About Colleen Theisen

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

I shall endeavor to remember the 21st September, and, if in my power, will keep it sacred with you

Joseph Culver Letter, September 13, 1864, Letter 2, Page 1

Head Quarters, Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vol. Infty.
Chattahoochie River, Georgia
September 13th 1864
My Dear Wife

Your letters of the 2nd & 4th came to hand this evening. I am very happy, indeed, to learn of your good health; God has very signally blessed us, and my heart is grateful. I shall endeavor to remember the 21st September, &, if in my power, will keep it sacred with you.1 I did hope to spend it with you, but that seems more and more improbable every day.

You have doubtless learned before this that our loss in the capture of Atlanta was very light. We lost not a man in our Corps [the XX]. The death of John Morgan and the repulse of the Rebels in our rear are very gratifying.2

You have not yet acknowledged the receipt of the $10 I sent. I fear it was in some of the captured mails.

I am not aware that I feel any more dignified than usual, there is so very little of it in my nature. I will try and be very dignified when I get home. I have now no recollection of what transpired two years ago from Sept. 4th. Though I cannot fix dates, yet I have many, very many, recollections of the past. I have written of them to you.3

I am glad to hear from Bro. Thomas [Murphy].4 I wrote to him a few weeks ago but have not heard from him yet. I would try and console him if I knew what was the matter.

I recd. the Tribune & North Western this evening of the 7th & have been reading to the boys until a late hour. I presume the draft has transpired.5

We are so far from the city that we get no letters except what come by mail. As the way is open again, I shall expect to hear from you very often until the Campaign opens again.6

I have not heard from Bro. John yet. You speak in your letter of writing to Hospital No. 19, Nashville. I presume therefore that Bro. Sammy is there and will write to him soon.7 [Albert] Green is looking anxiously for his book. He was very much pleased to learn of the baby. Chris [Yetter] & Nate [Hill] are well & all the boys with the exception of Wm. Sutcliff. I sent forward an application for a furlough for him to-day; if that fails, I will try for his discharge.

The weather last night and to-day has been very cool. It is probable that there will be early frosts in the North.

I have not answered Harry & Jennie’s [Cheston's] letter yet. Is it not singular that we have no letters from Mother or Hannah [Culver]?

Politics ran very high here until the Chicago platform was received;8 the McClellan men have been very quiet ever since. We have considerable anxiety for results in the North this fall. The time is not long, but it will doubtless be hotly contested. I hoped to hear the result of the [Livingston] County Convention by to-day’s mail but was disappointed.

The moon shines brightly to-night, & it is cool enough for an overcoat. If we could have a light frost to kill off the numerous insects that swarm around, it would be very acceptable.

Remember me very kindly to Mother and Maggie. I presume sickness in her family has prevented Sister Maggie [Utley] from writing. Mother [Murphy] was disappointed in writing, as she expected to act [as] correspondent during your disability.

I have not yet wholly abandoned the idea of getting home, though I do not anticipate too much. Let us still hope for the best. I feel assured that should I fail to make the anticipated visit, you have still a great comfort in our child. May God bless you both with health and bestow upon you the riches of his Grace.

I should have much liked to hear what Chaplain Cotton had to say. Were my letters to the Sunday School received? Remember me kindly to all our friends. Allen Fellows recd. letters from his wife yesterday. I have not seen him since the mail came in this evening. He is well. [Major] Hoskins is also well. Lt. Smith came off Picket this evening; he is improving in health slowly.

I may have opportunity to add a line to-morrow. Kiss baby for Papa. If Mrs. Smith’s surmises be true, I may not have a right to the title. I shall take the credit, however, unless I am better informed. Hoping that the richest of Heaven’s blessings may rest upon you, I remain, as ever,

Your affectionate Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Franklin Allen, the Culvers’ first child, had been born on September 21, 1862. He died October 30, 1863.
  2. Brig. Gen. John H. Morgan, the famous Confederate raider, had escaped from the Ohio State Penitentiary with a number of his officers. Making his way south, he was placed in command of the Department of Southwestern Virginia in April 1864. Morgan and his command camped in Greeneville, Tenn., on the night of September 3, while en route to attack Federal forces near Knoxville. Early the next morning he was surprised by a detachment of Union cavalry and was killed in the garden of the house where he had been sleeping. Warner, Generals in Grey, p. 221. By September 10 trains were again operating over sections of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad wrecked by General Wheeler and his raiders. Wheeler, having been hounded out of Middle Tennessee, was camped near Florence, Ala., while General Williams’ brigade, closely pursued by Federals, had fled eastward and had crossed the Clinch River, near Clinton, Tenn., O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXIX, pt. II, pp. 356, 378, 381.
  3. Mary Culver in her letters of September 2 and 4, missing from the Culver Collection, must have referred to something that had occurred on September 4, 1862.
  4. Thomas Murphy, Mary Culver’s oldest brother, was a Cleveland machinist and port engineer.
  5. A draft to provide additional manpower for the Union armies began on Monday, September 12.
  6. General Grant on September 10 notified General Sherman that “as soon as your men are sufficiently rested and preparations can be made, it is desirable that another campaign should be commenced. We want to keep the enemy constantly pressed to the end of the war.” O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXIX, pt. II, p. 355.
  7. Pvt. Sam Murphy was hospitalized in Chattanooga on July 26, 1864, where he remained until rejoining his unit at Atlanta in September. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  8. To please the war Democrats, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan was nominated for the presidency by the Chicago convention, while the “peace faction” drafted the platform. After referring to “four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war,” the platform demanded the cessation of hostilities “to the end that at the earliest possible moment, peace may be restored on the basis of the Federal Union of the States.” Randall, Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 619.
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On my return from Atlanta last evening, I found three letters awaiting me

Joseph Culver Letter, September 13, 1864, Page 1

Head Quarters, Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols. Infty.
Chattahoochie River, Ga. September 13th 1864
My Dear Wife

On my return from Atlanta last evening, I found three letters awaiting me. I am most happy to hear that you enjoy such good health, and feel thankful to “Our Father” for the continued manifestation of “His” love and mercy so richly bestowed upon us. Your letters were dated respectively 27th, 29th, & 31st. I also recd. Chicago papers to the 3d inst. How greatly God has blessed us in all things.

I wrote a short note from the Hospital in Atlanta yesterday but had to send it without an envelope. Atlanta looked very desolate yesterday. Genl. Sherman ordered all the citizens to leave and gave them their choice to go North or South.1 1,000 teams started out to Rough & Ready loaded with families with a little furniture allowed to each. They seemed in good spirits generally, except some few women who had several children and seemed quite delicate in health. All the Ambulances of the Army were sent out also, some of them filled with fair looking ladies.

The city is not over half as large as Nashville,2 but is very much scattered and in prosperous times was doubtedly a very pleasant place. I was only in the city a few hours. All that portion North of the square is very much injured with the shells, many houses are utterly ruined and quite a number burned to the ground. A majority of the principal business places are very seriously injured. There has been some fine gardens, but they are almost wholly destroyed. The citizens have dug large holes in their yards in which to protect themselves from shells. Nearly all the houses are vacated.

There are a few families which could not be moved at present. I saw one or two with very small infants & several whose condition would preclude the possibility of their being removed with safety; such, I presume, will be allowed to remain.

I am very much surprised that the Rebel Army should destroy all their commissary stores and abandon the wives and families of their soldiers to starvation. Had they left even a short supply, it had not been necessary to adopt such harsh measures as this seems to be. But it would be a matter of impossibility to take care of them here with our long base of supplies open to interruption all the time, and they did not wish to be sent North.3

I have not received Maggie’s promised letter yet, but hope it may arrive by next mail. I am almost satisfied that I shall get no opportunity to visit home this season. We are preparing rapidly for the fall Campaign, and it will doubtless open by the 1st of next month.

