About Colleen Theisen

Outreach and Instruction Librarian. Lover of coffee, as well as 19th century photography, painting, tourism and print.

I am getting impatient to hear from home

Joseph Culver Letter, February 17, 1865, Page 1Office Chief of Artillery, District of Tennessee,
Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 17th 1865.
Dear Sister Mollie:

I have just been making requisition on my memory for the recollection of writing you a letter a few days ago, but it refuses to render the account, therefore I conclude that I am mistaken – or rather as you once corrected me that I mistake in thinking that I have written you. I had fully intended to do it, about a week ago when I wrote to Leander, and am not now sure that I did not, but will proceed now as though I was sure that I had neglected my younger sister so long. I would on no account be so negligent in this matter did I not know that you have another “not a brother” who writes you often enough, almost, to keep you constantly reading. But do not think from this that I mean to relinquish a brother’s privalege to write to you as often, at least, as I feel like it and to expect letters from you. I am getting impatient to hear from home. Not a word from there, direct, since leaving it. I heard, indirectly, that Frank had left for the seat of war. I addressed a letter to him at Pontiac, but think it did not reach there till after he left. I have been very busy all week. We have been inspecting the Artillery at this post and it has been a very laborious work, but we finished it yesterday – inspected five Batteries – and now I have a leisure hour, and will devote the largest part of it to chatting with you. Some one wrote me – Gussie Kent I think – that Baby Howard was sick, had the whooping cough. I hope the little fellow is better. Write me a whole letter about your self and the baby – and I’ll not prohibit your saying a word about Frank. I had a letter from Bro. Tom dated at Cleveland, a few days ago. He was well. Did not give any news of consequence. The burden of his communication was about the girls. Mollie, I wish I was married – wish I had a good wife to bring down here. I am nicely situated for keeping house. We occupy for Head Qrs. a fine large mansion – the late residence of the rebel Col Bryan – and I could locate my family here in good style. Wouldn’t that be nice soldiering? Mollie you select me a wife and I’ll apply for a leave of absence of a week, to go and get married. I’ll beat Tom yet if he don’t be spry. But seriously, I think Sammy will beat both of us. Tom is too full of business to marry and I will never save money enough to purchase the necessary matrimonial papers. Sammy will turn out the only sensible boy in the family. He will come out of the service with five or six hundred dollars and be in circumstances to take unto himself a spouse and go into business. I have about made up my mind that it is better for me to be in the army than out of it. This is the only place in which I can support myself, and therefore I shall remain in the service of our Uncle until his rebellious children are subdued and then go to Mexico and join the Liberals. There I shall win fame enough to support me in my declining years. This is not an air castle that I am building, is it? I wish I had Sammy with me here. Write to him very often. He writes me that he gets letters from home only semi occationally. Love to all.

Goodbye Mollie
Very Affectionately
Your Brother
Wm J. Murphy

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I went to the Dock this morning to see what time the boat would leave

Joseph Culver Letter, February 15, 1865, Page 1

Home Insurance Company
Office No. 135 Broadway.
New York, Feby. 15th 1865
My Dear Wife

I went to the Dock this morning to see what time the boat would leave. We may possibly not get away to-day on account of the ice. I met Capt. Horton, Co. “F”, on the boat & went with him up to the Lovejoy Hotel to see Capt. Coolidge, Brigade Quarter Master, and Capt. Endsley, 70th Ind.1 I will have plenty of good company & feel much happier this morning than yesterday. I was a little blue yesterday when I thought of making the trip with strangers, perhaps sea-sick most of the way. God has been very kind and good to me, & I feel very happy in His love.

Capt. Horton & myself went down Wall Street to the Ferry this morning to see the sights. The gold market had not opened yet, so we will go again about noon. On our way back, we called in here at the Home Ins. Co.2 They greeted me very kindly and offer[ed] to do anything in their power to make my stay in New York pleasant. I am writing in a very neatly furnished little office for private uses. Am all alone. There is an arm chair just to my right, & I have been trying to imagine Howard and you in it, while I talk with you. “Oh, how I wish you were here.”

