A native of South Bend, Indiana, John Franklin Miller was born November 21, 1831. He was educated in South Bend, Chicago and at Ballston Spa, New York, where he received a law degree at age 21. He began his law practice in South Bend but went to Napa, California in 1853 where he continued practice and served as county treasurer. He returned to South Bend in 1855 and was elected to the state senate in 1861.
On August 27, 1861, he was commissioned Colonel of the 29th Indiana Volunteer Regiment whose first important service was in Kirk's Bde of Alexander McD. McCook's Division of Buell's Army of the Ohio on the second day at Shiloh. It moved to Corinth, then through northern Alabama and Tennessee and followed Braxton Bragg through Kentucky. At Murfreesboro where it is said he was wounded, he commanded a Brigade in Negley's Division under George Thomas, who directed the Union center. If he was wounded, it must have been very slight, since he makes no mention of it in his report of the battle, dated January 6, 1863. His command, however, lost 745 men out of 2,181 engaged, as well as 74 horses and 6 pieces of artillery.
In the course of the Tullahoma Campaign, by which William Starke Rosecrans maneuvered Bragg out of Tennessee, he commanded a Brigade of the XX Corps, again under McCook, and was wounded in a skirmish at Liberty Gap on June 27, 1863. This wound is at least partially vouched for by the fact that he is not shown in command of his Brigade of R. W. Johnson's Division three days after the fight and makes no further appearance in the Official Records for 11 months.
Apparently he was not on duty again until May 1864 when he was again assigned to command of the city and post of Nashville. In the meantime, he had been appointed a Brigadier General on April 10, 1864, to rank from January 5.
At the battle of Nashville in December, he had under his command all or portions of 12 regiments of Infantry, five of which were brigaded, as well as 14 batteries. He was brevetted Major General for services there on March 13, 1865. The war over, he resigned September 25, 1865, declined a colonelcy in Regular Army and returned to California where, until 1869, he was collector of the port of San Francisco under appointment by President Johnson.
For the next 12 years he was president of the Alaska Commercial Co, which controlled the fur industry in newly acquired Pribilof Islands. In 1880 was elected by the California legislature to the US Senate, after having served in 1878-79 as a member of the state constitutional convention. In Washington, D.C. he was chiefly known as a leading exponent of anti-Chinese legislation. He died, while in office, March 8, 1886, with interment in Laurel Hill Cemetery, San Francisco, California and reinterement in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 2, Grave 949) May 5, 1913.
Buried with him are his wife, Mary Wickerham Chess Miller, who died in March 1880, and his daughter, Mary Eudora Miller Clover and his son-in-law, Richardson Clover, Rear Admiral, United States Navy.
Courtesy of the Congress of the United States
MILLER, John Franklin, (uncle of John Franklin Miller [1862-1936]), a Senator from California; born in South Bend, St. Joseph County, Ind., November 21, 1831; pursued an academic course; studied law and graduated from the New York State Law School in 1852; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in South Bend, Ind.; moved to California, where he practiced for a short time and then returned to South Bend; member, Indiana State Senate 1860-1861; entered the Union Army in 1861; brevetted major general in 1865, resigned, and returned to California; collector of the port of San Francisco 1865-1869, declining reappointment in 1869 to accept the presidency of the Alaska Commercial Company; delegate to the second State constitutional convention 1878-1879; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1881, until his death in Washington, D.C., March 8, 1886; chairman, Committee to Revise the Laws of the United States (Forty-seventh Congress), Committee on Foreign Relations (Forty-ninth Congress); interment in Laurel Hill Cemetery, San Francisco, Calif.; reinterment in Arlington National Cemetery, Fort Myer, Va., May 5, 1913.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard