herself and family, at the time of its reception. It is one of those mysterious phenomena, the occurrence of which it is hard to deny, while the principle or agency from which they spring it is not easy fully to explain. The battle of Plattsburgh was fought on Sunday. The state of Mrs. Miller's health was such as to make her interest in the issue of the battle of the most affecting and absorbing character. She was near giving birth to a son, who is now living, and bears the strongest resemblance to his father of any one of the children. If there are any circumstances which would make it proper that an almost supernatural intercourse might be permitted between two souls which Heaven has united, it must be at such a time. While the battle was raging, nearly a hundred miles distant, Mrs. Miller became strangely affected. A hitherto unexperienced and unaccountable presentation was made to her mind, which to her was a demonstration of what was going on where she felt that so much was at stake. She was nearly frantic with agony, so that the friends who were with her became seriously alarmed on her account. Argument, ridicule, all the modes they could think of, to restore her usual cheerfulness and self-command, were alike unavailing. She could think and speak of nothing but the "trouble at the north!"

The form of this presentiment was very simple, but certainly it was highly emblematic. As she expressed it, - "A dark, furious, smothering tornado rushed down on a poor, unsheltered flock of little birds!" There was ground enough for such a comparison in the antagonist forces, though there was anything but an apprehended sweep of a destructive tornado in the last letter of her husband. But the coincidence of time was the mystery.

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The day passed; her agony subsided, but not her fears. The friends with her thought she had had a nervous time, or was slightly insane. Nothing was heard from the scene of conflict at the north till near the close of Monday. The first intimation of the tidings, to that family, was the strong peal of the village bell. A member of the family was sent out to inquire its meaning, and the glad shout of victory was heard on every hand. A fleet horse and rider had brought the news, and passed on south!

The sound of victory was most welcome. That was all that patriotism might ask. But family affection could not rest till it had learned the price of victory. An old, iron-hearted soldier has remarked, that "the next calamity to a defeat, in war, is a triumph!" Some must have fallen at Plattsburgh. And how many anxious hearts awaited the arrival of the next mail from the seat of war! That mail brought to Mrs. Miller the letter before referred to. It reads as follows:

"Fort Scott, September 12, 1814. 7 o'clock, morning.

"DEAR WIFE: - Yesterday was a day of great joy. We have conquered! We have drove them! About nine o'clock A. M., yesterday, the British fleet fired a salute as they passed Cumberland-head; it was a token for a general engagement. About twenty minutes after, they hove in sight. How majestic, how noble, our fleet lay in Plattsburgh Bay; and, like a saucy Yankee, paid no attention to their royal salute! The British fleet still bearing down upon us, bold as a lion, in a moment we were all prepared for action. The British had thrown up a number of batteries on all sides of us. The next minute the cannon began playing - spitting their fire in every quarter. What a scene! All was dreadful! - nothing but roaring and groaning, for about six or eight hours. I cannot describe to you our situation. The fort I was in was exposed to every shot. Bombs, rockets, and shrapnell shells, fell thick as hailstones. Three of my men were wounded, and one killed; but none that were from Poultney, or that quarter. In one hour and forty-five minutes, the enemy's fleet was conquered. My God! what a slaughter on all sides! - out of 300 on board of one ship, 24 only remained unhurt! I cannot describe to you the general joy. At sundown, our forts fired a national salute, accompanied by a tune called 'Yankee Doodle,' and each gun was loaded with an eighteen pound shot. This soon frightened our foe to that degree, that, this morning, at daybreak, not a soul was to be seen; and they went off in so great a hurry that not one article of their baggage could they carry away. Some they burnt, and some they left behind. Their loss, in killed and wounded, is immense, besides one hundred taken prisoners, and three or four hundred deserters. Our loss was not so great, but considerable. Every officer and soldier is now singing for joy, and there is nothing now heard but the 11th day of September, and Lord George Provost retreating for Canada. You may well conceive, by my unconnected mode of writing, that I am as joyful as any of them. A naval and land engagement, within the compass of a mile or two, and fifteen or twenty thousand engaged at one and the same time, is superior to anything my eyes ever beheld before. How grand, how noble, and yet how awful! The roaring of cannon, the bursting of bombs, the whizzing of balls, the popping of small arms, the cracking of timbers, the shrieks of the dying, the groans of the wounded, the commands of the officers, the swearing of soldiers, the smoke, the fire, everything conspires to make the scene of a battle both awful and grand!

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"The fort I was in was on the bank of the lake, and in plain view of everything which passed.

"Remember me to all my friends; and, in the mean time, accept of me, as I am, faithfully yours,


The triumph of the American arms at Plattsburgh was truly "a signal" one. And if ever it was proper to ascribe such an event to "the Almighty," it was proper on this occasion. It is not very often the case, however, that an acknowledgment of this kind marks the official account of a battle, as it does that of Commodore Macdonough. It was perfectly in harmony with his well-known deportment at the time, and with the common feeling which pervaded, in an unusual degree, the whole United States force engaged. Napoleon had beaten the mightiest armies that Europe had ever raised, in an almost uninterrupted succession of battles, during more than ten years. The troops of England, with their allies, had now the reputation of having at last beaten Napoleon. And these English troops, with overwhelming numbers in their favor, entered the field against those of the United States, at Plattsburgh. What, then, in all human estimation, had this "apology for an army" to expect?

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One of the most sublime and appalling scenes, in which it falls to the lot of man to enact a part, is presented by the deadly encounter of fleets and armies. The attainment of a position; the skill and courage required, in each division of the body to be brought into action, in order to work out the plan on which the success of the day is presumed to depend; the ability and promptness needed to comprehend and execute any manoeuvre, the necessity of which may not be foreseen; the success of a stratagem or a surprise, are so many points, where the strength of the hostile forces is equal, in which the chances usually hang so much in doubt, that each man of the thousands in arms must feel his danger, in the same proportion that he feels his insufficiency to direct all to the desired result; and this sense of insufficiency must naturally dispose each one to look for aid to a power above that of man. Such a feeling is the usual accompaniment of a battle where the chances are equally balanced.    

But when the strength of the forces is known to be very unequal, that party in the contest where the external weakness is felt, after all is done that devoted patriotism, union, intelligence and skill can accomplish, must faint, unless they are sustained by the hope of aid from on high; while the party which feel confident in their own resources often become profanely arrogant, and fatally presumptuous. It is seldom that such an impressive exhibition of devout hope in God on one side, and such a painful exhibition of self-confidence on the other side, demands our attention, as were manifested in the battle of Plattsburgh.

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When the hour of deadly strife had come, every preparation having been made for action on the American side, and the attention of all on board the Saratoga was called to the commodore, it is said that, in the stillness, which was soon to give place to scenes of tumult so unsuitable to the day, the voice of Macdonough was raised in fervent prayer to God, for the fleet, the army, and the success of the American cause. But this was only an expression of the deep feeling of every heart. In such circumstances, the stoutest, and even the profane, felt the propriety of prayer; for all were humbled before God. This sense of its propriety, if nothing else, gave them a new feeling of strength for the conflict. And when the day closed with an assurance of victory - for it was thought to be hardly possible, even when the English fleet had struck their colors - the hand of God seemed to be so manifest to all, that the hardest specimens of human nature in the fleet and army were seen in tears, while all were constrained to acknowledge their sense of providential favor.  

