Reopening and Reorganization 19
volunteered for service in the Confederate States Army, and then had
served through the war. He was severely wounded in the battle of the
Crater but returned to duty as soon as possible to find himself though
of the rank of Lieutenant in command of his company. He was
captured on the retreat from Richmond, and sent to the prison on
Johnson's Island. Returning to the home of his mother, his father
being dead, he had taken charge of the plantation and managed it with
much success during the years 1865 and 1866. Pleased with his work
and finding much joy in being with his mother, he was planning to
devote his life to it. From this resolution he was not shaken on receipt
of a letter in the middle of December, 1866, asking him to come to
Wake Forest College and teach mathematics. But on the advice of his
mother he conferred with his brother, John H. Mills, then at Oxford,
and, though he knew what a supreme sacrifice his mother was making
in sending him away, came to the College and began his work in
January, 1867.27
I think it worth while to give here the following extracts from an article by
Professor Mills, "Forty Years in the Wilderness," Bulletin of Wake Forest College,
New Series, II, 149-155, 171-179:
"We were sent to Johnson's Island in Lake Erie. I was discharged from that
prison June 19th and reached my mother's home in Halifax County, Va., on the
"I found that my mother and aunt were trying to cultivate a five-horse farm with
such of the old servants as chose to remain with them. I sat down to take stock, as
the merchants say. My life had been spared; for which I was grateful. I had been
reduced from comparative wealth to poverty. I had one old horse nineteen years old.
I had the suit of clothes I had worn on the day when I graduated, but I had filled out
so much in flesh that I could not wear it. My aunt wove some cloth and made me
some clothes and I scrapped about somehow' and got a hat and shoes, just how I do
not recall. My plan for studying Mathematics at the University of Virginia and at
Cambridge was out of the question. Four years of my fresh young manhood were
gone. My health was somewhat impaired. My right arm and shoulder were still
weak from a very serious wound received in 1864. Pretty soon I received an
invitation to my sweetheart's wedding. She married a Yankee! It seemed as if the
Yankees were going to get everything and we poor Confederates would get nothing.
"I took charge of the farm and did fairly well. I boiled about eight
gallons of sorghum, some of which I sold, some I bartered, and the rest I fed to
negroes. In 1866 I hired six negro men, and with the help of some day labor, which
I picked up as I needed it, I made a very good crop. In De-
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