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Wright, Miller A. [Personal and military correspondence and documents related to August or Miller Wright] [decimalized]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02691.11 Author/Creator: Wright, Miller A. Place Written: [various places] Type: Header Record Date: 1858 - circa 1897 Pagination: 107 items

More than half of these items, to, from, or relating to Augustus or Miller Wright, are Civil War-period. Includes an 9 February 1864 autograph letter signed from Walter Herron Taylor, aide to Robert E. Lee, regarding General Lee's refusal to approve transfers without consultation of commanding officers; a 22 April 1864 autograph letter signed from Augustus to Miller Wright, discussing "the great inefficiency in our officers" and a "very odious" conscription bill; a 20 July 1864 pass issued to Miller Wright by Joseph Rollins, Jr., by order of General Vandever; a 8 September 1864 autograph letter signed from R.N. Williams urging special treatment for POW Miller Wright, as he is "entitled to more consideration than most confederate officers"; a 27 November 1864 ALS from L.H. Everts, vouching for the current loyalty of Miller Wright, "who has recently received from the President of the United States full pardon for all his treasonable acts"; an 8 April 1865 autograph letter signed from A.N. Wilson, written a day before Lee's surrender, discussing tobacco tax and southern financial woes and stating that he'll "wait to see what course General Lee takes before I do any thing"; an 18 April 1865 autograph letter signed from A.N. Wilson decrying "those Devils who brought about the present state of affairs" and asking "What is our country coming to?" in response to "the sad event at Washington" (presumably, Lincoln's assassination), a 29 April 1865 autograph letter signed from August to Miller Wright regarding a prisoner parole and those "fiends" who still try to rule by violence; an 4 May 1865 autograph letter signed from a former Confederate officer regarding General Wofford's imminent surrender - "The War is over no dout."

The Augustus and Miller Wright collection consists primarily of material written to Miller. Among these, his father, Augustus Romaldus Wright was the most frequent correspondent; twenty-two letters from Augustus to his son appear in the collection. A number of letters from his cousin Flora, and a host of written orders from General George Washington Lee also account for a large portion of the group.
Miller received several letters from the rest of his family. Besides his father and his cousin, family members whose letters can be found in this collection include two sisters, two brothers, another cousin, and a step-mother. The remainder of the correspondence is comprised mainly of letters from friends, fellow officers in the Confederate Army, and post war business associates. After he was captured, and before he became a businessman, influential friends wrote him a few letters of recommendation and support (#66, #68, #72).
There are a few items which originated from Miller: a letter to his brother (#15), a leave of absence for a private in the Confederate Army (#47), and several personal notes that can be found toward the end of the collection.

Augustus Wright was a staunch Unionist. He opposed secession throughout the civil war even though his loyalty to the Union was ultimately outweighed by his loyalty to his native Georgia. Even after war broke out, however, Augustus did his best to encourage his peers to return to the United States, especially once it was clear that the South would lose the war.
Nonetheless, Augustus fought in the Confederate Army. On August 27, 1861, he joined with the rank of Colonel. Augustus' Military career would not be long lived. He resigned his commission and returned home on February 14, 1862, perhaps to concentrate more heavily on politics. Incidentally, the Wright family home was previously that of the infamous Cherokee Chief Major Ridge.
A US Congressman before the war, Augustus was likewise a Congressmen in the Confederate House of Representatives during it. He was present at the drafting of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. He became Chairman of the Committee on Medical Department when it was created on September 8, 1862. He also headed the Special Committee on Hospitals. His papers are now housed at the library of the University of Georgia.
Miller Wright enlisted in the Confederate Army as a private. His father was a Colonel, and the leader of the 38th Regiment Georgia Infantry. Augustus got Miller discharged so that he could reenroll in his own regiment as a lieutenant (#19). He would attain the rank of Colonel by the end of the war.
On April 18, 1862, Miller was relieved of duty as a result of serious sickness (#23). Worse fate was yet to come, however. On September 17, 1862, he was wounded at Sharpsburg, Maryland. A bullet found his foot, removing him from military service for a long while. According to a letter written by a supervising officer, Miller could "only walk a short distance at a time without great fatigue." He was "unable to do the duties of an infantry officer in the field."
Though Miller suffered sickness and injury, his military conduct would be rewarded by a series of promotions, the highest of which was Colonel. He was officially commissioned as a Colonel, and an aide-de-camp of the governor of Georgia on May 11,1864 (#62). By August 1, 1864 he was taken captive by Union authorities.
After the war, Miller tried his hand at private enterprise. He remained a businessman until he died on January 31, 1899 (#99). In later life, he became rather religious, as is evidenced by items #94, #105, and #106.

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