There will be a vessel in from Fortress Monroe [Va.] at 12 o’clock with the latest news. You will receive them by the Chicago papers to-morrow.

I am extremely fortunate in meeting Capt. Horton, as I will have barely sufficient funds to pay my living to Savannah. I have tried to be very economical but everything is so enormously high. I wished to send you some nice book from here, but you must “take the will for the deed” this time.

I see by the telegraph news this morning that it is snowing in Chicago, and probably in Pontiac also. The snow in Western New York is reported 4 feet deep. All the roads running West are blocked up, so that I cannot expect another letter before I leave.

Capt. Horton left the Regt. on the 10th January at Savannah & has been home on leave of Absence. He gave me quite a history of the Campaign through Georgia. The boys were all well. The news of the capture of Branchville and evacuation of Charleston are repeated this morning. It will either be confirmed or denied by the news on the noon Steamer.

The boat that we go down on (“Constitution”) is not a very fine one but looks strong and good. Horton says all were sea-sick coming up, so you can imagine what my condition will be two days hence. We will be Six days going to Savannah unless we have better luck than common. The sea is very rough. The weather this morning was very clear and pleasant, but it is quite cloudy now & looks as if we might have rain.

Horton went around to the Lovejoy Hotel to see what time the other Officers intended to go on the Boat. I expect him back every moment when we will return to the Sweeny Hotel for my baggage.

If I have opportunity, I will write on the boat on the way down. It will be all new to me as I was never on the water. I would like very much to hear from Howard and you this morning. I presume you are at Maggie’s, & I hope well and happy. If it be true that we have presentiments of good or evil of those we love, you are indeed happy. I had very sweet communion with Our Father last night before retiring and feel this morning as if I can freely trust in all things. May he bless you always with health and happiness. The clock is striking 12, so I must again say Good Bye. Kiss Howard for Papa and accept a sweet one for yourself. May Our Father bless you.

Your affectionate Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. George W. Horton, a 25-year-old carpenter, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as lieutenant in Company F, 129th Illinois Infantry. He was commissioned captain of his company on June 11, 1863. When the regiment left Nashville in February 1864, Captain Horton remained behind in the hospital but rejoined the company in time for the Atlanta Campaign. On January 11, 1865, he received a leave at Hardeeville and rejoined the regiment on April 4. Captain Horton was mustered out near Washington on June 8, 1865. Benjamin F. Coolidge was mustered into service on Aug. 23, 1862, at Camp Piqua, Ohio, as lieutenant and quartermaster of the 99th Ohio Infantry. In November 1862 he was assigned to General Ward’s staff as brigade quartermaster. Lieutenant Coolidge in January 1865 had been ordered to proceed to Nashville on official business. On rejoining the XX Corps at Goldsboro, he was given a temporary assignment as division quartermaster. Henry M. Endsley of Shelby County was mustered into service on Aug. 1, 1862, at Indianapolis, Indiana, as captain of Company F, 70th Indiana Infantry. Captain Endsley, having received a leave, left his unit on Oct. 20, 1864, and rejoined it in late March 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  2. Before entering service, J.F.C. had been the Livingston County agent for the Home Insurance Company of 135 Broadway, New York City, New York.

The mails must be much delayed by the deep snow

Joseph Culver Letter, February 14, 1865, Page 1

Sweeny Hotel, New York Febr. 14th 1865
My Dear Wife

I arrived here at 4 P.M. & recd. your letter of the 8th. The one sent to Carlisle I did not get. The mails must be much delayed by the deep snow. I am sorry to hear of your own and Howard’s ill health, but hope you have both recovered ere this.

I went to the Q. M. Dept. and secured transportation on the “Constitution” which is to leave at noon to-morrow if not prevented by the ice on the Bay.1 I shall probably go aboard at any rate, and this is probably the last letter I shall write before I reach Savannah, so that it will probably be two or three weeks before you hear from me again.

I hope Maggie Chappell has done well, yet I was not at all favorably impressed with the reputation I heard of him.2 I wish them much happiness.

There is but little snow here though the streets are quite slushy.