I have had no letters from home except the one from Harry and Jennie [Cheston], which I mentioned ten days ago. I have not heard from Bro. John [Murphy] since about the 20th of last month. I sent Seph. Ullery out [to] the front yesterday evening and expect to hear from him in a few days.4 I must close for the present but will try and add some this afternoon.

Till then, Good bye. I will write to-night. May our Father in Heaven keep & bless you and our child. We are all well.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. General Sherman, having “resolved to make Atlanta a pure military garrison or depot, with no civil population to influence military measures, issued orders deporting all citizen and family residents.” In notifying General Hood of his decision on September 7, Sherman announced that those who preferred could go south and the rest north. For the latter the Union would “provide food and transportation to points of their election in Tennessee, Kentucky, or farther north.” For the former, he would “provide transportation by cars as far as Rough and Ready, and also wagons; but that their removal may be made with as little discomfort as possible, it will be necessary for you to help the families from Rough and Ready to the cars at Lovejoy’s.” The refugees would be allowed to take with them their moveable property (clothing, trunks, reasonable furniture, bedding, &c), and their servants, white and black, provided they did not coerce the blacks. Sherman knew that this measure would “raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty,” and he answered that “war is war, and not popularity-seeking.” General Hood, in agreeing to Sherman’s proposal for a “truce in the neighborhood of Rough and Ready” to facilitate the mass deportation, branded it as “an unprecedented measure,” transcending “in studied and ingenious cruelty, all acts ever brought to my attention in the dark history of war.” On September 10 Sherman announced that pursuant to an agreement made with General Hood, “A truce is hereby declared to exist from daylight of Monday, September 12, until daylight of Thursday, September 22 … at the point on the Macon railroad known as Rough and Ready, and the country round about for a circle of two miles’ radius, together with the roads leading to and from in the direction of Atlanta and Lovejoy’s Station,” for the purpose of affording the people of Atlanta a safe means of removal to points south. Sherman’s chief quartermaster at Atlanta was directed to afford the refugees “all the facilities he can spare to remove them comfortable and safely, with their effects, to Rough and Ready, using cars and wagons and ambulances for that purpose.” O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, p. 822; O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXIX, pt. II, p. 356; Sherman, Memoirs, II, pp. 111-12.
  2. In 1861 the population of Atlanta was about 10,000 compared with Nashville’s 37,000. By 1864 the number of people living in Atlanta had burgeoned to 20,000.
  3. The destruction of the commissary stores did not trigger Sherman’s decision to order the evacuation of Atlanta by the citizens, as J.F.C. supposed. In a letter to Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck on September 4, Sherman, in outlining an autumn campaign, announced his proposal “to remove all the inhabitants of Atlanta, sending those committed to our cause to the rear, and the Rebel families to the front.” He would “allow no trade, manufacturers, nor any citizens there at all, so that we will have the entire use of railroad . . ., and also such corn and forage as may be reached by our troops.” O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt V, p. 794.
  4. Company M, 1st Illinois Light Artillery, the unit to which John and Sam Murphy belonged, was camped two miles east of Atlanta, on the Decatur road. Ibid., p. 840.
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I came here on a visit to-day

Joseph Culver Letter, September 12, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qurs. Hospital, 3d Div. 20th A.C.
Atlanta, Ga. Sept. 12th 1864
My Dear Wife

I came here on a visit to-day. I came down with Dr. Wood in an ambulance.1 On our way, we met the mail going out, 8 sacks for our Brigade, so that I feel certain of some letters when I get back.

I am stopping for a few moments with Dr. [Darius] Johnson when I will return to camp. Josephus Ullery & Writtenhour are here.2 Ullery is well & able for duty and Writenhour is getting better. I requested Seph. [Ullery] to go out & visit Bro. John [Murphy] to-morrow as I cannot get permission. I will write you at length to-night or to-morrow.

