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I am very happy to learn that my letters have added to your happiness

Joseph Culver Letter, July 28, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs., Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols.
In the Field Near Atlanta, Georgia
July 28th 1864
My Dear Wife

Your letter of July 18th was recd. since I last wrote. I am very happy to learn that you enjoy such good health and also that my letters have added to your happiness. May our Father in Heaven, who has been so bountiful in blessings to us, continue to preserve us in life and health and give us Grace to discharge our duty in such a manner as may find favor in his sight.

Night before last we were moved into reserve, and we are now on the 2nd line resting. My health is still excellent, &, though I was quite ill for a few hours yesterday, I have every reason to be thankful for God’s Goodness. The notice you saw in the papers about receiving pay on descriptive rolls must be a mistake as we have recd. no such notice. All sick and wounded are paid on descriptive rolls at the Hospitals in Nashville and places North of that, but that is all.

I am glad to learn that Lieut. Smith’s health is improving so rapidly; I cannot imagine why he has never written to any of us. I saw Asa Alden yesterday; he is quite well and has escaped unharmed. He is an excellent soldier.

The account I wrote you in my last letter concerning the 20 Ills. is confirmed; only 16 of the men have escaped. The Lt. Col’s. Adjt. & 1st Capt., Capt. Charles Paige is reported killed. Lieut. Donaldson of the 52nd Ohio was killed a few days ago and his company captured. I will try and get you a copy of Genl. Thomas’ Order which gives the result of the fight for Atlanta. I saw Bro. John two days ago; he was well and says that Bro. Sammy is getting along as well as could be expected.

It was quite wet yesterday afternoon, and the weather is sultry and warm today and looks very much like rain. As we are expecting to draw clothing and I shall be busy, so I hastened to write to you this morning. The health of the Company is good. Green was quite sick for a day or two but is quite well again. The Campaign is still progressing favorably, and we trust in God that it may soon be successfully terminated. Let us continue to pray in Faith.

God is dealing very kindly with me, and my heart rejoices this morning in his presence. Who can tell the wonderful precious Love of Jesus? Though I have been most unworthy, yet am I not forsaken. May the richest of Heaven’s blessings rest upon you. I have prayed that God would increase your Faith and fill you with His Love. Trust all to Him for He will never leave nor forsake you. You speak in your letter of the happiness you anticipate when, the war being successfully terminated, we may again enjoy the pleasures and privileges of Home. Let us hope that God in his good Providence may grant us that great blessing, but above all let us pray for Grace to be resigned to His will knowing that “He doeth all things well.”

Allen Fellows just came to my tent and has just returned. He looks badly, and his health is not good. I wish he had remained in Chattanooga, for, should the Campaign be lengthened beyond Atlanta, his health is not sufficient for the task. He had a letter from home of date the 18th, the same date of my last. We expect a mail to-day.

There has been but little fighting on our front for the last few days. We may have a severe battle before we get possession of Atlanta, and we may get it without much effort. None but God knows, & we are willing to leave all to him. There appears to be no reason to doubt but that our Army will occupy it very soon, perhaps within a week.

Give my love to Mother & Maggie and remember me kindly to all our friends. May Our Father in Heaven be with you & hasten the day of reunion amid the Peace and prosperity of a happy people and a Country reunited and prosperous. Accept the constant love and affection of

Your Husband
J. F. Culver

P.S. I have tried to get the circular issued by Genl. Thomas, but fear I may not succeed until too late for the mail. The substance is as follows:

Our loss on the 20th was about 1,760 in killed, wounded, and missing, on the 21st, 22nd, & 23rd, about 2,150. Of the Enemy on the 20th, about 6,000; of the enemy on the 21st, 22nd, & 23rd, there was buried about 3,500 beside a large number the Enemy was permitted to bury. The Enemy’s loss is estimated at from 15 to 20,000.

Should I get opportunity, I will still copy the circular and forward it.

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Yours of the 4th and 17th just came to hand

Joseph Culver Letter, July 26, 1864, Page 5

[July 26, 1864]

Dear Mary

Yours of the 4th & 17th just came to hand. Jim Rawlins has just left here, and he says Sammy was sent to the Hospital to-day. I am happy to know that you are so well.

In haste,

J. F. Culver


[The above note probably was transmitted with J.F.C.'s "Names of Killed and Wounded in the 129th Ills. before Atlanta, July 20, 1864," a list of casualties arranged by company with a statistical summary.]


