Charles Miller, in his own words
6th U.S. Cavalry
July 16, 1863
Staunton, Virginia

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Everything in the shape of blankets, rubbers and shelter tents were taken from us and we were turned into an open field near the railroad station to wait for further orders. A crystal brook ran through the camp, formed by numerous springs which gushed from the hillsides in and adjoining our present abode.

Not knowing how soon we were to leave for Richmond, Andy and I thought best to bake up all our flour while we had time and opportunity. We got some stones, placed our kettle cover on them, built a fire under it and proceeded in business. The fire expanded so rapidly the stones that several times our dough was capsized, but we persevered and finally got our flour all baked, and had a haversack full. Andy slung it around his neck, saying he would keep watch and ward over it.


Charles had walked south to Staunton (lower left), there to take the train to Richmond.

We selected a place for that night on the greensward, beside the running brook, and after our bountiful repast retired with no covering but the clear blue sky. We were soon lost in dreamland, and not until the camp was all astir did we awake from our repose, doomed to bitter disappointment. Our hearts sank within us when we discovered that our doughcakes were gone,--some hungry wretch had stolen haversack and all. We searched the camp but found no trace of our lost treasure.

Hunger again stared us in the face. Our feelings can be imagined only by a like experience. I believe we did receive a few crackers, but they seemed a drop in the bucket to our ravenous appetites. For lack of transportation, only one squad of about seven hundred men could be taken from camp in one day. Everyone seemed anxious to be the first to go, hoping to better their condition, which proved to the contrary.

The third day I succeeded in getting passed out of camp to board the train for Richmond. While we were waiting at the station I bought three pies from a huckster woman for one dollar apiece, Confederate money, and oh, such pies! I don't want to boast of my qualifications as a cook, but in my mind our doughcakes were much more palatable. They were made of dried apples and if an elephant had put his foot on them, the upper and under crusts would not have been much closer together.


Drag map left to see Staunton in relation to Richmond.
The railroad paralleled today's Interstate 64.