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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    Part 2, 2012: "Gone to be a Soldier"    Herbert W. Mills collection

Herbert W. Mills collection, 1861-1865 and 20th century

Herbert W. Mills

Herbert W. Mills, at age 18, July 1864

Worcester Historical Museum

H. W. Mills drum

H. W. Mills drum located at the Worcester Historical Museum

Worcester Historical Museum

Worcester Historical Museum (Worcester, Mass.) External Link
Herbert W. Mills was a machinist from Worcester, Mass.; he enlisted on July 9, 1864 and was assigned to Company G, 42nd Massachusetts Volunteers as a drummer. He served 100 days and was mustered out Nov. 11, 1864. Mills returned to Worcester briefly after the war but shortly thereafter attended school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and worked in New York City before settling in Paterson, N.J., where he entered the hardware business, owning several stores in the area for fifty years.
Diary, letters, and miscellaneous materials belonging to Herbert W. Mills. Includes diary (1864 July 12-Sept. 5) with brief entries, chiefly concerning the weather and the health of himself and other men in the camp; letters (1862 July-1864 Oct.), chiefly written to his mother, providing much detail about troop movements, the layout of various camps and quarters; a description of his uniform and drum; discussion of current events like Lincoln's election and the death of Willie Grout; photographs of Mills and his home in Worcester; certificate of Civil War service issued by the GAR; and various reunion articles and programs. When Mills entered Company G, he was considered too young to carry a musket but was accepted as a drummer boy. His diary is written from a boy's point of view and as such, his diet figures prominently. On July 30, 1864 he wrote from near Alexandria, Va. :
"We had coffee and hardtack for breakfast and coffee and hardtack for dinner and the same for supper. The hardtack was full of maggots. Some of our boys are out on picket duty. At dress parade 27 fell in a faint. The weather is very hot. I went in swimming this a.m. Fort Ellsworth is right back of our camp. We must carry our water a long way. Went over to Eddy's Company and got some rice out of the cook tent. Our own rations we can not eat. We had guard mounting this morning."

(See the NUCMC catalog record)

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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    Part 2, 2012: "Gone to be a Soldier"    Herbert W. Mills collection
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   October 16, 2014
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