12 October 1943

Dearest Barbara,

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

Beloved Barbara,

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.  Love, Don.

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 instantly.
        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.

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