If I thought you would do much of your writing from the “preacher’s,” I should certainly “donate a new pew,” however, I was too glad to hear from you to find fault with the penmanship. You may direct your letters hereafter to the Regt., though I have no idea when I shall reach it.

I wrote to you from Carlisle yesterday morning concerning the disposition of the money coming from Father’s estate in April.3 If it does not reach you, let me know.

I feel uneasy about Howard’s arm; I did not expect him to get so sick.4 I learned in Carlisle by letters received from Bloomington, Ills., that the Small-pox had become epidemic there, so much so, that the schools are suspended. I hope it will not reach Pontiac.

Your letter does not mention the progress of the [revival] meetings, yet I hope they are still improving in interest.

Rumor says Sherman has possession of Branchville.5 I hope it is true, as it will compel the evacuation of Charleston.6 In that event, I may land there instead of Savannah. I anticipate a few days sea-sickness; I hope not severe. My health is good.

You do not mention in your letter the money I sent you from Chicago, either for yourself or for Goodwin & Smith. I presume, however, it reached you; there was $25.00 for you & $10.00 for the others. The first (yours) was enclosed in a letter with the S.S. books, the other I sent by mail.

I thought I should write to the S. School or church from this place but do not feel like it to-night. There are very many things I should like to talk with you about to-night if I were with you, as it seems such a long time before I can reasonably expect to hear from you again. Keep in Good heart, let us trust in God to control all things for our good. I know you will be very lonely, but make use of every means in your power to keep cheerful. Be assured that whatever contributes to your happiness will meet my approbation.

We can hope for the future trusting in God. I feel that He will bless and keep you both. Kiss Howard for me & Sister Maggie [Utley] & the children. I ought to have written to Bros. John and Sammy again but have neglected it. Remember me to them when you write. Jennie & Hannah complain that you do not write to them often enough.

Remember me kindly to all our friends, especially those who have recently espoused Christ. I shall remember them at a Throne of Grace. I have committed both Howard and you to the care of “Our Father in Heaven,” and I feel content though it is hard to be so far from you. May He abundantly bless you with health, happiness, and a sufficiency of Grace. With much love and a lasting remembrance of your pure and holy affection, I must say Good Bye.

Your affectionate Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Constitution was a 944-ton screw-propelled steamboat, built at Mystic, Connecticut, in 1863. She was wrecked off Cape Lookout, North Carolina, on December 12, 1865, with the loss of 40 lives. The Quartermaster Department had the responsibility of providing transportation for soldiers traveling on orders and en route to rejoin their units. Merchant Steam Vessels of the United States, 1807-1868, “The Lytle List” (Mystic, 1952), pp. 40, 264.
  2. Maggie Chappell was born in Indiana in 1836, and in 1860 she was living in Pontiac at the home of Joshua and Harriet Whitman. She had apparently married or was engaged to marry someone of whom J.F.C. disapproved. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA.
  3. The subject letter is missing from the Culver Collection.
  4. Before leaving Pontiac, J.F.C. had had Howard vaccinated for smallpox.
  5. Sherman’s line of march passed west of Branchville. On February 7 soldiers of General Howard’s wing reached the South Carolina Railroad at Midway, eleven miles west of Branchville. From there, they advanced on and captured Orangeburg.
  6. With Sherman’s columns astride the South Carolina Railroad, the defenders of Charleston found themselves in an increasingly precarious position. If Sherman turned his army toward the coast, they would be encircled by an overwhelming force and destroyed.
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I left home on the afternoon train

Joseph Culver Letter, February 13, 1865, Page 1

Harrisburg, Pa., Febr. 13th 1865.
My Dear Wife

I left home on the afternoon train and have to wait until 3 o’clock to-morrow morning for the N.Y. train. The Dr. says Mother has Erysipelas, but he thinks it will not be severe. Bro. Charlie & Sister Jennie both promised to write to you.

I called to see Mrs. Annie Van Horn Daires this evening & found the family well.1 Mr. Daires was not at home but is well. Annie played a few new pieces on the Piano for me. I left at 8 o’clock, & on my way back to the hotel came by a church where they were holding a revival meeting. I went in & remained until half past ten. They are having a good meeting, & I enjoyed it very much. There were fine ladies at the altar. It was a Winebrenenan Bethel, a denomination not much known in the West.2 I presume you would scarcely have enjoyed it as it was a very noisy meeting. But the Spirit of God was manifestly present.

