PETER MILLER, NAVAL CADET, USN
Peter Miller '82
Date of birth: February 5, 1860
Date of death: April 3, 1883
Peter Miller was admitted to the Naval Academy from Kansas on October 1, 1878 at age 18 years 7 months.
From Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, 1884:
Naval Cadet Peter Miller. Born, Stockholm, Sweden, February 5, 1860. Appointed a Cadet Engineer, October 1, 1878. Graduated from the Naval Academy, June 8, 1882. Ordered to the Tennessee, July 26, 1882. Died on board the Tennessee, April 3, 1883, at Key West, Florida, having been severely scalded the day previous by the bursting of a steam-pipe while on duty in the fireroom. Sea service, one year, four months; shore duty, three years, one month; total service, four years, six months.
From The Daily Commonwealth on April 17, 1883:
Death of Midshipman Miller.
Almost every citizen of Topeka who resided here eight or ten years ago knew Peter Miller, son of Dr. N. Miller, veterinary surgeon. Peter lived in this city from quite a lad, went to our public schools, where he was first in his classes. He was a very bright, active Swede boy, although born in this country. The writer of this well remembers when the young man came to him a few years ago, soliciting his influence with Hon. Thos. Ryan to an appointment at the naval school at Annapolis. He received the appointment, and there as here st30d at the head of ali his classes. A year or two ago, efter he had concluded his studies he visited his home in Topeka, and we were all proud of his manly bearing and the excellent record he had made.
This young man is dead. His father yesterday received a letter from a shipmate of Peter, dated on board U. S. S. Tennessee, off Port Royal, S.C., April 10th, stating that the ship started from the Mississippi river jetties on the 2d inst., and soon after one of the steam pipes burst, fatally scalding Peter. This was at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. He bore his sufferings cheerfully, being perfectly conscious until he died at 7 a. m., April 3d. The steamer stopped at Key West, Florida, where he was buried with military honors. His comrade writes a very feeling letter to Dr. Miller.
From researcher Kathy Franz: "Father was Neil, mother Emma, brothers Oliver and Magnus, sisters Katy and Mary -- all born in Sweden."
The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.
The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.
The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.
Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.
First Class Cadet Engineer, Naval Academy