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
- Franklin Allen, the Culvers’ first child, had been born on September 21, 1862. He died October 30, 1863.
- 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.
- 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.
- Thomas Murphy, Mary Culver’s oldest brother, was a Cleveland machinist and port engineer.
- A draft to provide additional manpower for the Union armies began on Monday, September 12.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.