I am in a study whether to go to bed to-night or not. It is nearly 11 o’clock & the train leaves at 3. I am not sleepy. I have been thinking much of Home. I wish I could spend the hours intervening with you. “When shall we meet again?”

I did not enjoy my visit [to Carlisle] as much as I anticipated. The only sleighride I had was from John Miller’s to Pagues’ & from there to Carlisle.3 The roads were so drifted that we could not drive off a walk. The sleigh bells are jingling merrily around the city to-night.

Sherman is still moving North.4 I cannot imagine where I will find the Regt. I look for a letter on my arrival in New York to-morrow morning. Kiss Howard for me. Give my love to all. May Our Father in Heaven bless you both. Do not fail in writing. With much love, I remain, as ever,

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Annie Van Horn Daires by 1867 was a widow and dressmaker and was living on Harrisburg’s Canal Street, near Walnut. The Harrisburg City Directory 1867-68, compiled by William J. Divine (Harrisburg, 1867), p. 53.
  2. The Winebrenenan Bethel Church met on Fourth Street at the corner of Strawberry Alley. Ibid., p. 193.
  3. The Miller farm was in Middlesex Township, on the Sterretts Gap Road, six miles north of Carlisle.
  4. General Sherman had advanced into South Carolina. Ward’s Third Division of General Slocum’s wing had crossed the Savannah River into South Carolina, at the beginning of the New Year, at Screven’s Ferry, and had marched to Hardeeville, while General Howard massed his wing in and around Pocotaligo. On January 29 the 129th Illinois marched from Bethel Church to Robertsville, where it rendezvoused with the remainder of the XX Corps. Four days later, on February 2, the Third Division broke camp and started north. Near Lawtonville, the 1st Brigade was engaged by Rebel cavalry. The Confederates were bested, and the Federals continued to advance, having lost ten men in the skirmish. The XX Corps, along with Sherman’s other columns, pressed steadily ahead, crossing the Big and Little Salkehatchie, and on the 7th reached the South Carolina Railroad. The next 72 hours were spent wreaking havoc on the railroad between Graham’s and Williston. Meanwhile, Howard’s wing had reached the railroad at Midway. On February 11 the XX Corps left the railroad and started north toward Columbia. Destruction of the bridge across the South Fork of the Edisto caused a short delay. Fording the river on the 12th, the XX Corps forged ahead, and nightfall on the 14th found the troops camped at Tucker’s, 18 miles southwest of Columbia. Howard’s wing meanwhile had reached Orangeburg, as it converged on Columbia from the south. Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, pp. 163-196; Cox, March to the Sea, pp. 168-70.
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I came to mothers yesterday at noon and stayed until morning

Joseph Culver Letter, February 10, 1864, Letter 2, Page 1

Carlisle, Penna. Febr. 10th 1864[5]
My Dear Wife

I came to Mother’s yesterday afternoon & stayed until evening. Charlie was down at the Pagues’, but she was expecting him home so I went back to Harry’s & with Jennie to church.1 There was a concert in town, and the church was quite full and the meeting quite interesting.

There were about 15 or 18 forward for prayers and the interest seems to be general.

I remained all night at Harry’s & came out to Mother’s this morning. Gustie & Charlie were up this afternoon. All are well.

I saw Mrs. Caldwell this morning, and she inquired very kindly about you.2 To-morrow morning I shall go to Millers3 on business & to Pagues in the afternoon & come back to Mother’s Sunday morn [the 14th].

Bro. Harry [Cheston] is to preach to-night. I wish you could be here to hear him. Mother & I will go in.

Hannah is with Jennie but will be home to-morrow. Bro. Charlie has left College. His guardian says he will have no more money until Spring, but it is only an excuse, I think, as he has been urging him to stop for several months. Charlie has an idea of going to a Commercial College in the spring & intends to go to Illinois with Mother & Hannah if I get back in the fall. I want you to tell me candidly, are you anxious or willing to have them live with us? I never thought much about it, as I did not think they would come, but they seem so confident now that I wish to know your desires. Do not hesitate to tell me.

