12 October 1943
I hope this letter finds you well as always. All week it's been
raining. Mud is everywhere; in our boots, our hair, and our food.
Yesterday I played a little cribbage with the boys—John, Rob and
Will. You'll be sad to hear that we have no cribbage board but we
managed to make one out of toothpicks and an old piece of wood.
Finally made it to *Censored by the United States Department of War*
today and boy am I sick. The boat they put us on wasn't much bigger
than a dingy and it rocked in the waves like the ocean itself was
trying to keep us from crossing. They're calling for dinner right now
so I'd better get going before they eat it all. Wishing you happy days
and hoping to see you soon. With love, Don.
2 November 1943
More of the same the last few weeks. Glad to hear little Teddy is
feeling better. The boys and I are finally getting used to the sounds
of the big bombers flying over at night. Sometimes there are so many
of them that they block out the stars completely. An old man pushed
his cart all the way from town loaded with freshly baked bread for
us. It was a real treat to have real bread instead of crackers. The
Nazis seem to be retreating across the mountains; at this rate the war
will be over by Christmas. Missing you always—Donald.
9 January 1944
Forgive me for it being so long since you last heard from me. It
seems difficult to find the time and, when I have that, to find
something to write about. The generals have been working us like oxen
to get over the mountains. Got my salary today: you should find
thirteen dollars enclosed. Please forgive me for this Barbara but the
damn krauts have had us laying on the cold ground for the last two
weeks. The *Censored by the United States Department of War*.
I sure hope things change soon The boys and I celebrated the new year
in our foxholes with canned ham, crackers and a some olives we
managed to find in an abandoned cellar. It's snowing a lot up here in
the mountains. When I get out I think I might bring you back here and
build a nice cabin for us. We could ski all day and never see another
person. I received the socks you sent me for Christmas. I swear they
were still warm from your hands. We are all missing some good food
from home right now: Fresh eggs and milk, ice cream,
hamburgers and a good Coca-Cola. I think I could live for the rest
of my life on those. Take good care of yourself and never worry.
4 February 1944
I hope this finds you and the family back in Michigan well. I got
your letter the other day with much joy. You have no idea how happy it
makes a soldier so far away to get a letter from home. You can
practically see the weight being lifted from his shoulders. They've
given us some R and R lately so we all went swimming in the ocean
today. Even in the middle of February the water isn't much colder than
back home. More rain today, so much you have to wonder if there's any
dry land left in this entire country. Everyone's saying
something big is coming up but none of the officers are letting
anything slip. I guess we'll know when we get our next orders in a few
days. Got paid again, courtesy of Uncle Sam. I've sent you all eleven
dollars. Hope it helps out with Teddy. With love, Don.
29 May 1944
Dear Mrs. Barbara Miller,
It is with deepest regret that I inform you of
the death of your husband, Private First Class Donald H. Miller on Saturday, 9 February 1944.
Donald was killed by a German mortar shell while attempting to bring a
wounded squad mate to safety near Cassino. He died
Private Miller's integrity, high ideals and unfailing good humor made
him one of the most respected and well-liked members of our unit. I
had the great honor of serving with him and his passing has left a gap
in us that cannot be filled. You should be proud of your husband's
unswerving devotion to his country and we mourn with you.
Regretfully—Lieutenant George McConnel.