Killed: 12


Officers 3

E. Men 49

Total 52


[At the end of the list, J.F.C. penned this instruction:]

You can lend this to M. E. Collins if he wishes to publish it [in the Pontiac "Sentinel"], but I would like this Copy preserved.

J. F. Culver

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All thanks to a kind Father, we are all safe

Joseph Culver Letter, July 24, 1864, Page 1

July 24th [1864]
Sunday morning.

All thanks to a kind Father, we are all safe & well. God has been with us. I saw Bro. John [Murphy] this morning, he is very well; Bro. Sammy was back with the wagons in the rear and is not very well.

The Enemy kept Shelling us until 8 o clock last night. They threw one shell into the fortifications on the left centre of my Company. It burst before it got through the Embankment & threw a vast amount of ground into the trenches cover’ng Billy Hughes & Ed Geller and several others.1 I expected to find some of them seriously hurt but no one was injured. We worked until a late hour last night, & I think we are shell proof unless some of the pieces come straight down. They have thrown quite a number of shells over us this morning, & a piece came down within a few feet of Major Hoskins a moment ago. We have recd. no injury thus far.2

I was told while up with Bro. John a little while ago that the carnage along the line of McPherson’s Army was terrible. They buried 1,700 of the enemy killed; if that be true, their loss must be 8 to 10,000.3 There will doubtless be a severe battle within a few days that will decide the fate of Atlanta. There was a large fire in the direction of the city last night, & it is supposed that some of our shells set fire to the city. We have several Batteries that can shell the city, but very few were opened.

It was almost cool enough last night for frost & is very pleasant this morning. How pleasant it would be to get away from all this tumult and enter the Sanctuary of the Lord this morning. I can imagine what a comfort it would be. Yet God is with us, kindly caring for and comforting us. Let our hearts praise him for all His mercies. We hope for a day of rest and quiet to-day. We have generally been moving or fighting and have seldom had the Sabbath as a day of worship. Our chaplain [Thomas Cotton] has not been visible since the day before the battle [of Peachtree Creek] of the 20th. He is somewhere in the rear, I presume, perhaps at the Hospital.

We have been favored with very pleasant weather except that some days were very warm. I presume you are not able to attend S. School and church this morning, may our Father comfort and bless you and give you Grace and Faith.4 It is sweet to commune with Him, to comtemplate his Power and Glory with his Love for fallen creatures. With all our Sin and unworthiness, He neither leaves nor forsakes us but his mercies are extended every day and his invitations and promises are not withheld from us. Let us then trust in the Lord forever for in Him is everlasting strength.

I may make an effort to write to the Sunday School to-day if we remain quiet. I must write a letter to Sister Hannah this morning. We expect a mail to-day and an opportunity to send letters out. Bro. John will be here after a little while & may write a line.

Give my love to Mother [Murphy] and Maggie. Tell them to pray for us & especially for me that Grace may be given me to discharge my whole duty and find favor in the sight of God. Remember me kindly to all our friends. I know you will pray for me. Let our hearts constantly praise the Lord for all his goodness to us. Write often, &, when your health will not permit your writing, get Mother [Murphy] to write every day if it be only one line to tell me how you are getting along.

May our Father deal kindly with you in your coming trial and grant unto you the full realization of all your hopes and desires.

Good bye,
Your affectionate Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. William E. Hughes, a 30-year-old miner, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Serving with the regiment throughout the war, Hughes was mustered out on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. Edward Geller, a 31-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Volunteers. He was promoted corporal on April 7, 1865, and mustered out on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. Allen was either Bartlett B. or Joseph, soldiers in Company A, 129th Illinois.
  2. Historian Grunert recorded that the bombardment killed two blacks in the sector held by the regiment. Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 88.
  3. Jacob D. Cox placed the Confederate dead in the battle of Atlanta on July 22 at 2,500. Cox, Atlanta, pp. 175-176.
  4. Mary Culver was eight months pregnant and would soon give birth to a second child.
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I have had no opportunity to answer fully your letters and shall not be able to do so to-day

Joseph Culver Letter, July 23, 1864, Page 1

Head Quarters Co. “A” 129th Regt Ills Vols
In The field in front of Atlanta Ga
July 23rd 1864
My dear wife

I have had no oportunity to answer fully your letters of the 9″ 10″ & 12″ & shall not be able to do so to-day I presume. You must have gathered a large quantity of Sanitary Stores judging from the quantities mentioned in your several letters I hope I may have an opportunity to assist in consuming them. Your health has been much better than I anticipated & I am very happy God has dealt very kindly with us: I am very much obliged for the papaers you sent I have recd some 5 or 6 within a very few days. I have understood all along that Henry Greenebaum was strong for the union & am surprised to learn that he has any sentiments in common with the Copperheads. The Sentinel notices a tornado which passed through town lately, but I see it did not do much damage; I spoke to Chris Tetter about not writing but he gave no satisfactory answer I presume it is negligence more than anything else I have no doubt the ride with Maggie to Mr. Russels was very pleasant & wish you could enjoy very many like it. I wrote a short letter and enclosed my Commission. I hope it has reached you: Genl. Ward was not arrested but is Commanding the Division Genl.