[The] Pagues have [their] sale on the 6th March.4 If I could remain a few days longer, I would like to see the place he has purchased, but I must hasten to the Regt.

The sleigh bells are ringing in every direction, & the sleighing is excellent. I have been feasting on Mother’s large apples. I wish I could send you one. I shall look anxiously for a letter to-morrow. Remember me in love to all. Kiss Howard for Papa. Marvin can walk quite well & say a number of words. The snow is so deep that I will not go to Frankie’s grave though I would like very much to have seen it. Write often. I want to receive letters soon after I reach the Regt.

May God bless & make you happy. Good Bye.

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Eighteen-year-old Charlie Culver was J.F.C.’s youngest brother, while his sister, Rebecca, was married to S. Augustus Pague and lived on the family farm in Middlesex Township.
  2. For biographical data on Mrs. Caldwell, see J.F.C.’s letter of September 14, 1863.
  3. John Miller, a prosperous Middlesex Township farmer, was married to J.F.C.’s half sister, Lucetta. In 1860 the Millers were living with their six children, four boys and two girls. Eighth Census, Cumberland County, State of Pennsylvania, NA.
  4. To settle the estate of J.F.C.’s father, it was necessary to sell the family farm on which the Pagues were living.
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I arrived here about an hour ago and am at Harry’s

Joseph Culver Letter, February 9, 1865, Letter 2, Page 1

Carlisle, Penna.1
Febr. 9th 1864[5]
10 A.M.
My Dear Wife

I arrived here about an hour ago & am at Harry’s; found all well & Sister Hannah here. I will go out to Mother’s after dinner.2 All the friends so far as heard from are well, & all I have seen wonder why you are not with me.

The snow is very deep, about 18 or 20 inches, & the sleighing, of course, excellent. The meetings are still in progress in the lower charge with glorious results. I shall doubtless be busy while here.

I have seen but few acquaintances yet. I shall certainly expect to hear from you at New York if not here. I shall leave for N.Y. on Monday morning [the 15th] if not sooner.

Jennie says that Harry & her wrote to us over two weeks ago. I presume you recd. the letters before this. She is very anxious to hear from you. All send much love. I will write again soon. Kiss Howard for me. May the richest of Heaven’s blessings rest upon you. Enclosed is a photograph for Mrs. & Dr. Capron.3 Please deliver it.

Good Bye,
Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. J.F.C., his leave due to expire in four weeks, was en route to rejoin his unit. When last heard from, the 129th Illinois, along with other units General Sherman had led on the “march to the sea,” was encamped near Savannah, Ga. J.F.C. planned to proceed to New York City by railroad and there board a ship for Savannah and a rendezvous with his regiment. Harry Cheston was married to J.F.C.’s sister, Jennie C. Hannah M. Culver was J.F.C.’s youngest sister.
  2. Mrs. Martha Dunmire Culver, J.F.C.’s widowed mother, was currently living in the family home in Carlisle’s east ward.
  3. Dr. and Mrs. Elisha Capron of Pontiac were close friends of the family. While J.F.C. had been on leave, Dr. Capron had treated him for piles, which had plagued him since June 1864. Pension File, J.F.C, NA, Application No. 960, 772, Certificate No. 766492.
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Here I am in Mr Gillys room and feeling inclined to pen you a few lines I proceed

Joseph Culver Letter, January 25, 1865, Page 1Cleveland Ohio Jan 25th 1865
Mrs J F Culver
Pontiac Ills.
Dear Sister Mary

Here I am in Mr Gillys room and feeling inclined to pen you a few lines I proceed I wrote to father the day after I came here so that you have heard that I arrived all sound.

When I first came I put up at the Franklin house but when Mrs Beardsly found that I was in town she would not hear of my stoping any where else than at her house I am rooming with Gilly and boarding at the house. The rooms there are all taken. There are boarding with Mrs B. two newly married couples [Ruby?] Seymour now Mrs John White and her husband, they occupy the two front chambers. Mr and Mrs Chapman occupy the room that I used to have Mrs Charley B. has the Parlor. We are having some gay times. Lucia Stickney has a hard cold and is staying at home, Jenny is teaching in her stead. She expects to be able to go back by the first of next week.