All the Co. are well except Sutcliff.3 I heard just now that all the Leaves of Absence have been returned disapproved and that none will be granted. Mine is, of course, among the number — so ends my visit home. “God’s will be done.”

I hope to hear of your good health on my return to camp. May our Father in Heaven bless you & our child. Give my love to Mother and Maggie.

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

  1. Orlando S. Wood, a 25-year-old physician, was mustered into service as 1st assistant surgeon of the 129th Illinois Infantry at Stevenson, Ala., on March 6, 1864. Dr. Wood was promoted to regimental surgeon on May 21, 1865, and mustered out with the regiment near Washington, D.C., June 8, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  2. Josephus Ullery, a 23-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. On Sept. 10, 1864, he was detached as a nurse in the Third Division, XX Corps hospital. Private Ullery was discharged with the regiment on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. William Writenour, a 21-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry, and like Ullery had been detached for duty as a nurse in the division hospital. Private Writenour was mustered out with the regiment on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. Ibid.
  3. William Sutcliff, a 31-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. He received a 20-day furlough on Sept. 27 and it was extended until Nov. 5, 1864. Private Sutcliff was mustered out near Washington, D.C, on June 8, 1865. Ibid.
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Rest assured that we are all well and everything is prospering

Joseph Culver Letter, September 10, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Ills.
Chattahoochie River, Ga.
Sept. 10th 1864
My Dear Wife

Though it seems very improbable that any letter will reach you for some time to come, as our communication is so seriously interrupted; yet, should this reach you, rest assured that we are all well and everything is prospering.

We have nothing to fear yet, for we have plenty of supplies for 3 months to come. We have had but the one mail since Aug. 26th. I heard this morning that the road was torn up near Wartrace, also at Gallatin and South Tunnel.1 I think all will be well. I should prefer, however, if the letters on the road were safe in your hands or my own. I sent you a ten dollar Bill in one of them. I hope, however, none of them may fall into the enemy’s hands. For fear that some of them may, & until the way is open & safe, I shall write but briefly.

May the richest of Heaven’s blessings rest upon you and our child. Give my love to the family. With the hope of soon hearing from you, I remain,

Ever your affectionate Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. General Wheeler had spent two days wreaking havoc on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad. In addition, the Confederates captured two trains, several stockades, and a number of small supply depots. There was no substance to the report that the Rebels had raided the Louisville & Nashville Railroad at Gallatin and South Tunnel. Wheeler, harassed by pursuing columns, had retreated into north Alabama, crossing the Tennessee River at Muscle Shoals on September 10. One of Wheeler’s brigades, Brig. Gen. John S. Williams’, had been unable to rendezvous with the main column and had recrossed the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad on the 8th at Wartrace, but it was too hotly pursued to damage the track or telegraph. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 841-42; pt. III, pp. 959-60.
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Our opportunities for a regular mail are growing less

Joseph Culver Letter, September 8, 1864, Page 1

Head Quarters Co. “A” 129th Ills. Vols.
Chattahoochie River, Ga.
September 8th 1864
My Dear Wife

We have no mail yet, and our opportunities for a regular mail are growing less unless some other method be adopted. We hope, however, if we remain here, our facilities will be much improved. The trains run regularly but do not stop here.

I hoped to see Bro. John before this, but the 4th Corps have not returned as was reported.1 We know nothing of the movements of the Army and have no late news from the North. This place is exceeding quiet, &, if it had not been for the amount of writing and labor necessary to straighten up the books & papers, I fear I should have had the blues severely. I am almost done now, but I hope soon to have the assurance of a visit home.

