October 22, 1864: General William Miller’s Order

The following post is part of an ongoing series entitled Civil War Voices from Florida. Each day in October 2014, Florida Memory will post a document from the collections of the State Archives of Florida written exactly 150 years before that date, in October 1864.

Today’s post takes us to Tallahassee and into the headquarters of Brigadier General William Miller, who had recently been put in command of Florida’s reserve troops. The State Archives holds a photocopy of Miller’s letterbook, which contains this order, written 150 years ago today:

Excerpt from the letterbook of the Florida Reserves of the Confederate Army (Collection M90-2, State Archives of Florida).

Excerpt from the letterbook of the Florida Reserves of the Confederate Army (Collection M90-2, State Archives of Florida).

Transcript:

Hd. Qtrs. Reserves of Fla.
Tallahassee October 22nd 1864

Circular.

All men detailed, and serving with the State Troops, who do not report to their commanding officers in time of an invasion, or whenever called upon to do so, their names [will/shall?] be reported to these Hd. Qtrs. and the offending parties will be assigned to the Reserves.

By order of:
Brig. Genl. Miller

W.G. PooleA.A.A. Genl.

Miller’s task as commander of the Florida Reserves was to build up a force that could defend Florida from invasion. There were at this time a number of Floridians serving in small “home guard” units and other details protecting and herding cattle or doing other miscellaneous tasks. Since these groups generally operated near the members’ homes, the men did not always report regularly to a central commander.

Brigadier General William Miller (circa 1860s).

Brigadier General William Miller (circa 1860s).

This was an attractive setup for men with families and farms to tend, but it made a fast response to a potential Union attack difficult. Miller’s order was designed to ensure that the “State Troops” would stay in close contact with their commanders and report swiftly when needed. If they did not, they risked being transferred to the Reserves, a more traditional military unit.

For more information about Florida in the Civil War, check out the related resources below. Also, join us tomorrow for another edition of Civil War Voices. We’ll check in once more with Leon Countian prisoner of war Wilbur Wightman Gramling in Elmira, New York.

Related Resources on Florida Memory:

Related Resources at the State Archives of Florida:

Related Resources in Print:

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