Id’d Va. Staff Officer Cuff or Kepi Buttons of Officer WIA at Hatcher’s Run
Id’d Va. Staff Officer Cuff or Kepi Buttons of Officer WIA at Hatcher’s Run - These two Virginia Staff Officer, cuff or kepi-size buttons have Canfield of Baltimore back marks. The buttons have an aged patina and verdigris, but are in sound condition. The shanks are joined by a period “bachelor’s ring”. We obtained these buttons from a direct descendant of Lt. Robert Dee Miller; this descendant also had an incredibly rare, coin silver, CS Detective badge, apparently worn by Robert’s brother, William S. Miller. Both brothers enlisted, in 1862, in Co. A of the 34th Va. Infantry. The latter Miller survived the war and returned to the Ware Neck / Gloucester area in eastern Virginia, to Groomsville, the family home. William S. Miller never attained a rank above that of Private, during his service in the 34th Va., while his brother, Robert Dee, became a Lieutenant and Assistant Surgeon. We presume that these buttons, which have been the property of the Miller family since the Civil War, were those of Robert Dee Miller, who would die of wounds received at Hatcher’s Run, while a POW, on April 7, 1865. The Miller descendant had placed a label (pictured here) with the detective’s badge (sold) and the buttons, perhaps erroneously believing that the buttons were those of Private Wm. S. Miller. Accompanying the buttons, is a photograph (recently done) of an original image of Robert Dee Miller, apparently taken just prior to his entry into military service.
Robert Dee Miller was born on Aug. 2, 1830, the son of James Miller and Mary S. Miller. He married Maria G. Thornton, and 1860 census records indicate that Robert was living in a household headed by Mary S. Miller, 72, who owned $636 worth of real estate and personal property of $6,230. At that time, the records also indicate that there were 14 people living in the household, including Robert D., 30, his wife Maria, 26, and their two daughters, Mary E., 2, and Maud, 1; Miller’s occupation was listed as “farmer”, at that time. Ultimately, Robert and Maria would have five children:
Mary E. Miller, b. Feb. 16, 1858
Maria Maud Miller, b. June 4, 1859, m. George William Deal
Nannie B. Miller, b. Nov. 19, 1862, m. George William Deal
Willie Miller, b. 1865
Robert D. Miller enlisted as a sergeant in Company A of the 34th Virginia Infantry, in Gloucester County, Va. at age 30. He was promoted to Lt. on December 20, 1862, and was also later listed as an Assistant Surgeon. He was present through the company’s final roll call, in February, 1865, but then wounded, in the left arm, and subsequently captured at Hatcher’s Run (Dinwiddie County, Va.). Miller, as a POW, was sent to Washington, DC, where he died, from complications of his wound, on April 7, 1865.
A first hand account of Lt. Miller’s wounding and ensuing capture was recorded in the “Proceedings of the Gloucester Monument Association at the Unveiling of the Monument at Gloucester Courthouse, Va.”, dated Wed., September 18, 1889. This account, written by T.J. Stubbs, who was with Lt. Miller when he was wounded and captured, is both incredibly poignant and detailed. A reproduced copy of these proceedings, containing this account, will accompany this grouping.
The 34th Virginia was organized in May 1862, with men from Norfolk, Richmond, and Yorktown, and the counties of Gloucester, Mecklenburg, Bedford, Greene, and King and Queen. For almost two years the unit served as heavy artillery attached to the Department of Richmond and was known as the 4th Heavy Artillery. In May, 1864, it was assigned to Wise’s Brigade as infantry. It participated in the long Petersburg siege, including the Battle of the Crater; the 34th also saw action in various conflicts prior to its surrender at Appomattox, inclduing the Battle of Sailor’s Creek. It contained 466 effectives in June, 1862, and surrendered 14 officers and 210 men. The field officers were Colonel John T. Goode, Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Harrison, and Major John R. Bagby. SOLD