Letter written from the steamboat Menemon Stanford as she is sinking


Date Written

Dec. 10, 1862

Phillip I Miller was 25 years old when this was written.
Phillip I Miller died 15 years, 10 months, 22 days after writing it.
It was written 160 years, 11 months, 28 days ago.
It was a Wednesday.

Coast of Florida
December 10, 1862
Steamer M. Sanford

Friend Taylor,

I take this hasty opportunity to inform you where we are this morning. At 6 o’clock we run on a rock and sprung a leak and here we are about 15 miles from land and no way to get on shore.

Night 12:00. There is a Steamer in sight and coming to help us. 12 at night. The boys are gone aboard some ship and I am left to guard our baggage on board the wreck. I expect to go off in the morning somewhere. We have the pilot under arrest. The water is up to the first deck but if it does not storm we are all right till morning.

This steamer is about the size of the Josephine and we slept between deck and it was an awful hole, for just think of 980 men in a small place and half of them sick. It put me in mind of the shoemaker’s hog pen. I suppose G. Perrine knows where we are. It is called Florida Reef near the light house and 120 miles from Key West, the 11th December morning.

The Colonel told me that there was a steamer lying off here for New York and I could send my letter. When you hear from me, you will find where I turn up.

Fare you well. From your old friend.

P. I. Miller

Scans of Letter