I am going on Picket in a few moments, & hope to receive a letter from you before I return. Maggie’s promised letter has not yet arrived. We are all very well. May our Father in Heaven bless you and our child & grant us life, health and all needful blessings. Give my love to all the family.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. The IV Corps was camped near Rough-and-Ready until the morning of September 8, when it started for Atlanta. The advance guard passed through Atlanta at 10:30 A.M. on the 9th, and the corps went into camp two miles east of the city, south of the Georgia Railroad. O. R., Ser. I. Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 827, 840.
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A week of intense anxiety was relieved by the news of your safety

Joseph Culver Letter, September 7, 1864, Page 1

Head Quarters, Co. “A” 129th Regiment Ills. Vols. Infty.
Chattahoochie River, Georgia
September 7th 1864
My Dear Wife

Your letters of the 23rd & 25th August came to hand yesterday evening. To “Our Father” be all praise for his loving kindness and tender mercies. A week of intense anxiety was relieved by the news of your safety.1 I would that I were more worthy of all the blessings bestowed upon me. As the mails are open again, I hope to hear from you often; but, as we are so far from the city, we get ours very irregularly.2 Yesterday being the first we have recd. for 10 days.

Since the troops left here, it is very dull, and we get no news. The Campaign is over for the present, and I took advantage of the earliest opportunity, 3 days ago, to send up an application for a “Leave of Absence.”3 There are so very many applications in that my chances seem very poor. I could do no better than try; even should I succeed, I will wait until after the troops are paid off.

Dr. [Darius] Johnson and Allen Fellows enjoy very good health. Allen has been pitching horse shoes in the Company all afternoon. He feels a little blue as he has not recd. a letter from his wife for a long time; his last was dated 16th or 18th of August. Dr. Johnson is in Atlanta.

The stamps you sent never arrived; I suppose there is a shirt also on the way. They will probably arrive soon.

I recd. a letter from Bro. Harry and Sister Jennie [Cheston] yesterday dated Aug. 20th. All were well, but they say nothing of Mother [Culver] and Hannah’s anticipated visit to the West. The farms were to be offered for sale on the 23rd August.4

Sergt. Gaff has been selling me, I suppose, or else you are sadly mistaken. He told me a few days ago that by a letter he recd., dated the 21st Aug., he was informed of an acquisition to his family of a fine Baby Boy.

Your letter of P.M. August 25th made me feel very anxious, and I did not dare hope that any further news would reach me until next mail, but I was most happily disappointed in finding a Post Script, dated just 12 hours later, containing such glorious “news.” You are certainly a “paragon” in your line.

May God restore you speedily to health and strength. I believe the desire of your heart has been granted unto you. I prayed that it might be so. Let our hearts be thankful for all the blessings we have received. I would be very happy, indeed, to give the carress you desire, & hope I may be blessed with the opportunity before long. I have written every day for the last two weeks, so that you must have quite a collection of mail when the communication opened.5

With the earnest hope that my application may be successful, and that I may very soon have the privilege of uniting my voice with yours in praise to “Our Father” for all his mercies, I remain as ever,

Your Affectionate Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Mary Culver had given birth to a son, Howard Dunmire, on Aug. 25, 1864.
  2. The 2d and 3d Brigades, Third Division, XX Army Corps, were stationed in Atlanta, six miles southeast of the fortified camp occupied by Colonel Harrison’s 1st Brigade.
  3. Captain Culver on Sept. 5, 1864, had written to the assistant adjutant general, Army of the Cumberland: I have the honor to request a leave of absence for 30 days for the purpose of visiting my family in Pontiac, Livingston County, Ill. My wife has been in delicate health all summer and is now quite ill. My child and my father have died since I entered service. I have not received a leave of absence since I enlisted Aug. 2, 1862. I have never been absent from my command either with or without leave, except on duty. 1st Lt. John W. Smith is serving with the company to which I am attached and my services can readily be spared for the period desired. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  4. To settle the estate of Father Culver, it was necessary to sell the family farms in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.
  5. General Wheeler, with a formidable mounted force, in mid-August had been sent by General Hood to operate against the railroads over which Sherman supplied his armies. The Rebels had attacked Dalton, a station on the Western & Atlantic, but were repulsed. After breaking the subject railroad in several places and cutting the telegraph, Wheeler’s horsemen swept into East Tennessee. When they returned from East Tennessee at the end of August, Wheeler and his cavalry raided the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad. Track was twisted, bridges burned, and the telegraph cut between Nashville and Wartrace. While labor crews repaired the railroad and telegraph, Wheeler, pursued by strong Federal columns, retreated into north Alabama. Damage had been repaired by the 10th, when the first through train in 11 days left Nashville for Chattanooga. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 789, 844; Cox, Atlanta, p. 196.
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Video Series Visiting Bauman Rare Books

