CORINTH INFORMATION DATABASE Version 1.3 © 1995 Milton Sandy, Jr.

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                   M. A. MILLER'S SKETCHBOOK OF 1860
                    CORINTH: THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
                       OF A MISSISSIPPI BOOMTOWN

CHAPTER III -    Matthew Amos Miller: A Biography.

      Matthew  Amos Miller was born on December 16, 1830,  in
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, at his father's farm which would  later be
the  site  of the famous Civil War battle.   His  father  was General
Thomas Craig Miller, a veteran of the War of 1812.   M.A. Miller lived
at Gettysburg until he was nine years old when  his father moved the
family to Cumberland Furnace, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.[1]
Miller received his college education at Pennsylvania  College at
Gettysburg.  He attended college from  1847  to 1850  but did not
graduate.[2]  He studied Civil Engineering  while in  college
there.[3]  While in college, Miller produced  his  only other  known
drawings.  These drawings were possibly made  as  an exercise for one
of his drafting or art classes.[4]  These drawings are of the house
where his mother was born, drawn in 1848, and of the  house  where his
parents lived from 1838 to 1872,  drawn  in 1849.     These drawings
are very similar to the sketches he made of  Corinth  in 1860.  The
only differences between  the  earlier drawings  and Miller's sketches
of Corinth is the greater  detail and  larger  scale  of the earlier
drawings.   Miller's  drawing techniques did not change much from 1849
to 1860 so it is safe to assume that he did relatively little
artwork.(Appendix B, Illustrations 1 and 2) [5]

     In 1851 Miller began to work as a civil and mining  engineer in
the piedmont area of Virginia and western Maryland. He was engaged in
the surveys of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad  from
Charlottesville  to Lynchburg, Virginia.  After this he  was employed
for some time at the Mount Savage Iron Works in  Maryland. While
employed at the iron works he laid out the  railroad  from Frostburg,
Maryland to Lonaconing, Maryland.  He next  supervised the
construction of an iron furnace and opened mines at  Wellersburg,
Somerset County, Pennsylvania.  While employed here he  was married to
Matilda Ann Fechtig on December 6, 1855.  In 1857  he moved to St.
Paul, Minnesota but returned to the South after  two years  because
his wife could not stand the harsh  climate.   In 1859   he  moved to
Memphis, Tennessee, where he was  engaged  as assistant City
Engineer.[6]  Miller was listed in the 1860  Memphis city  directory
as a surveyor and draughtsman employed  by  M.C. Cayce & Sons, a local
engineering firm. [7]

       Matthew Amos Miller made a very detailed sketchbook of Corinth,
Mississippi  in  1860.  Exactly why he did  this  is  a mystery.   It
is not even known why he was in the city.   It  is probable he was on
an engineering job of some sort.  The  Memphis and Charleston Railroad
was completed on April 1st, 1857 so it is not likely he was working
for this railroad.  The Mobile and Ohio was  not completed until
January 1st, 1861 and it is possible  he was  working  for this
company although there are no  records  to support  this idea.
Perhaps a local lumber mill had engaged  his services  for  in his
sketchbook are two detailed drawings  of  a local  lumber mill.  Even
if he were in Corinth  for  engineering work  it is unlikely that this
sketchbook would have been of  any professional use to him.  Most of
the drawings are of the businesses and residences in and around the
town.  Miller comments on such things as the color and materials of
the buildings, who lived where, and so on.  These comments lend
credence to the idea that Miller was preparing his sketchbook in order
to produce a bird's eye view map of Corinth.

       A story has circulated among certain citizens of Corinth that
Miller was a Union Army spy.  This story is definitely false.  For one
thing, in 1860 no one knew if there would even be a war.  When the war
did come in 1861, Miller, who was living in Memphis, Tennessee, joined
the Confederate Army and used his skills as  an engineer  to  aid the
Southern cause.  He was even  arrested  and sentenced  to be shot for
smuggling weapons out of occupied  Memphis  to the Confederate cavalry
in Arkansas.  He saved his  life by escaping and rejoining the
Confederate forces farther  South. [8]  Aside  from the fact of
Miller's obvious Southern loyalties,  his sketchbook has nothing of
any military significance.  There is no indication  of  roads,
railroads, topography, or any  thing  that could be of possible use to
an invading army. Miller's intentions in making his sketchbook will be
examined in greater detail in the next chapter.


Chapter IV.  MILLER'S CORINTH SKETCHBOOK: AN INTERPRETATION


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