I was out at Mr. Smith’s night before last. Went Sleigh riding and stopt there I believe I told you Lizzie Lewis was living there, and I promised her that when I wrote you I would ask you to send me your photograph fo her She wanted the one I have but I thought I could not spare it so promised to ask you to send her one. She is quite well, and so are Mr Smiths people. Plyner and Ella are down at the Oil region in Penn. It has been the best of sleighing here for the past four weeks. The like never was seen in Clevd. Saturday and Sunday it thawed and we thought our sleighing was gone. but Sunday night it grew cold, and although the roads are rough the sleighing is good yet. To day and last night have been the coldest weather we have had this winter. The amusements here this winter have been numerous and varied.

There has been but very little skating on account of so much snow. There have been quite a number of Lectures. All last week and this week there is a Stereoptican exibition that is the finest thing I ever saw. I would be well satisfied to go evry night. I have been three evenings, Last night Emily [Zeal?] [Martha?] Gliddon and I went. Last week Thursday evning Ralph Waldo Emerson lectured He is a good deal of an old [fudge?] When does Frank go to Savanah? Love to all

from your Bro. Thos Murphy
[Care Cuyahoga Hearn Trumall Co Clevd?]

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I have to day obtained the note held against you by Dr Jonson

Joseph Culver Letter, November 3, 1864, Page 1Hd Qrs Co “A”. 129th Ills
Chattahochie River GA Nov the 3rd /64
Capt J F Culver
Dear Sir

I have to day obtained the note held against you by Dr Jonson which I will forward in this letter I See also in looking over my papers that through Some mistake I have kept one of the notes that T J Wilson gave me. I thot I had Sent both of them. I will inclose it in this I hope no damage will result from the mistake, for it was all my fault if Chilcoth was not Some to blame for hurring me so. We are under orders to be ready to move at an hours notice after the 4th tomorow we turn everything over to day. It is now believed that the expedition is to be another of Sherman’s Raids you will likly know more about it by the time this reaches you we are having verry cold and wet weather here now rather a disagreeable time to Start out.

Lieut Fitch has Command of the Co yet his detail came from the Hospital but the Col Sent It back Fitch wants the position and has gone to Atlanta to day, I think to See Something about it Cook and Kelly have been Sent to the Rear the Docter wants BB Allen to go

I do not know that I will get to write again Soon if this moove prooves to be a raid of cours we will not get any mail. With regard to the getting of those clothing for me, you will have to be guided by your own Judgment. It would probably be as well not to get them but get the boots & gloves. I will write again if we Should remain here many days

Yours &c [T?]
Chris C. Yetter

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There is no mail going or coming at present

Joseph Culver Letter, October 18, 1864, Page 1

Head Quarters, Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols.
Chattahoochie River, Ga., Octr. 18th 1864
My Dear Wife

There is no mail going or coming at present, but, as we are ordered out for forage in the morning with 5 days’ rations, there may be an opportunity in my absence to send this to you.1 I will leave it in the hands of some of those who remain to be forwarded. I did hope that some mail might arrive in the trains which passed this evening, but we leave so early that it will not reach here in time. So I am to wait 5 long days before I hear from you. If I only had the assurance that you are well. I cannot overcome the impression that you may be very ill, as my last letter was dated the 26th while several were received of as late date as the 30th.2 I will trust all to “Our Father” who in his boundless Love has dealt so kindly with us. May He in the plentitude of his mercy preserve both you and our child in perfect health, and surround you with all necessary comforts to insure your happiness.

We have had no reliable news for several days though an abundance of rumors.3 I have kept myself very closely to my tent lately, having some unsettled business matters to occupy my time with and occasional reading. I preached last night in the Chapel tent of the 79th Ohio to a large & interesting Congregation from Deuteronomy 5-9. God was pleased to bless me.