Over the summer members of the University of Iowa Special Collections team visited Las Vegas for the American Library Association and stopped by Bauman Rare Books to chat with Rebecca Romney, who you also might recognize as the rare book appraiser on the History Channel series “Pawn Stars.”  While there they let the cameras roll as they chatted with Rebecca Romney about the rare book field, collecting rare books, and the types of research that rare book dealers do that ends up being incorporated into catalog records and supporting academic research, all while taking a look at some particularly delightful rare books that they had in the shop.

Here is the result of the trip:  A five video series.  Enjoy!

The first video:  Down the Rabbit Hole.  This one includes an edition of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” illustrated by Salvador Dalí.

The second video: The Game is Afoot.  The team analyzes the lasting power of favorite characters such as Sherlock Holmes and Lizzie Bennet who continue to thrive through fan works and new interpretations.

The third video: It’s a First Edition Pride and Prejudice!

The fourth video: Et Tu Brute?   Taking a close look at a Shakespeare quarto (a single play).

The fifth video: We Go West.  A very rare surviving pamphlet, 1848 Latter-Day Saints’ Emigrants’ Guide.


As we have orders to move to Atlanta to-morrow, I may not have an opportunity to write

Joseph Culver Letter, September 5, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qurs. Co. “A”, 129th Ills. Vols. Inftry.
Chattahoochie River, Ga.
Sept. 5th 1864
My Dear Wife

As we have orders to move to Atlanta to-morrow, I may not have an opportunity to write.1 We have recd. no mail yet; I cannot understand it as the trains are running by here regularly.

I have just returned from the Picket line, where I was called to marry a couple, but they had no license & I refused as the laws of this state require a license. They seemed very anxious. The Lady was about 33 or 35 & had a daughter with her, about 12 years old. The man was 30 yrs. old. I was very sorry to disappoint them, but I sent them to Marietta where I think they can obtain a license.

We are all well. It has rained very heavy here this afternoon & we got slightly wet.

Sherman is returning to Atlanta with the Army.2 We have not learned the full result, but 3,000 prisoners have arrived, & it is rumored that 7 or 8,000 more are on the road.3 The enemy’s loss is reported at 15 to 20,000. Our loss is slight, but we have not heard any numbers.4

I hope to hear from you very soon. May God bless you.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Out-generaled by Sherman and defeated in the battle of Jonesboro, General Hood and his Army of Tennessee evacuated Atlanta on the night of September 1. Hood reassembled his army at Lovejoy Station on the Macon & Western Railroad, 25 miles southeast of Atlanta. On the night of the 1st, soldiers of the XX Corps heard heavy explosions in the direction of Atlanta, and General Slocum ordered each of his division commanders to make a forced reconnaissance toward the city. A column from General Ward’s division, on approaching the city, was met by Major James M. Calhoun, who formally surrendered Atlanta and informed Col. John Coburn that the Confederates had evacuated. The next day, September 3, the remainder of the XX Corps, except the units detailed to guard the Chattahoochie bridges, marched into and took possession of the city. Harrison’s brigade was detailed to remain on the Chattahoochie to protect the railroad bridge and the commissary and ordnance depots. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 19, 330, 350, 392-93.
  2. General Sherman on September 4 issued orders for his armies to take position in and around Atlanta, “until a new campaign is planned in concert with the other grand armies of the United States.” Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland was to occupy the city and protect the Western & Atlantic Railroad; the Army of the Tennessee would occupy East Point; the Army of the Ohio Decatur; and the cavalry Sandtown, Roswell, and “other points on the flanks and along our line of communications.” O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, p. 801.
  3. General Sherman reported that in the battle of Jonesboro, his “army group” captured two four-gun batteries, killed about 500 Confederates, and wounded another 2,500. Union losses during the period August 26-September 2 would not exceed 1,500. Confederates captured in this phase of the Atlanta Campaign totaled about 3,000. Ibid., pp. 822, 830-31.
  4. Confederate losses during this eight-day period were in excess of 6,000. On evacuating Atlanta, the Confederates destroyed seven locomotives, 81 cars loaded with ammunition, small arms, and stores, and abandoned 14 pieces of artillery and a large number of small arms. Ibid., p. 778.
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The telegraph has just announced the nomination of Geo. B. McClellan by the Chicago Convention for President