The result of this battle deeply impressed the mind of Mr. Miller. He refers to it, in one of his published works, in these words:  

"Many occurrences served to weaken my confidence in the correctness of deistical principles. I was led frequently to compare this country to that of the children of Israel, before whom God drove out the inhabitants of their land. It seemed to me that the Supreme Being must have watched over the interests of this country in an especial manner, and delivered us from the hands of our enemies. I was particularly impressed with this view when I was in the battle of Plattsburgh, when, with 1500 regulars, and about 4000 volunteers, we defeated the British, who were 15,000 strong; we being also successful, at the same time, in an engagement with the

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British fleet on the lake. At the commencement of the battle, we looked upon our own defeat as almost certain; and yet we were victorious. So surprising a result, against such odds, did seem to me like the work of a mightier power than man."  

In another place it will be seen that arrangements for celebrating the anniversary of this battle gave rise to the Christian effort which arrested the attention of Mr. Miller, at the time of his conversion.  

What passed on board the English fleet, or in their camp, as a contrast to what took place on the part of the Americans, has not been stated. Its statement is not necessary. But as it was assigned to Captain Miller, with other officers, to prepare the body of the English commodore for its interment, it may be remarked, in passing, that the sentiment, said to have been rashly expressed by that personage, when he took his accustomed drink at the close of his last meal, 1 imprecated such a termination of his career as he actually experienced. The first broadside from the American fleet split off a massive splinter from a spar or timber of the Confiance, and dashed it with such force against Commodore Downie's person, in the region of the vitals, that he never breathed after he fell. It literally knocked the breath out of him.  

The generous sympathy shown to the wounded of their enemies, and the honor paid to the dead, by the Americans, was as worthy of remembrance as the bravery with which they fought. Officers of the same rank received the same honors, without regard to the nation in whose service they fell. Mrs. Downie, who tarried in Canada, expressed her high sense of the honors paid to her husband, by an affecting and appropriate acknowledgment.    

The battle of Plattsburgh was decisive as to any further hostilities in that quarter. A short armistice, arranged by the generals of the opposite forces, was followed by the ratification of peace. But the troops were still kept at their post; and scenes as painful, if not so destructive of human life, as those just noticed, passed in the American camp. One of Mr. Miller's letters speaks in becoming terms of the scenes referred to. Other things are mentioned in the same letter, that might be omitted; but as the persons whose names are mentioned have passed away, and as a prominent trait in the character of the one who wrote the letter is here exhibited in its natural tenderness, the whole letter is inserted.

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"Plattsburgh, Oct. 28, 1814. 7 o'clock, evening.  

"DEAR LUCY: - Again have I resumed my pen, in hopes to beguile those lonesome hours, (which, although in camp, I assure you are not a few.) In my last letter, sent by David Wyman, of Westhaven, I informed you of the intended execution of a few criminals. There were six of them launched into the other world in a hurry, to-day, and I think I had rather see one hundred fall in action.  

"You, perhaps, remember Spencer; he was a sergeant, and gained the esteem of all his fellows. He is no more. He died yesterday of a fever - as is supposed - but I believe that a hopeless passion which he had formed for Charlotte Hyde hastened his end. I went to see him a few hours before his death; he was rational, and appeared to be warned of his approaching fate; he mentioned his friends in Poultney; he mentioned your name; regretted that he could not see you once more; but when he was a going to mention the name of Charlotte, his speech failed him. He could only squeeze my hand, and weep. I pitied him, from my soul. 'Young man,' said I, 'I know what you would say - endeavor to recover your health. You shall have a furlough, and go and see -'. . .'Ah! no,' said he, 'it is all over with me. A few hours, and I shall be no more.' He hung to my hand; begged of me not to leave him; but my duty forced me, and, with difficulty, I tore myself from his grasp. I had him decently interred; and if any person was a mourner, I was one.  

"Perhaps it would not be proper to mention this to Charlotte. You can do as you think best, as I believe you are capable of judging as correctly as I can. The remainder of the soldiers from Poultney and that quarter are all well.

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"I shall send this letter by Elnathan Phelps, Jr. I have sent to the post-office for a letter this evening, and the mail had not arrived; therefore, no letter from my Lucy. How unpropitious are these strong winds! - or is my Lucy unkind?  