Squads of Rebel Cavalry have been hovering around our lines for several days. To-day they captured 25 men & 150 mules with some private horses that were taken out to graze;4 once before, several men and mules. I think that is what gave rise to this Expedition which is for the double purpose of scouring the country & obtaining forage. Nate [Hill] is on picket and will be left behind. We will miss our comfortable tents and fires.

How very fortunate we have been thus far in being left to garrison this place. Our lot has fallen in the most pleasant places all through our term of service, and, though we have lost heavily during the Campaign of our best men, yet we outnumber a large majority of the Regiments in the service, and our Brigade is among the largest in the Army,

We have been gleaning from the papers recd. by Saturday evening’s mail [the 15th], the particulars of the battles in the East and the aspect of political affairs in the North. Rumor is afloat here that the “Copperheads” have carried Indiana by considerable majority at the State Election on the 11th inst.5 We still hope it is an error. The soldiers of that State, like ourselves, are not allowed to vote.

The Pay-master paid off the 105th Ills. to-day but has run short of funds. As there has been no opportunity to transport funds with safety, we must abide by our misfortune without complaining. As [Lt.] Smith promised to see you supplied, & Lt. Burton has probably reached Chicago & ford. the money sent by him, I have given myself but little uneasiness on that score. I hope you will not hesitate to accept of any funds which may be offered that you need, for we have no assurance of being paid very soon.

Jim Mitchell was married on the 4th inst. to a Miss Clara Carter of New Albany, Ind. Dr. Reagan recd. their cards a few days ago. Col. Ben. Harrison is stumping the State of Indiana and has been nominated for a Brig. Genl.’s commission, Genl. Ward for Major Genl.6 Col. Smith, 102nd Ills. commands the Brigade at present, & Col. Dustin, the Division.7

I saw a letter from Sam Maxwell to Wm. B. Fyfe bewailing the fate of “Poor Culver,” saying that his “Democratic friends pitied more than they derided him.”8 I should take opportunity to answer it were it not that the time will be very limited after my return before the Election.

Jim Morrow is looking well. Allen Fellows has enjoyed very good health lately. I saw Connelly to-day;9 he is well. Also Harry McDowell. Green is busy to-night preparing rations for our expedition.

I hear a train coming up from Atlanta which may possibly have mail for us, though it is doubtful, as there has scarcely been time to distribute it since the trains went down. But I must close for to-night. I will enclose three Photographs. I sent one in my last [letter] & think they will be very acceptable for your collection. I will get one of Genl. [O. O.] Howard as soon as opportunity offers.

Give my love to Mother and Maggie. Kiss baby for me & Remember me very kindly to all our Friends. Tell Remick that I will not probably be able to write such an answer to his letter as he desires, but, had the mails been going out, I would have been prompt in replying. I hope the letter written Mr. Decker arrived safely as it may answer, at least in part. May our Father in Heaven bless you with all needful blessings. Preserve us in life and health from danger and sin and fit our hearts for a close communion with him. If consistent with his will, our communion will be sweet when our duty to our Country is discharged. Let us pray and take consolation from His promises. Good Bye.

