The Soul of a Soldier: the True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War
by Myron M. Miller
What happened to a soldier's soul during the Civil War as he faced the horrors of war?Why did a man leave behind a wife and two very young children to serve in the army? Who was Samuel K. Miller before, during and after the Civil War? What was the Mounted Pioneer Corps, and what was their critical role in keeping an army moving? Why was he chosen to be in that unit? When a woman was left with children while her husband went off to the Civil War, what pressures did she face because he was away? How did the women manage their homes while their husbands were away?
What were the feelings of a Union soldier as he faced his “brothers” across the picket lines, the Confederates whom he came to know personally? What did they eat? Where did they live and sleep? What did they wear, and where did they get what they needed? What volunteer organizations sprung up to help the soldiers as they fought in the battlefields, either by providing physical help, or in aiding them to be in contact with their loved ones?
From his vantage point, somewhat unique because of the positioning of the Mounted Pioneer Corps during battles, what did he see of the battles? What were the forces for and against the war in his community back in Pennsylvania? Who were the Copperheads? What happened to his four Ellis family brothers-in-law who also served in the Union Army?
All these questions are answered in this book, “The Soul of a Soldier: the True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War.” At age 42, Samuel K. Miller volunteered for the 211th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in September 1864 and served until June 1865. During his nine months in the service, he wrote 46 letters to his wife and, through her, to their one and five year old sons at their home in the little town of Hartstown, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, population less than 200.
This book contains the 46 letters that Samuel wrote during his time in the service of the Union Army, first as an infantryman, then in the Mounted Pioneer Corps attached to the Headquarters of the Union Ninth Corps. Portions of those letters are organized into 17 thematic chapters, which provide the answers to the questions raised above.
Samuel's letters provide a penetrating look into his soul, because of the highly personal nature of his letters. His letters reveal his character, values, his aspirations. Demetrius, an ancient Greek orator, literary critic, rhetorician and governor of Athens for ten years, once wrote: “Everyone reveals his own soul in his letters. In every other form of composition it is possible to determine the writer's character, but in none so clearly as the epistolary [the letters].” Demetrius' words apply to Samuel Miller, for Samuel revealed his soul in his letters.
The Soul of a Soldier: the True Story of a Mounted Pioneer in the Civil War
Myron Miller is a native of Western Pennsylvania, born and raised in North Irwin, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Northwestern University; then earned a Master of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. He then spent two years in the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corp.
Mr. Miller's business career encompassed positions in financial, marketing and strategic management, as well as a series of international business executive positions with Westinghouse Electric Corporation, The Singer Company, the Sunbeam Corporation and Sears World Trade. He then founded and managed Global Trade Services, Ltd., which had offices in Washington, DC and Rhode Saint Genese, Belgium. The objectives of his company were to help small and medium sized US companies develop and implement their initial entry into European markets with a “10-Step Road Map” and to provide marketing services to European companies. His company was incorporated in Belgium; he was thereby able to respond immediately to the needs of US and European companies.
From Belgium, Myron returned to the US to take a position on the faculty of the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University, where he taught international business and international marketing, directed the Michigan International Business Development Center and finally, was Director, Executive Development Programs.
The program for which he was most noted while at Michigan State was called “Export Success.” This program brought together the leadership of 6-12 small to medium sized Michigan companies to take them through the “10-Step Road Map to Success in Foreign Markets,” thereby enabling them to develop their companies' capabilities to enter foreign markets. He helped to initiate a similar program at Syracuse University called “Export New York.” During his business and academic career, he lived and worked in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, England and Belgium. In total, he has had work experience in over 60 countries.
Since leaving his full time position at Michigan State, Myron has continued his work in consulting, teaching and project management in international business. He taught a course on “Developing Global Managers” at Elon University, and a course on International Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University. He had consulting assignments in executive education at Elon University and The George Washington University. More recently, he developed a program entitled “Export Nicaragua,” which in two years trained 20 Nicaraguan fruit and vegetable companies to develop their international businesses, again using the “10-Step Road Map” process. In 2003, he was elected “International Trade Educator of the Year” by the North American Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE) organization.
Since moving to North Carolina in 1998, Mr. Miller has been dedicated to overseas church missions work with Christ United Methodist Church of Chapel Hill and currently with All Saints United Methodist Church in Raleigh. The “Beyond Our Borders” program, which he designed, has focused on the support of poor and needy children in the slums of several cities in Brazil, in Nicaragua and in Ukraine. Over $250,000 has been raised to support hundreds of those poor children in childcare centers, orphanages and foster homes in the slums of the cities and rural areas in those countries.
With two other Northwestern University graduates, Myron Miller founded the Northwestern University Club of the North Carolina Triangle in 2003, and served as its first president. The purpose of the club is to bring together the graduates of Northwestern to benefit from prominent faculty speakers, to help the alumni understand the current accomplishments and needs of their university, and to build friendship among them through social events.
Since early 1999, Myron has taken courses at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke University, and held leadership positions as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Chair, Strategic Planning for three years. Further, he co-taught two courses on “The Foundations of the US Constitution.”
In recent years, Myron has enjoyed researching his family's genealogy and studying American history. He is now a member of the Mayflower Society; his eighth great grandfathers are Myles Standish and John Alden. Mr. Miller is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution; his ancestor Abner Ford, Sr. fought in a militia unit in Maine in September 1777. As an invited speaker, he has given presentations on “The Founding Fathers: Their Remarkable Preparation;” “The Role of France in the American Revolution,” and on “James Madison: His Legacy.”
Myron has had a lifelong passion for choral and classical music. In his early years, he played the piano, then the trombone for many years. He has sung in oratorio groups in Ashland, Ohio; Westfield, New Jersey; Brussels, Belgium (the Brussels Choral Society), and East Lansing, Michigan (the Michigan State University Choral Union). He also sang in the chorus of four operas with the Opera Theater of New Jersey.
Because his great uncle had published histories of the Miller and Ellis families in the 1930s, and the family had kept many original letters and documents, Mr. Miller was inspired to use the letters of Samuel K. Miller to write a book about his great-grandfather’s Civil War experience.