Civil War Talk Radio: October 26, 2007

by Brett Schulte on October 26, 2007 · 0 comments

Air Date: 102607
Subject: Acting Major Charles Dana Miller
Book:  Struggle for the Life of the Republic: A Civil War Narrative
Guest: Stewart Bennett

Summary: Stewart Bennett, who along with Barbara Tillery co-edited a recent release of Charles Dana Miller’s Civil War memoir, joins Gerry to discuss Miller’s experiences during the Civil War.

Brett’s Summary: Stewart Bennett was teaching in Hattiesburg, Mississippi when Barbara Tillery came to him with a typewritten reproduction of Charles Dana Miller’s memoirs.  Interestingly, as they were about to go to print, a handwritten version was found, penned by Miller himself.  Luckily, the person who had transcribed the memoirs did a good job and there were no alterations, intentional or otherwise.

Tillery was able to find quite a bit of information on Miller from his descendants, including a priceless camp desk Miller used during the Atlanta Campaign, which was scheduled to go on display in Corinth, Mississippi.

The second and third segments of the show went into Miller’s adventures during the war.  He was involved in the grain business prior to the war, and enjoyed some social standing as a result.  He felt this lack of social standing keenly when he started the war as a private in the 76th Ohio.  The regiment fought at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Arkansas Post, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and on the March to the Sea.  Miller was there for all but Chattanooga and the March to the Sea.  Bennett made sure to mention Arkansas Post since it was a big part of the 76th Ohio’s experience during the war.

One topic which kept reappearing was how close Miller came to death on numerous occasions.  At Vicksburg, a man who was standing where had been positioned only moments before was shot in the head by a Confederate sharpshooter and took 20 minutes to die a difficult death.  Miller was at home recovering from sickness when the man who had taken his place was killed at Chattanooga.

This memoir was written after the war, but the exact date cannot be pinned down with any accuracy.  Bennett and Tillery believe Miller compiled it for the first great reunion of Ohio soldiers after the Civil War.

Civil War Talk Radio airs most Fridays at 12 PM Pacific on World Talk Radio Studio A. Host Gerry Prokopowicz, the History Chair at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, interviews a guest each week and discusses their interest in the Civil War. Most interviews center around a book or books if the guest is an author. Other guests over the years have included public historians such as park rangers and museum curators, wargamers, bloggers, and even a member of an American Civil War Round Table located in London, England.

In this series of blog entries, I will be posting air dates, subjects, and guests, and if I have time, I’ll provide a brief summary of the program. You can find all of the past episodes I’ve entered into the blog by clicking on the Civil War Talk Radio category. Each program should appear either on or near the date it was first broadcast.

Check out more summaries of Civil War Talk Radio at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.

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