"But a short time, and, like Spencer, I shall be no more. It is a solemn thought. Yet, could I be sure of one other life, there would be nothing terrific; but to go out like an extinguished taper, is insupportable - the thought is doleful. No! rather let me cling to that hope which warrants a never-ending existence; a future spring, where troubles shall cease, and tears find no conveyance; where never-ending spring shall flourish, and love, pure as the driven snow, rest in every breast.  

"Dear Lucy, do write to me, and let me know how you pass your time.  

"Good-evening. I am troubled. WM. MILLER."  

As Mr. Miller has expressed his horror of the infidel doctrine of annihilation in the above letter, it may be proper here to show that it was this repulsive feature of deism which constituted the greatest difficulty connected with it in his mind. This fact is thus stated, in one of his published works:  

"Before the close of this period, however," [the period of his deistical life] "I began to suspect that deism tended to a belief of annihilation, which was always very abhorrent to my feelings. In the fall of 1812, as I was returning to Poultney from the court at Rutland, in company with Judge Stanley, I asked him his opinion respecting our condition in another state. He replied by comparing it to that of a tree, which flourishes for a time, and turns again to earth; and to that of a candle, which burns to nothing. I was then satisfied that deism was inseparably connected with, and did tend to, the denial of a future existence. And I thought to myself, that rather than embrace such a view, I should prefer the heaven and hell of the Scriptures, and take my chance respecting them. Still, I could not regard the Bible as inspired."

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Another of his letters from the army is presented to the reader, rather to exhibit the ingenuity of its writer in administering a rebuke for what he supposed to be an omission, on the part of his wife, to forward the usual epistle to Camp Plattsburgh. It will be seen, that an arrangement had been made for a weekly correspondence. The large bundle of letters written by him, in fulfilment of this arrangement, is still preserved; each letter is numbered, and the whole furnishes an interesting illustration of the punctuality and order he carried into all the departments of life. This letter expresses the tender interest he felt in those at home. It shows that his pleasantry could adapt itself to the most serious subjects. And it undoubtedly presents a correct statement of his religious views at the time.   

It should be stated, that the letter which he mourns the absence of, and which led him to suppose his wife must be "no more," was sent by a lad who expected to leave Whitehall and go to Plattsburgh by water, so as to get there about the time of the arrival of the mail. A storm detained the vessel some days, so that the letter was not received as intended. This afflicting letter - it is afflicting, full of irony as it is - reads as follows:  

"Camp Plattsburgh, Nov 11th, 1814.  

"DEAR LUCY: - Have you departed this life? Are you gone to the world of spirits? (I almost fancy that, while I am writing, your unembodied spirit is hovering around me.) Or, are you so engaged that you could not devote one hour in a week to your humble servant?    

"The following are the words you wrote me not long since, to wit, - 'If I am alive, I shall write to you weekly, and put a letter into the post-office every Monday morning;' and, ever since Wednesday noon, I have been dressed in mourning. Shall I ever see my Lucy again? I have often exclaimed, Ah! no; she could not tell me a falsehood. She must be dead! What can I write, if she is gone? I cannot write anything; she cannot hear me. I can only write to my children, into whose hands  I hope this letter will fall, - 'Dear children, you have lost your mother, and but a little while, and your father must follow; perhaps, before you receive this, he will be no more; prepare, then, my children, to meet the frowns of fortune, and learn, in your youth, to repel the shafts of adversity. Your present time ought to be devoted to your studies. Remember the lives of your parents were short, and you know not the hour you will be called for. Life is uncertain, and you ought so to live as, when you come to die, that not one reflection will pass your mind but that you have so lived as to merit the good will of all good men. Your first study ought to lead you to look up to the Supreme Being as the Author of all things. When you learn his attributes, or as much as man is to know, you will ever keep in mind that he sees every action of your life, knows every thought, and hears every word. If you follow this rule, you cannot go far astray. You may be led, for a moment, into vices that human nature is subject to; but you cannot materially err, for, in your cooler moments, conscience will point to you the road you ought to follow. You must never give way to adversity, nor be raised up in prosperity; for pride is equally as dangerous as cowardice; for to give way to the first shows a weak and cowardly mind, and the latter indicates a vain and haughty spirit. Begin the world as you would wish you had when you come to die; endeavor to get the good will of all people; for it is better to have the good than the ill will of even a dog. Search not too far for vain and empty baubles; it is a more solid pleasure "to do as you would be done by." Yet, in this, you will find the ingratitude of man. Put not too much dependence on human favor; for there are but few who walk the narrow path. Remember, my children, that your father has vainly sought the friendship of man, and never could he discover any friendship only where there was a dependence. In the small circle in which I now move, this rule is manifest. Here are a hundred persons that depend upon me for every comfort, and each one professes a real love for me. Yet, if I was a citizen, or one of their own rank, I could never expect more than common friendship. Indeed, they seem to me like children, and, together with you, claim my highest support. If my Lucy is no more, and I am doomed to lead a solitary life, you must calculate to live for yourselves. What pecuniary help I can afford you, I will; and I expect it will be but small. What little worldly store I have left at home may be divided equally among you when you arrive to years of discretion. In the mean time, I hope, William, that you will set so good an example to your brothers and sisters, as that, if they follow it, shall insure them peace, love, and friendship here, and happiness in the world to come. May you remember the virtues of your parents, and forget their vices: this is the constant prayer of your loving father, WM. MILLER.'

"If Lucy is no more, or if she has forgotten Wm. Miller, then this letter is directed to Wm. S. Miller, his oldest son."

Mr. Miller remained at Plattsburgh as late as February of 1815; and, although the English had removed their forces into Canada, so that there was no fighting with them, there were some bad Yankees, whose cases called for occasional punishment. In the "Register of men tried and punished or pardoned," kept by our then military friend, we find nothing more severe inflicted, by any court martial of which "Capt. Miller" was "President," than this: "S- P-, Private. Jan. 20, 1815. Regt. C. Martial. Crime: disobedience of orders, neglect of duty, and stealing. Sentence: to be ducked in the lake, picketed two hours, and have his whiskey rations stopped sixty days." Rather a hard sentence for January!

In prosecuting the business designated in the following "Order" of General Macomb, he probably had an opportunity to make a flying visit to Poultney:

"Head-quarters, Plattsburgh, 3rd February, 1815.

"ORDERS. - Capt. Miller, of the 30th Regt., will proceed immediately to Whitehall, and procure clothing for the requisition of the commanding officer of his regt.


Mr. Miller's connection with the scenes of military life were drawing to a close. Peace had already been ratified; and, shortly after the news of that event arrived, he received permission to take a last farewell of the actual service of a calling which was as uncongenial with the aspirations of his soul as any of the scenes of his former life had been. The permit - perhaps it should be called a discharge - is in this form:

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"Burlington, June 18, 1815.

"Capt. W. Miller has permission to depart till further orders, he having complied with the General Orders, as respects the five year men. By command,

"JNO. H. BURTON, "Lt. & Adj't 30th Inf'y."  