Butterfield went East about the 25th of June. You wish to know who of the boys are regular attendants at prayer meeting. Almost all of the company attend Poor Tom Moran is dead. John McDermit is often near where our prayer-meetings are held but never takes part: Because all the questions you have asked have not been answered you must not conclude that you do not receive all of mine: I have but seldom attempted to answer a letter fully during the campaign as my opportunites and time has been very limited: I can see no occasion for any reserve on your part in writing about yourself. I do not think what you have written at all silly & am very happy to hear thus from you: May Our Father in Heaven deal kindly with you I should like very much to have read those letters you thought unfit to send me & tore up: I am still hoping that this Campaign may End & my life and health be spared to get

home by the middle of August though it is scarcely probable just now: The Rebs have had a fine time shelling us this morning & I hope they enjoyed it, as they done us no injury. The fighting along McPhersons line was very severe yesterday. The Enemy made three assaults at the first they succeeded in driving a portion of his line but they soon regained their position. The two other assaults were successfully repulsed. The Enemys loss must have been heavy During the Afternoon a body of Rebel Cavalray turned his left flank and attacked a wagon train in the rear. Genl. McPherson & his staff rode back to see what was the matter and he was killed also several of his staff The Enemy captured a Battery & destroyed a large train Last night just after dark the Enemy got up a great noise & fired heavily on our pickets, but the pickets held their position, & the night passed off quietly. We are strongly entrenched here & the Enemy are welcome to charge if they wish. We can certainly hold ten lines at bay as Easily as we did five in the open field on the 20th. Dinner is ready, two hard tack, coffee & a piece of meat: My dinner was very unceremoniously interrupted by a charge of the Enemy upon our Skirmish line. They drove our line back about 20 rods but the rallying soon regained their line. Thy cut our dinner very short and are now treating us to another sereande of Shell. We have a great deal of Artillery on our line & when they open they generally make the Johnies hush up. It is very pleasant in the trenches to-day. The boys found a large quantities of blackberries in their advance yesterday: I will try and copy you a list of the casualities of the 20th. I had an oportunity to get former lists.

I just now succeeded in getting a bottle filled with ink. I had been begging for a month past as mine was all spilled. This is blue but is better than none. I hear just now that our boys are 200 yds in rear of their line & cannot retake it. The hill on which our pickets were posted gives a fine view of both the enemy line and ours & was very valuable. The enemy can thus cover an advance for over half a mile. We may regain it again and will probably try: All the boys are well. I rec’d notice to-day that my Subscription to the Sentinel has expired. I would like to have the paper continued but cannot send the money now I hear that we have no mail going out to-day & I may write none but for the present. I must close. Let us praise God for all his blessings and trust him for the future. “He doeth all things well” Everything progresses finely thus far in this department May God still be with us and give us victory: Give my love to Mother and Maggie and remember me kindly to all our friends. May the riches of Heavens blessings rest upon you. Pray for Grace and Faith I feel that God has been with me constantly and can safely trust all to His care. May He in his good Providence preserve our lives for the enjoyment of the future in commingling our voices in songs of praise

Good bye
Your affect Husband
J F Culver

P.S. our boys charged the enemy and now hold their old line Capt. Horton of Co. “H” commands the skirmishers of our Brigade He is very brave and will do all that man can do. Christ & Nate are well. Send me a few stamps J.F.C.

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We crossed the river Sunday evening and are now in front of Atlanta

Joseph Culver Letter, July 19, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qrs. Co. “A” 129th Reg. Ills. Vols.
In the Field Near Atlanta, Ga., July 19th 1864
My Dear Wife

We crossed the river Sunday evening & are now in front of Atlanta.1 I recd. two letters yesterday, dated the 6th & 7th, and was very happy to learn of your good health. May our Father fill our hearts with gratitude for all his mercies and blessings.

I saw Jim Rawlins yesterday evening just as we were forming our lines.2 He says Bros. John & Sammy are both well; they lie about 1-1/2 miles to our left. I may get to see them to-day, but it is probable that our lines will be advanced to-day which may keep us all very busy.3

The greater part of our army has crossed the river and Rumor says our left rests on the railroad running from Atlanta to Richmond.4 If it is true, we may gain Stone Mountain without any very hard fighting, and thus compel the evacuation of Atlanta.

The weather yesterday afternoon & this morning has been quite pleasant, a cool breeze is stirring. We are all well with the exception of a few cases of diarrhea. I recd. a letter from Tom Smith yesterday,5 & he is improving rapidly. I am happy to hear that Lt. Smith is improving. Mrs. Fellows sent Allen two lbs. of tobacco by mail at a cost of only 8 cts. per lb. It is very difficult to get here. If convenient, send me 2 or 3 lbs. of plug tobacco (natural leaf). Fine cut would all dry up before it reached here.

Jesse Massey is at home but will have started for the Company before this reaches you.6 Tell Lt. Smith we have used all his letter paper & envelopes and to bring a large supply with him. If convenient send me by him a tin plate or two, a tin cup, and knife & fork, also a couple of towels.

May God keep you in health and make you happy. Trust all to him; He has kept us thus far & will still be with us. His Grace is all sufficient for us. I will pray for you as I always have done. In all my prayers you have been remembered, and will always be. Let us hope and pray for a speedy reunion. Give my love to all the family. I accept the kisses. Committing all our interests to God, and trusting in our acceptance of Him through Christ, I remain, as ever, in Love,

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Hooker’s corps had crossed the Chattahoochie at Pace’s Ferry on the evening of the 17th and halted for the night within one mile of Nancy Creek. This stream was bridged the next morning, and the corps advanced and took position on the right of General Howard’s IV Corps. Ward’s division was on the left. Before going into camp, the troops entrenched. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, p. 327.
  2. James Rollins of Pontiac had been mustered into service on July 9, 1862, as a private in Company M, 1st Illinois Light Artillery. Report of the Adjutant General of Illinois, Vol. VIII, p. 655.
  3. Company M had crossed the Chattahoochie on July 13 with General Howard’s IV Corps. On the 18th it had engaged and silenced a Rebel battery on Nancy Creek. Ibid., p. 666.
  4. Soldiers of McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee, on July 18, had reached the Georgia Railroad, seven miles east of Decatur and four miles from Stone Mountain. Garrard’s cavalry was burning trestles and twisting rails. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 169-170.
  5. Thomas R. Smith, a 23-year-old farmer, had been mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Smith was shot in the left arm at New Hope Church on May 27, 1864, and hospitalized at Quincy, Ill., until discharged on May 18, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  6. Jesse Massey, a 30-year-old miner, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Massey was wounded in the hand at Resaca on May 15, 1864, and while hospitalized deserted on June 28, 1864. He rejoined the company on Jan. 22, 1865, and was mustered out with the regiment on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. Ibid.
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I wrote a short note this forenoon, at which time we had orders to march at 3 o clock

Joseph Culver Letter, July 17, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols.
July 17 1864- 2 o clock P.M.
My Dear Wife

I wrote a short note this forenoon & sent by Alf Huetson to the mail,1 at which time we had orders to march at 3 o clock P.M. The orders have been countermanded just now, though we are held in readiness to move at a moment’s notice.2 I therefore am happy to have an opportunity to write to you as I promised in my letter yesterday, so until the orders come I am wholly yours.

I have felt a desire which is daily increasing to be with you during your anticipated trial in August.3 If there was any probability of the Campaign closing very soon, I should make an effort. I was almost persuaded a few days ago when it was rumored that we would spend a month here, but, now as we commence the advance upon Atlanta, I could not expect to succeed. We will hope, however, that if God spares my life and health through the balance of this Campaign, we may have the joy of greeting each other again. We live in hope and trust all to God.

While engaged in marching and fighting, I do not think of Home so constantly, but, for the last eleven days laying here, it has been constantly in my mind. I have felt considerable uneasiness during the past few days as no letters have arrived. The last one received was dated June 30th. To most men who seldom receive more than two or three letters a month, there would be no alarm, but you have written so punctually every few days that I have feared you were sick. You do not know, perhaps, how dependent I am upon the knowledge of your good health and happiness for my own happiness and contentment.

The greatest desire I have after the performance of the duty I owe to God and my country is to be worthy of your Love and Confidence, and to contribute all in my power to your happiness. Nothing but a full conviction of duty could have induced me to leave you thus alone for so long a time. I know you feel lonely and desolate at times and especially under your present trying circumstances, but I feel that “Our Father in Heaven” will sustain you and deal kindly with you. Did I not feel so confident that Mother [Murphy] will do all she can for you, and knowing her thorough knowledge and ability to do more for you than I could, I should feel very uneasy. But it is almost an impossibility, and I do not even anticipate my ability to be with you so soon, even should everything here move rapidly and victoriously forward.

The 14th Corps is crossing the river to-day, & I think all the army is over except the Cavalry and our corps.4 Quite a large body of troops have been left at Marietta & vicinity to guard our communications, while troops are almost daily arriving from the rear.5 Lieut. Scott arrived on Friday last;6 he was wounded at Resaca & has been home. Quite a number of those slightly wounded are returning.

The weather to-day has been very pleasant. It rained last night, and the air to-day is quite cool. This climate is not as severe as I expected, though it is very warm some days. We feel very much refreshed by our rest here; this makes the 11th day we have been in camp. Our supplies have been abundant. Rations of beans have been issued every few days, also dessicated potatoes & rice. The men have been troubled with diarrhea caused by eating berries and green fruit, I presume, but they will soon get over it when we get to marching again.

All are in good spirits. Our Sunday School this morning was very profitable, there were about 30 present. Lt. Scott preached a very good sermon. We have been holding meetings every evening for some time past, and a very excellent state of feeling exists. I did hope to have an opportunity to-day to write to the Sabbath School, but unless we receive orders to remain here for the night I could not undertake it.

There has been very heavy cannonading over the river all day.7 Rumor says the Enemy made a desperate chase on Friday night-last [the 15th] but were repulsed with very heavy loss.8 Everything in this department has been entirely successful. God has been with us and signally blessed every effort we have made.

I have not heard from Bro. John or Sammy yet, but may meet them over the river. The mail will be in by 5 o clock, & I hope will bring a letter for me. Remember me kindly to all the S. School children and all our friends. Give my Love to Mother and Maggie. Why is it they never write? Do you ever hear from Carlisle? I presume the raid into Cumberland Valley will cause considerable excitement there.9 I have written several letters but get no reply.

Write as often as you can. May our Father in Heaven bless you. Please accept all the love and affection of my heart and be assured that you are dearer to me than all of Earth beside.

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. The “short note” is missing from the Culver Collection.
  2. General Thomas, on the morning of the 17th, ordered General Hooker’s XX Corps to cross the Chattahoochie at Pace’s Ferry. As the XIV Corps was crossing, Hooker was to regulate his movements accordingly. This was the reason for the delay. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, p. 161.
  3. Mary Culver was eight months pregnant.
  4. General McPherson’s and Schofield’s armies were south of the Chattahoochie and feeling their way toward Decatur General Howard’s IV Corps of Thomas’ army, having crossed the Chattahoochie at Power’s Ferry, covered the crossing of the XIV Corps at Pace’s Ferry. J. F. C. was mistaken on one point; Brig. Gen. Kenner Garrard’s cavalry division was across the Chattahoochie, screening McPherson’s left flank, and preparing for a dash on the Georgia Railroad, east of Decatur. Ibid., p. 158.
  5. A brigade of infantry was posted at Kennesaw Mountain and Big Shanty to protect the railroad near Marietta. Three regiments, one from each army, were posted at Marietta to unload cars. Brig. Gen. John E. Smith’s division of McPherson’s army guarded the railroad from Allatoona to Cartersville. Ibid., pp. 112-113.
  6. Abel H. Scott, a 37-year-old minister, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a sergeant in Company F, 129th Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to sergeant major on March 7, 1863, and three months later, he was commissioned 2d lieutenant. Lieutenant Scott was wounded in the left hip at Resaca on May 15, 1864, and was hospitalized until mid-July when he rejoined his company. On Dec. 29, 1864, Scott was mustered in as regimental chaplain to replace Brother Cotton. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  7. McPherson’s and Schofield’s columns, as they forged ahead, skirmished with Confederate cavalry. A Rebel battery, supported by infantry and emplaced in a redoubt north of the railroad, engaged in a duel with cannoneers of the 11th Indiana Battery. During the afternoon, the Southerners limbered up their pieces and retired across Peachtree Creek. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 158, 160.
  8. There was no substance to this rumor. On July 16 the regimental historian reported, “Not a single shot was fired by the pickets of our brigade at the Rebels, or by those at us, but the Rebels were prohibited from speaking a single word to our men and would not allow them to go into the water. Our men were generally out of tobacco and continually asked the Rebels for some, who did not answer, but now and then tied a piece of tobacco on a stone, and threw it over the river.” Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois,. P- 83.
  9. A powerful column led by Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early had advanced up the Shenandoah Valley, crossed the Potomac, and on July 9 occupied Frederick, Md., defeating a small Union army in the battle of Monocacy. Early’s army then threatened Washington. But on finding that the force holding the capital city had been heavily reinforced, Early, after demonstrating against Fort Stevens, retired and recrossed the Potomac into Virginia.
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The mail came in twice yesterday but brought no letter from you

Joseph Culver Letter, July 16, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols.
In the Field Near Chattahoochie River
July 16th 1864
My Dear Wife

The mail came in twice yesterday but brought no letter from you. I heard from you, however, up to July 5th through Mrs. McDowell; she writes to Harry that you are well. I am indeed happy to hear it.

My health continues to be good. Col. Case recd. a letter from Lieut. Smith yesterday, in which he says he expects to be able to return to the Company in a few days. Major Hoskins recd. a letter from his wife yesterday of date the 5th in which she says you are well.

We still remain in Camp, while the rest of the army is working its way rapidly toward Atlanta.1 We have heard no news lately, except that some 2,000 prisoners have been forwarded to the North.2 The health of the Regiment is good, and all the boys are full of life. We have not been able yet to determine what disposition will be made of us. Some conjecture that we will be left to guard the rear, while McPherson’s army moves to the front to do the fighting for awhile.3

The pay-master is expected in a few days. Chris [Yetter] went out for blackberries this afternoon; we have had them quite plenty for a few days past. Nate [Hill] is well and enjoying himself. We had a very excellent meeting last night and anticipate a good day to-morrow. Quite a number of our Regt. are seeking the Savior. I will try and write a short letter to the Sabbath School to-morrow if I am not sent on duty. Give my love to all the family and remember me kindly to all our friends. May our Heavenly Father bless you.

Good bye,
Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Howard’s IV Corps had been rushed to Schofield’s support at Phillips’ Ferry; Dodge’s XVI Corps, reinforced by Newton’s IV Corps division, bridged the Chattahoochie at Roswell; and Thomas’ Pioneers on the night of the 12th laid a pontoon bridge at Powers’ Ferry. Sherman’s plans called for Schofield’s Army of the Ohio to advance from its bridgehead at Phillips’ Ferry by way of Cross Keys toward Decatur. McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee, having been moved from the right, would cross the Chattahoochie at Roswell, and, covered by a cavalry division, take position on the extreme left and strike the Georgia Railroad between Decatur and Stone Mountain. Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland was to cross the Chattahoochie at Pace’s and Phillips’ Ferries and approach Atlanta from the north. Cox, Atlanta, pp. 142-147.
  2. During July, Sherman’s “army group” captured 3,200 Confederates and paroled 732 deserters. Of this number, the Army of the Cumberland had captured 2,722 Rebels and counted 576 deserters. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. I, p. 159.
  3. General McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee in the second week of July was withdrawn from its position on the right of Hooker’s corps and marched northeast to Roswell, where Dodge’s XVI Corps had established a bridgehead. By the morning of the 17th, the last of McPherson’s soldiers had crossed the 700-foot pontoon bridge and were south of the Chattahoochie. In the advance on Atlanta, McPherson’s army would be on the left, Schofield’s in the center, and Thomas’ on the right. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. III, p. 38.
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Contrary to expectation, we are still laying in Camp

Joseph Culver Letter, July 11, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vol. Infty.
In the Field Near Chattahoochie River
July 11th 1864
My Dear Wife

Contrary to expectation, we are still laying in Camp resting. Alf [Heutson] was here a short time ago, & he thinks there is a prospect of our remaining here several days.

The mail has generally gone out at 4 o clock, but I have just learned that it goes out to-day at 2, so I have only a few minutes to write in. I just finished a letter to the Hill Sunday School, but I was interrupted so often that I fear it will not be interesting.

