William Henry Garret Miller, my paternal great great grandfather, was 5 feet, 7 and 1/2 inches tall, a man with brown hair, blue eyes and dark complexion. Before he enlisted for service, he was a farmer. William served in two 9 month regiments, the first being the 22nd NJ Regiment, Co. B, and the other being the 39th NJ Regiment, Co. I. He was mustered into the 22nd NJ Regiment as a private, on 22 Sept. 1862, Camp Perrine, Trenton, NJ and mustered out 25 June 1863. He was mustered into the 39th NJ Regiment on 1 October 1864 at Camp Frelinghuysen, Newark, NJ as a Corporal, and mustered out 17 June 1865 near Alexandria, VA.
My great great grandfather first made application for a pension on 3 Oct. 1877. At this time, he listed his service in both NJ Regiments and gives Capt. Van Emburgh as the Captain of the 22nd NJ Regiment. At the time of application, he gave his occupation as carpenter, but said that he was a farmer when in the War. During the War, he lived in Hohokus Twp., Bergen Co., NJ, but now lived in Paterson, Passaic Co., NJ. This first pension was rejected because William H.G. died in January 1878 and did not have time to continue his claim.
William's widow, Elizabeth Wanamaker Miller, made application for a widow's pension under Act of June 27, 1890. It is through this pension application that glimpses are given into this couple's history.
Elizabeth had a difficult time obtaining this pension. When she married her husband, the marriage record gave her husband's name as Garret Miller. When her husband entered the Civil War, he enlisted under the name, William H. G. Miller. Elizabeth had to prove that William H. G. Miller and Garret Miller were one and the same person.
It took an affidavit from Elizabeth's brother, Henry R. Wanamaker, and friend, Hester Ann Tweeddale to clarify the situation and shed some light on this family's dynamics. From this affidavit evolves a story surrounding the naming of William Henry Garret Miller. It appears his father was away from home when he was christened. (Was his father possibly a mariner?) When his father returned, he was very displeased with the "William Henry" part - no reason given. His father, John Miller, said he was only to be called "Garret" from then on. However, when William entered the service, he decided to enlist as William H.G., since he always liked this name, so he said.(Could his father have died by this time?) Finally, Elizabeth was granted a pension. By now, it was 1893. Fortunately she lived until 1918, thus able to benefit from her pension. Apparently, "red tape" was no different then than it is now!
For more about the MILLER family, please check out the article, MILLER Ancestry Thus Far.