A few reflections on this period of Mr. Miller's life, and the mention of an incident or two of some interest, must close this chapter. Everybody is familiar with the fact, that the army is a bad school of morality. Intemperance, licentiousness, gambling, fighting, stealing, profanity, and Sabbath-breaking, are the common vices of army life. It was the constant practice of these vices by those around him, which sickened Mr. Miller of their society. And that he should escape entirely from the contamination, would be too much to expect. However, it is both a matter of surprise, and highly creditable to him, that his moral integrity and habits were not affected to a hopeless extent. There were, however, some redeeming traits to the too generally dark moral picture of army life. There were a few men in the 30th regiment of infantry who were known as men of prayer, and undoubted piety. And an incident in their history, which Mr. Miller has often spoken of with great interest, should be mentioned. One of these praying men, if memory has not failed in the case, was Sergeant Willey. His tent was occasionally used for the purpose of holding a prayer-meeting. On one of these occasions, when Mr. Miller was "the officer for the day," he saw a light in this tent, and, wishing to know what was going on, as his duty required, he drew near, and heard the voice of prayer. He said nothing at the time; but, the next day, on recollecting it, he thought it was a good opportunity to try the sergeant's piety, and indulge his own relish for a joke, by calling Sergeant Willey to account for having his tent occupied by a gambling party the night before. When the sergeant appeared, Captain Miller affected great seriousness, and spoke in a tone bordering on severity, as follows:- "You know, Sergeant Willey, that it is contrary to the army regulations to have any gambling in the tents at night. And I was very sorry to see your tent lit up, for that purpose, last night. We cannot have any gambling at such times. You must put a stop to it at once. I hope I shall not have to speak to you again about it!"

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The poor sergeant stood thunderstruck, for a moment, to hear such an imputation cast on himself and his associates. And then, hardly daring to look up, he replied, with the most touching simplicity, and in a manner which showed that he was alike unwilling to suffer the scandal of entertaining gamblers, or to make a parade of his devotions, "We were not gambling, sir!"

Capt. Miller was touched with his appearance. But, still affecting greater severity than at first, being determined to press him to a confession, he said to the sergeant, "Yes, you were gambling! And it won't do! What else could have your tent lighted up for, all the evening, if you were not gambling?"

Sergeant Willey now felt himself under the necessity of being a little more explicit, and answered, in a manner deeply expressive of his grief and innocence, "We were praying, sir!"

Capt. Miller, by this time, was almost in tears; and indicating, by a motion of his hand, that he was satisfied, and that the praying sergeant might withdraw, he continued alone for some time, sensibly affected by the courage manifested by these Christians in that ungodly camp, by the becoming deportment of their representative under such a serious scandal, and by the doubtful course he had taken in reference to them.

There are but two particulars on which the writer has ever heard a hint that the subject of this memoir became in the least corrupted in his habits, during his connection with the army. On one of these particulars, he has written as follows:

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"One day in May, 1816, I detected myself in the act of taking the name of God in vain - a habit I had acquired in the service; and I was instantly convicted of its sinfulness."

The other vice of his army life was that of gambling, particularly, if not exclusively, in the use of cards. To what extent he indulged the habit, cannot be stated; but, on returning home, at the close of the war, he abandoned the practice totally and forever. Facts might be presented to show that Mr. Miller's stern regard for the principles of personal virtue, and especially his abhorrence of the slightest violation of the laws of chastity, exposed him to the raillery of his less scrupulous, and even shameless, brother officers. It is sufficient to say, what all who have any knowledge of the question will confirm, that his personal integrity and official honor were such, throughout his connection with the army, as to command, in an almost unexampled degree, the respect and affection of all who were under him as an officer, and the hearty confidence and esteem of his official associates. For years after the war closed, it was a common thing for his brethren in arms to turn aside from the great route of travel, five or six miles, only to enjoy a short interview with one to whom they were so strongly attached; and some of the less provident, feeling sure that he would receive them with a sort of fatherly sympathy, which a poor, unfortunate soldier seldom finds in the world, were accustomed to tarry with him some days or weeks at a time.