We are all well to-day and the weather very warm. There is light Skirmishing along the river bank, but it is three miles distant and we seldom hear it.1 We had prayer-meeting last evening and a very profitable time. Alf drew a sketch of the burning of a cotton factory by our Cavalry and left it at my tent when I was on picket, but someone stole it before I got to see it.2 He intended it for you. I sent you a map of our position two days ago.3

The mail has just arrived, and I hope has brought a letter for me, but I must send this out or it will be too late. Give my love to all. May our Father in Heaven bless and preserve you.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Historian Grunert reported that in the skirmishing on July 11, Private William F. Dermund of Company E was killed. Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 82.
  2. Union cavalry had occupied Roswell on July 7, where there were “extensive cotton, wool and paper mills, running at their full capacity and till this last moment turning out supplies for the Confederate government.” The owners in a futile effort to protect their property claimed their ownership was French and raised the tricolor. Sherman did not recognize this subterfuge, and they were burned. Cox, Atlanta, p. 137.
  3. This map is missing from the Culver Collection.
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My health continues to be very good for which I feel very thankful

Joseph Culver Letter, July 10, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills., Vols. Infty.
In the Field Near Chattahoochie River July 10th 1864
My Dear Wife

Yours of June 30th has just come to hand. I am most happy to learn that you enjoy such a good degree of health. May our Father in Heaven bless you with a continuance of the same. My health continues to be very good for which I feel very thankful. I am sorry to learn that Lt. Smith improves so slowly, as we certainly expected him to be with us soon.1 I hope, however, that he may soon recover. The health of the Company is very good.

Last night the enemy evacuated all their works on this side of the river, and our lines of Skirmishers were advanced to the river bank.2 The 23rd Corps are on the other side on the enemy’s right flank and probably to-morrow the whole army will advance. Rumor says the Rebs destroyed the R. R. Bridge which is very probable.3

I am sorry that Mathis is disposed to give you any trouble; I will write to Mr. Lyons and Mathis on the subject. Do not allow the matter to give you any unnecessary trouble. The well is not worth repairing and must remain until I get home, if it be God’s will to spare my life.4 If Mathis desires to leave the premises, he will probably give you notice, &, if you cannot readily rent it, it can remain empty. I cannot make any arrangements at present to regulate the matter. If you need money, try and borrow of Mrs. Fellows or Mr. Remick until pay-day.5

We packed up & moved out of camp this morning but were brought back again & now occupy the same ground we have occupied for the last three days.6 I have heard nothing from Bros. John or Sammy yet; they are about 3 miles to the left of us.7 I have enclosed a letter to Mrs. Moran and Wm. B. Lyons in this as I have no ink to back envelopes, though if I can succeed in getting any, I will mail them separately.

I have no desire to sell our property at present, though if Mathis offers you $1,250.00 cash, you can tell him he can have it for that if you desire to part with it. I am very glad you have told me of it, an early knowledge of such things may save me a great deal of trouble. I can very easily settle the matter. All matters relating to business should be known to me. I wish for your sake we could receive our pay, but that is improbable until after the Campaign closes.

I am much obliged for the extracts from the Chicago Tribune. It is always much later than any papers we get.

We had our S. School this morning, and it was a very profitable meeting to me, & I hope to all the rest of the Company present. Chris Yetter and Nate Hill are well. I will write a short note to the aid-society in behalf of Mrs. Moran. Unless they assist her, she will undoubtedly suffer. Her husband recd. no pay since Dec. 31st, 1863, & it will be 6 or 7 months before she gets back pay and bounty due him. Try & get the people interested in behalf of the needy soldiers’ wives. They are doing all they can for the country, & the thought that their loved ones at home may suffer is a great barrier to their enjoyment and a source of constant sorrow.

I should write to the Hill S. School to-day, but it is drawing near mail time, & I think of so much I would like to write as this may be the last opportunity for several days.

Give my love to Mother and Maggie and kiss the children for me. I have enjoyed much of the presence of God; let us praise his name and trust all to him.

The weather is very warm but the health of the troops good. Remember us in your prayers. We live in hopes that the time will soon come where we can mingle our voices with those we love in praise to God for a Country saved from intestine war and in peace and prosperity. Pray for our Country. Now is the day of trial, but, God being with us, all will be well. May the richest of Heaven’s blessings rest upon you.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

P.S. Tell Remick Hume Tuckerman has just come into my tent — that he is well & looks well. He belongs to the 20th Ills.8

  1. Lieutenant Smith was at home, recovering from the wound received at Resaca in mid-May.
  2. The Confederates, on the night of July 4, evacuated their lines behind Nickajack Creek and retired into previously prepared defenses covering the crossings of the Chattahoochie River. On the 5th, Ward crossed Nickajack Creek and advanced his division along Turner’s Ferry road. It was an exhausting march, and on the 6th the division took position “confronting the enemy’s fortifications on the Chattahoochie.” The camps were on a high ridge overlooking the river. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, pp. 327, 388.
  3. General Sherman, in a successful effort to flank the Confederates out of their Chattahoochie line, pulled General Schofield’s Army of the Ohio (the XXIII Corps) out of its position on the right of the Army of the Cumberland and marched it to Smyrna Camp Ground, near the Western & Atlantic Railroad. On the 8th Schofield’s divisions, with the army’s pontoon train, marched northeast and forced its way across the Chattahoochie at a lightly defended crossing at Phillip’s Ferry. Confederate efforts to destroy Schofield’s bridgehead failed, and on the night of the 9th, General Johnston withdrew to the south bank of the Chattahoochie. Next morning Rebel engineers removed their pontoon bridges, and Johnston’s rear guard retired, burning the railroad and highway bridges. Cox, Atlanta, pp. 134-140.
  4. Mathis was renting the Culver property. Apparently, the well had failed and Mathis was demanding its repair.
  5. Mrs. Fellows was either the wife or mother of the hospital steward J. Allen Fellows of the 129th Illinois Infantry.
  6. In a futile effort to cut off and capture Confederate stragglers, Ward advanced a line of skirmishers to the Chattahoochie. After establishing a picket line, the troops returned to their camps to rest and wait for the Pioneers to bridge the river. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, p. 327.
  7. Company M, 1st Illinois Light Artillery, on the 5th had unlimbered its six guns on high ground, near Pace’s Ferry, from where could be seen the spires of Atlanta, eight miles to the southeast. Next day a number of ranking officers, including Generals Sherman and Howard, visited the battery and watched as the gunners engaged Rebel cannon on the opposite side of the Chattahoochie. Report of the Adjutant General of Illinois, Vol. XIII, p. 668.
  8. Hume Tuckerman, a 21-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on June 13, 1861, at Joliet, Ill., as a private in Company D, 20th Illinois Infantry. Wounded at Shiloh in April 1862, he was detailed in June as regimental teamster. On Jan. 5, 1864, he reenlisted as a veteran volunteer at Big Black Bridge, Miss., and in June 1864 was detailed as brigade wagonmaster. Private Tuckerman was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., July 16, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
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I intended to write you a long letter yesterday but was so busy

Joseph Culver Letter, July 9, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Ills. Vol. Infty.
On Picket 6 o’clock A.M., July 9th 1864
My Dear Wife

I intended to write you a long letter yesterday but was so busy laying out a camp and fixing up that I deferred it until to-day, and last night I was detailed for Picket. I sent in at daylight this morning for the portfolio to write to you, but, before it arrived, we recd. orders to advance. Cris Yetter brought out my breakfast, & I hasten to write a line while we are waiting as it is probable the army may advance to-day, and I may have no other opportunity soon.

We recd. the news this morning that the right wing of our army has crossed the river (official) & it is probable the whole army will move rapidly forward. We were in hopes that a few days would be allowed for rest, but we will be content to submit cheerfully to the better judgment of others.

I am very happy to be able to tell you that my health is excellent for which let us praise God. All the Company are in good health. Harry McDowell has come up to the Regt., his health is much improved.

We are now ordered to move. God bless you. Good bye.

Your affect. Husband
J. F.Culver

8 A.M. I closed my letter hastily & gave it to Chris Yetter to mail, but he waited until we advanced our lines thus giving me an opportunity to resume. It is very warm this morning and indicates a hot day; all will be gratified if it does not become necessary to march to-day.

Yesterday evening’s mail brought me no letters, yet I have recd. so many of late that I should be satisfied. Nate Hill has had a very sore foot, but it is improving rapidly. We rather expected to get pay before crossing the river, but it is probable now that we will have to wait till the close of the Campaign.

We had a very pleasant and profitable prayer meeting at Hd. Qurs. Co. “A” night before last, & I hope we may lay quiet to-morrow that we may enjoy the privileges of one more Holy Sabbath. We have been marching or fighting on every Sabbath of late, but I presume the necessities of the case demanded it. God has still dealt very kindly with us. Let us be thankful.

I have not heard yet from Bros. John or Sammy. Alf Huetson promised to go around and see them yesterday, but I have had no opportunity of seeing him since. I may learn of them after I am relieved this evening or to-morrow. I have had no opportunity to see Sergt. Gaff lately. John Lee was up to see me yesterday; he is well. I also saw Robinson (son of Warren Robinson) of the 20th Ills. yesterday; he says that all the boys that are left are well. All the non-veterans have gone home.

I must close as Yetter is anxious to return. If we do not move to-morrow, I will write. Give my love to all. Trust all to God. May his blessings rest upon you.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

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