Your affectionate Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Attacks on the Western & Atlantic by Hood’s army had by October 10 caused a great scarcity of forage in and around Atlanta to feed the horses and mules. It became necessary to forage upon the country. During the next several weeks, General Slocum sent four large foraging expeditions and a number of lesser ones into the neighboring counties. O. R., Ser. I, Vol, XXXIX, pt. I, pp. 668, 680.
  2. Soldiers of the 129th Illinois on October 14 had received the “first mail … for many days.” Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 112.
  3. Hood’s army, with Sherman’s columns closing in, had abandoned its efforts to destroy the Western & Atlantic Railroad and, covered by a strong rear guard, had turned southward after passing through Villanow. Sherman followed. By the evening of the 17th, Sherman was satisfied that Hood had gone south by way of Summerville toward Gadsden, Ala., having given up his plans to cross the Tennessee River anywhere above Muscle Shoals. Next day found Sherman’s “army group” continuing its pursuit through the mountains of northwest Georgia. On the 20th Hood’s army was at Gadsden and Sherman’s at Gaylesville. There Sherman halted for a week, watching Hood’s movements, “proposing to follow him if he attempted to cross the Tennessee near Guntersville, but determined to carry out his plan of a march to the sea if Hood should go to Decatur or Florence.” Cox, Atlanta, pp. 237-39.
  4. A detachment from the 102d Illinois was ordered out on October 18 to recapture the livestock, and succeeded in recovering three horses and two mules. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXIX, pt. I, p. 684.
  5. Rumors that Indiana had been carried by the “Copperheads” were wrong. Oliver P. Morton, the Republican wheelhorse, was reelected governor and the party made gains in the congressional contests. Long, The Civil War Day by Day, p. 582.
  6. Captain Mitchell and Dr. Ragan had served with J.F.C. on Colonel Harrison’s staff. General Ward was brevetted major general to rank from Feb. 24, 1865, and Colonel Harrison a brigadier general to rank from Jan. 23, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  7. General Ward and Colonel Harrison having received leaves to return respectively to Kentucky and Indiana to campaign for the Lincoln-Johnson ticket, Col. Daniel Dustin of the 105th Illinois, as senior officer, had assumed command of the Third Division, XX Corps, and Col. Franklin C. Smith of the 102d Illinois, as senior regimental commander, had taken command of the 1st Brigade. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXIX, pt. I, p. 679.
  8. William B. Fyfe, a 39-year-old lawyer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company G, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Fyfe served with the regiment throughout the war, and was mustered out near Washington, D.C., on June 8, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. Samuel Maxwell of Pontiac was elected treasurer of Livingston County in November 1860. An influential and popular politician, he moved to Missouri in 1866. History of Livingston County, p. 266.
  9. Joseph B. Connelly, a 36-year-old farmer, had been mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Connelly had been detailed as an orderly with the First Division, XI Corps, on Jan. 14, 1864. When the XX Corps was constituted, Private Connelly was re-assigned as orderly with the 1st Brigade, Third Division, XX Corps. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
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The Post Master has just informed us that all letters sent in by sun down will catch the mail

Joseph Culver Letter, October 13, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Ills.
Chattahoochie River, Ga.
Octr. 13th 1864
My Dear Wife

The Post Master has just informed us that all letters sent in by sun down will catch the mail, &, as the sun is a few minutes high, I haste to inform you that through God’s blessing, I am still enjoying excellent health. No word from home yet. Oh, how wearily the days pass round. “We are waiting, weary waiting” for good news from home.

We recd. by signal from Allatoona Mountains the confirmation of the rumor of the capture of Richmond.1 God grant that it may be a permanent victory. Our Army is in motion, but we are still left.2 We expect mail to-morrow, & then we will have news.

May God bless you and our babe. Give my Love to Mother & Sister Maggie. May Holy Angels guard thee. Kiss baby for me. Good Bye.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. The message reporting the capture of Richmond was false. On the 13th General Ben Butler had made a forced reconnaissance of Confederate defenses on the Darbytown road, 8 miles southeast of Richmond, and found them formidable and covered by an extensive abatis. Humphreys, The Virginia Campaign of ’64 and ’65, pp. 293-94; Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 111.
  2. General Sherman on the 10th, learning that Hood’s army was crossing the Coosa 12 miles west of Rome, ordered his columns to converge on Rome. General Thomas was to mass his forces at Stevenson, Ala., to oppose a possible crossing of the Tennessee by the Confederates. At Kingston on the 11th, Sherman temporarily lost track of Hood. The Confederates had pushed to the northeast, their line of march hidden by Johns Mountain, and on the 12th appeared before Resaca and called on the garrison to surrender. The Federals refused. Leaving one corps before Resaca, Hood marched Stewart’s to Tilton and Dalton, capturing both towns and their garrisons. Sherman on the 13th put his “army group” in motion for Resaca, where he arrived the next day. Hood, having failed in his efforts to seriously damage the Western & Atlantic, retreated westward to Villanow. So far all he had accomplished was to draw Sherman 100 miles from Atlanta, but Slocum’s XX Corps continued to occupy that place. Cox, Atlanta, pp. 235-37.
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