One fact must be mentioned, which will speak more than volumes in behalf of his commanding integrity, as it shows the place he occupied in the respect and confidence of the soldiers. After the war, two members of his company, who lived as neighbors in the extreme northern part of Vermont, had some business difficulties, which grew to be so serious that they could hardly live together as neighbors on speaking terms, to say the least. This was a great affliction to themselves, as brother soldiers, to their families, and to the whole neighborhood. These men had often thought of their former captain, though they were much older than he was, and wished the difficulties could be submitted to his examination and decision. But it was a long way to his residence, and the time and cost of the journey seemed too much to admit of such an arrangement. However, the matter became a source of so much trouble, that the proposition was made by one, and gladly accepted by the other, to visit Captain Miller; to submit the case to him, by telling each his own story, and to abide by his decision. The long journey was performed by these old soldiers separately, as duellists go to the place of single combat. They arrived at Captain Miller's nearly at the same time. Arrangements were made for a hearing. Each told his story. The decision was made known, after all the facts of the case had been duly considered. It was received in good faith by the parties. They took each other cordially by the hand, spent a little time with their captain, and returned to their homes in company, as friends and brothers. These men, now far advanced in life, it is believed are still living. Their names could be given, if it were necessary.  

Paradoxical as it may appear, some of the most distinguished and honorable soldiers have been the most successful bloodless peace-makers, while, on the other hand, some of the most contemptible cowards, with peaceable pretensions always on their lips, have distinguished themselves by very little besides their successful contrivances to keep all engaged in war with whom they have had to do. Without claiming any special distinction for Mr. Miller on the score of what are styled brilliant achievements in the field of danger, the character of a great lover of peace belonged to him as a distinguishing personal trait. He delighted in peace, naturally; it is not known that he ever intentionally provoked a quarrel; and a considerable number of cases could be cited, in which he has been called to perform the office of a peace-maker, and in the duties of which he has been remarkably successful. But enough. More must be left unwritten than it would be practicable or necessary to write.  

The watchful Providence which guarded him in the hour of deadly peril; the long-suffering which spared him while neglecting the talents bestowed, or misusing them in rebellion against the Giver; and that wisdom and grace which overruled all the dangers experienced, and the derelictions practised, as in many other persons of distinguished usefulness, demand our hearty adoration.

The close of Mr. Miller's military life was to be the commencement of a new era in his history. The circumstances which preceded that change, the means and instrumentalities employed in its accomplishment, and the practical results which immediately followed in the circle of his acquaintance, must be left to another chapter.

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ON the retirement of Mr. Miller from the army, he removed his family from Poultney, Vt., to Low Hampton, N. Y., to begin there the occupation of farming. His father had died there, in the year 1812, leaving the homestead encumbered with a mortgage. That was cancelled by Mr. Miller, who permitted his mother to live there, with his brother Solomon, while he purchased for himself another farm, in the neighborhood, about half a mile to the west. This lay mostly above the general level of the valley of the Poultney river, and comprised about two hundred acres of land, with a surface somewhat uneven, and with soil similar to that usually found in sections geologically marked by black slate and limestone. Two miles to the east was the village of Fairhaven, Vt., near the Poultney river; and eight miles to the west, on the southern extremity of Lake Champlain, at the foot of bold, precipitous hills, was the village of Whitehall, N. Y.  

On this spot, in 1815, Mr. Miller erected a convenient farm-house, similar to those built throughout the interior of New England at that epoch. It was of wood, two stories high, with an ell projecting in the rear. The front and ends were painted white, with green blinds, and the back side was red. It fronts to the north. A small yard, enclosed by a picket fence, and ornamented by lilacs, raspberry and rosebushes, separates it from the public road leading to Fairhaven, which is one of the interesting objects in the foreground of the extended view to the east, as seen from the window of the "east room," so full of tender and holy recollections to all visitors.

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BOATS were waiting, and before night we were embarked on board the cartel. This was an English merchant-ship of 400 tons burden, called the Mary Ann, of London, commanded by Capt. Carr, with temporary berths between decks to accommodate about two hundred and eighty persons. Some officers that had been on parole joined us at P.,

which swelled our number to two hundred and eighty.

