CS ARMY REGULATIONS CARRIED BY CAPTAIN BENTON H. MILLER, 59th GEORGIA, WOUNDED AND CAPTURED AT GETTYSBURG, AND PHOTOGRAPHED WHILE CONVALESCING THERE AT CAMP LETTERMAN HOSPITAL

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This copy of the “Army Regulations / Army of the Confederate States …. Also Articles of War,” was published by Gaulding & Whitaker, “Intelligencer Print,” Atlanta, GA. 1861, and is scarce in any case, but also bears an owner inscription in pencil, front eps—“B.H. Miller 1862.” 201 pp., wraps. Brown buckram covers, 4.625  x 6”. Exhibits wear at the extremities, soiling of wrinkled lower right corner w/torn front cover paper label. Text foxed & browned, but entirely legible. Else good.

Benton H. Miller, born in 1833, mustered at age 28 as 2nd Sergt. in a battery of Georgia state troops. He mustered out 5/15/1862 and immediately re-mustered as 1st Lieut. Co. “D”, 59th Ga. Infantry. He was promoted to Captain 12/19/1862. The regiment served for a time in Georgia and North Carolina, before moving to Virginia and joining G.T. Anderson’s brigade of Hood’s division in May 1863. At Gettysburg July 2, 1863, the regiment took part in Longstreet’s assault against the left of the Union line. Anderson’s men saw action against DeTrobriand along the south edge of the Wheatfield, against Ward’s line along Houck’s Ridge to the east, and then, on the right of Anderson’s line, against Caldwell’s division, and particularly Cross’s 5th NH and 148th PA, as they tried to push back the Confederate advance. Miller shot in the left thigh during the fighting, taken to the CS field hospital on the Plank farm and later captured. He was paroled at Point Lookout (3/3/64) and exchanged (3/6/63,) but was permanently disabled and retired from the CS Army 7/15/64.

Remarkably, Miller not only gave a detailed account of his wounding to representative of the U.S. Christian Commission at Point Lookout, but was also photographed while recuperating at Camp Letterman before being transferred from Gettysburg.
“He was of Longstreet’s corps, Hood’s division, Anderson’s brigade, the Fifty-ninth Georgia regiment. Colonel Brown’s regiment rested on the second day at Gettysburg, in front of the railroad cut, where the first day’s fight was, until about twelve o’clock. Then marched to the right, on the west side of the branch and east of the McLean House – then to the peach orchard and brick house. The shelling was so heavy that we had to remove on through the peach orchard and directly across the rocks in Plum Run. By then our regiment was split in two, but we advanced. I was on the right. Went across the little branch, over the fence into the woods, among rocks on to where it was pretty level. Here formed the regiment, fixed bayonets and charged about sixty yards to the Union forces, where they had breast-works here and there. This was their first line. We fired about three volleys, and fell back and formed lower down. Then made a charge on the same works and got possession of them, following up in the hollow, on the right, and got possession of Little Round Top and beyond it. Then the battery of three guns turned on us and made an awful destruction of men. We turned to the left and captured the three guns. We then came into a position where a cross-fire from the enemy’s infantry took us. On that little knoll I was wounded, and placed in the crevice of some rocks where I lay until the daylight of the 3d. Our men at early dawn carried me away. Our men held position for two or three volleys. Reinforcements arriving we had to give up and fall back to original position. Several Union men sat down beside me, said it was a good place to rest and keep away from bullets. Our men made another charge and drove the Union men back about sixty yards, and continued until dark. The main body withdrew, taking with them what wounded they could and burying all they could. The Texans were on my right. The wound was a compound fracture of the upper third of my right thigh [a mistake by the transcriber- it was his left.] I was taken to Hood’s division hospital, on John Plank’s farm, where was a surgeon of the Eleventh Georgia. They carried me to a tent, but said it was of no use, I would certainly die. They ordered me to the dead-house, where I remained fifteen days. A young man of my company got a piece of rail and with a shirt tied my leg. When they took me into Plank’s house they said I would certainly die, to give whatever stimulants I would have. After this a surgeon from Gettysburg came, and suggested Smith’s Anterior and Post-splint, which they applied with success. But in that time my leg had shortened four and a half inches and could not be helped. On twelfth of August was taken to the Field General Hospital [Camp Letterman] – third November, West’s Building Hospital [Baltimore] – fifteenth to Fort McHenry – twenty-third and twenty-fourth to Point Lookout.” [The War, Battle of Gettysburg and the Christian Commission by Andrew B. Cross, Baltimore, 1865]

Even more noteworthy is his photograph. Preserved in material related to the Branch brothers of the 8th Georgia in the Atlanta History Center and published in “Charlotte’s Boys: Civil War Letters of the Branch Family,” the photograph identifies Miller as possibly the soldier on crutches at center with his wounded leg supported by splint and long sling over his neck. (Sanford Branch mentions him in letters home from the hospital.) Despite his wound being a compound fracture Miller was spared amputation of his leg. In Richmond a subsequent operation seems to have created a “false joint,” but he was permanently disabled a statement by a local doctor in the pension claims by Miller (1888) and his widow (1908) refers to him as “hopeless cripple” after his wounding. The file also contains a letter by I.L. Hamilton, late Surgeon of the 59th GA, who had treated Miller at Gettysburg. Miller must have been one tough soldier, however: he lived until 1908. He is buried in Linton Cemetery, in Linton, GA.

The 59th Georgia lost more than 25% of the 525 men it carried into action at Gettysburg, and the fighting for the Wheatfield was some of the fiercest and most prolonged of the battle. The is a great Georgia and Gettysburg related piece. Accompanied by State of Georgia Confederate pension records. [jp/ld/sr]

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