Joseph Culver Letter, September 1, 1864, Page 1

Thursday, Sept. 1st 1864
Dear Mary

The telegraph has just announced the nomination of Geo. B. McClellan by the Chicago Convention for President but lacks confirmation. We have no news from the Army yet. The mail came in about an hour ago but brought no letter for me. I still hope “All is well.”

Chris [Yetter] is trying hard to have the ague again to-day & I think he will succeed. He accepts the issue very resignedly, and is hurrying Green [a black mess cook] up with dinner, so that he can eat a good mess of green beans and new potatoes before the “Shake” comes on.

We are all well. The weather is very beautiful. May our Father in Heaven bless You.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

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I have given all my time for the past few days to writing up company business

Joseph Culver Letter, August 31, 1864, Letter 2, Page 1

Head Quarters Co. “A” 129th Regt Ills. Vols.
Inftry. In the Field, Chattahoochie River, Georgia
August 31st 1864
My Dear Wife

I have given all my time for the past few days to writing up company business, and, as I shall be busy for some days to come, I scarcely take time to write to you, for, when not busy, my hand becomes tired and cramped so that my letters are made as brief as possible.

At noon to-day I lay down to rest but fell asleep & did not awaken until nearly mail time. It is 9 o clock, P.M. The evening is very pleasant. I have just laid aside the Muster and Pay rolls to talk awhile to you before retiring.

I was honored with a serenade to-night by the Brigade Band; they had been at Regtl. Hd. Qurs. playing and stopped on their way home. One piece they played was your favorite Quickstep, No. 1 in the 2nd book of the Cornet Band.1 They did very well, as they have had very few opportunities to practice during the Campaign.

It is very quiet to-night and reminds me of those nights 3 years ago when we sat upon the door step or by the open window looking out into the future, to us then untried and unfathomable, now read and experienced. We have both learned and suffered much since then, but amid all our trials God has blessed us. How much of hope and anticipation have we realized? The future is mercifully sealed up and hid from our vision except such as is revealed by the light of Heaven. We live by Faith and rejoice in hope of the promises of God. I wish I could look in upon you to-night and know how you are situated, whether your heart is filled with joy for unbounded blessings received or whether your heart is sad and lonely. My emotions have been very conflicting for the past week. Sometimes anxiety and doubt, love and fear would predominate, but most of the time hope, bright hope, would drive all else away. God has been so constant in his care and blessings that I feel “all is well.”

The stars shine dimly to-night, and the air is very cool but not too much so for comfort. There is but little comparison between the temperate climate here this season and the oppressive heat of the Prairies of Illinois. I know you would love this climate, especially if it is always as agreeable as this Summer has been. The cool nights will doubtless produce some ague and fever of different kinds, but I think the proportion will be much less than usual.

Yetter has been unwell for a few days, and to-day had a severe chill with a very high fever this afternoon. But to-night he is much better, and thinks that by a timely use of medicine he can ward off another attack. Lt. Smith came off Picket this evening. His health is not as good as it was before he was wounded, & I doubt somewhat the wisdom of his remaining in the service. He certainly could not stand a campaign. With every little effort, he suffers; and, on walking a mile or two, his bowels become very much enlarged. Nate [Hill] is well and hearty as ever.