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Here, past scenes were brought to remembrance. Away some three miles, in the upper harbor, were moored a fleet of old sheer hulks (ships of war unseaworthy and dismantled), where some five years before I had been sent, after I was impressed, to be held in readiness for actual service in the British navy. Rather than submit to such unwarrantable oppression, at the midnight hour I lowered myself from the gun-port hole of the middle deck of the St. Salvadore del Mondo (an old Spanish three-decker), into the sea, thinking to swim these three miles, and possibly land somewhere near the place where I was now, through the providence and mercy of God, embarking for my own native country. From this desperate effort for liberty I was prevented, as already shown, and sent away among strangers, with my character branded as a runaway from His Majesty's service. This side of that dark spot of dismantled ships lay moored the Swiftshore, 74, recently returned from her three years' station in the Mediterranean - the same ship to which I was drafted on her arrival in the Mediterranean from the Rodney, 74, when she was about returning from thence to England; the same ship in which I spent my first six months' imprisonment, where I was threatened, if I would not comply with the urgent request of the first lieutenant, that I should be lashed in the main rigging, a target for the French fleet to fire at. As I was transferred to this ship because I had attempted to gain my liberty (as stated above - so I was informed), I should be transferred when she was relieved, at the expiration of some three years more, and thus I was doomed to remain in a foreign country, deprived of the privileges allowed in their service, such as paying their seamen their wages, and granting them twenty-four  hours' liberty on shore, etc. But my sufferings in their prisons had now gained for me what they were not disposed to grant, viz., entire freedom and liberty from the service of King George III. 

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England and America have done, and still are doing, much by way of compensation for such as have labored and suffered in their service. Millions of dollars were expended to carry on the war of 1812. Americans demanded and fought for "free trade and sailors' rights." England acknowledged the justice of their claim: first, by permitting hundreds, who requested to become prisoners of war rather than remain in their service, so to do. It was often stated that about two hundred of this class of American prisoners were confined in Dartmoor; second, by treaty of peace in 1815. But no remuneration was ever allowed for depriving us of our liberty, and unjustly retaining us to fight their battles, except the small allowance of wages which they were disposed to grant. I was required to do the duty of an able seaman the last part of my service, and was told that I was so rated, where I was stationed in the maintop. While a prisoner of war in 1813, the navy agent paid me £14, 2s.6d., or $62.71. This, including my coarse, cheap wearing apparel (for a mild climate), served me from what the officers call the sailors' "slop chest," was all the compensation England allowed me for my services for some two years and a half. After which they held me a prisoner of war two and a half years longer, treating and regarding me in the same way and manner, without any mitigation or favor, as those of our countrymen that were taken in privateers or in battle. But if England feels disposed at this late hour of my sojourn here to do me justice, it will be very acceptable.

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Our berths on board the cartel were much crowded together, and were prepared for both sleeping and eating, with narrow pass-way, just wide enough to admit of our passing up on deck, and down, rank and file. The next morning we weighed our anchor and passed out of the harbor under a cloud of sail, with a fair wind. Very soon we took our departure from old England, and were glad enough to find ourselves on the wide ocean steering westward. Nothing worthy of note occurred on board until we reached the eastern edge of the celebrated banks of Newfoundland, except the little sea larks which came fluttering in our wake, seemingly overjoyed to find another ship and her company on the ocean, from which they could obtain their daily allowance of food. How they rest in the night, if they do at all, is the marvel! Sailors called them "Mother Carey's chickens," perhaps in honor of a good old lady by that name, for her kind care and sympathy to poor sailors.

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"The largest army of the revolution was 17,000 men under Gen. Putnam on Long Island; and the most men that Washington commanded at any one time was 16,000 at Yorktown. In the war of 1812, the largest army was only 6000 under Jackson at New Orleans. In the war with Mexico, Scott's largest force was 8,500, and Taylor's less than 5000. In the late rebellion, the loyal states called out in the whole, some three million soldiers, and about a million at one time, more than 600,000 of whom were present for duty. In our very first battle at Bull Run, McClellan had 168,000 men and in the final campaign against Richmond, Grant had a much larger number than that. The figures indicate the growth of the Republic as a military power."



February 20, 1866 UrSe, ARSH 92.10