We got some new potatoes to-day from the commissary & traded on the Picket line for some new beans.2 I can assure you we relish them very much. Alf [Huetson] was up yesterday evening; he is looking very well and enjoys excellent health.

We have been speculating considerable for a few days past upon the result of the Chicago Convention. Day after to-morrow we will get the first day’s proceedings. It is the general opinion that [Maj. Gen. George B.] McClellan will be nominated unless the convention should be divided, in which case candidates that have expressed more ultra views would likely be selected. I would not be much surprised if such a diversion were attempted to favor Vallandigham.3 We are deeply interested, and, wherever the soldiers are permitted to vote, the policy of the administration will be sustained. We have all to hope for.

I succeeded in getting a little money this evening from a friend which I will enclose ($10.00). I know you must be very short of funds. Lt. Smith told me that his wife had recd. some money lately and that he had written to her to lend you some until pay day. I hope it will not be much longer deferred.

We have no news from Sherman. There was a rumor that a battle had been fought about 15 miles South East of Atlanta, but it could not be traced to any reliable source.4 There is no communication with the army. Genl. Smith’s forces must be with them ere this, but it is not known.5

The enemy is still visible along the front of our line across the River. A few days will probably reveal Sherman’s policy. May God grant us a speedy victory.

Our mails have been very irregular for a few days past owing to some neglect of the Army Post-masters; the trains are very regular. There is a large body of troops gathering here for the various Corps at the front, which will help to swell the ranks considerable when the way is open.6

All the rest are fast asleep, and I must close or I will be unable to resume writing in the morning. My hand and arm get cramped very easily, as I have not been accustomed to write very long at a time lately. Last night they kept me awake until near midnight, which accounts for my long nap to-day. I hope to hear from you by to-morrow’s mail.

I recd. the Chicago Tribune of the 26th this morning, & a letter should come through nearly as soon while my last letter was dated the 21st. I hope very soon to hear that your trial is over and your health good and that the desire of your heart has been granted.

May “our Father in Heaven” bestow upon you the richest of His blessings. You told me in one of your letters that after the first anticipated event “you would count the days and weeks until my visit home.” I earnestly hope that our affairs may soon be so shaped by “Our Father’s hand” that I may succeed in getting home.

I have not heard from Carlisle yet. I think they have forgotten me entirely. Give my love to Mother [Murphy] and Maggie. Tell Mother I look for her letter very soon; you know she is to write for you if you are not able. May Holy Angels guard thee this night and all your hours be replete with happiness.

Your affectionate Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. J.F.C. had been a member of Pontiac’s cornet band before being mustered into Company A, 129th Illinois.
  2. Federals and Confederates were in the habit of trading necessities on the picket lines.
  3. Clement Vallandigham, a leader of the Peace Democrats, had returned to Ohio in June 1864 and played a leading role in framing the Democratic platform, which helped doom his party to defeat in the November election.
  4. The battle of Jonesboro had commenced on the 31st, and the Army of the Tennessee held its ground in face of a Confederate attack, permitting troops of Schofield’s Army of the Ohio and Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland to reach the vital Macon & Western Railroad at Rough and Ready, four miles north of Jonesboro. This led Hood to believe that Atlanta would be attacked, and he recalled one of the two corps battling the Army of the Tennessee west of Jonesboro. Cox, Atlanta, pp. 200-02.
  5. This is probably a reference to the force commanded by Brig. Gen. John E. Smith, headquartered at Cartersville, and charged with guarding the Western & Atlantic Railroad from Dalton to Kennesaw. Smith was not en route to reinforce Sherman, so this may be classed as one of those rumors that have intrigued soldiers throughout history.
  6. General Slocum had been ordered on the 29th to “collect together all stragglers” found in the area. Those that were armed were to be organized for defense of the line of the Chattahoochie and those without arms were to be put to work on the defenses. Convalescents would be handled in a similar manner. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, p. 702.
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