Our Forage Expedition of which I spoke in my last letter was of short duration

Joseph Culver Letter, April 4, 1865, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Ills. Vols.
Goldsboro, N.C.
April 4th 1865
My Dear Wife

We have had no mail for two days. The last news I have from you is of the 16th ult. I hope to be more successful, however, by to-morrow’s mail.

Our Forage Expedition of which I spoke in my last letter was of short duration. We were not over two miles from camp & returned at noon.1 The weather continues to be very pleasant, and our preparations have been going on rapidly. It is a current rumor that we will start on Monday next [10th], & we are using every effort to be ready. We had Brigade Inspection to-day & will have Division & corps reviews during the week.

All the sick and wounded that could bear removal have been sent to Newbern & the coast. The detachments of this army are coming up from Nashville, Tenn., Charleston, & Blairs Landing, S.C. & will soon all be here.2 The troops are nearly all supplied with clothing, and a very few days will suffice to complete their equipment. The news by the New York papers of the 29th ult. are good, and I hope by God’s help we will soon see the end of the war.

We are having a glorious meeting in the Brigade. The Regts. have joined in a Union meeting, & we have a very pleasant place for worship. There were 13 forward to-night. This was our first effort united. I preached to-night from 95th Psalm, part of 7th & 8th verses. God was pleased to bless me, and we hope for glorious results during our short stay here. Pray for us.

The health of the Company and Regt. is good. Bronson’s discharge has gone forward, & I think he will be able to start for home in a few days.3 He is in very poor health, & I fear will not survive long. We have heard nothing of Henry Polk yet; we expect daily to hear of his return home. Several of the boys that were captured about the same time he was have reached their homes & have been heard from.

Capt. Horton arrived here to-day from Blairs Landing. Genl. Ben Harrison will be up in a few days & will doubtless command the Brigade in the coming campaign.4 Jim Chritten, Winnie Kelley, Mat. DeLong & Wm. Sutcliff are on their way & will be here this week.5

It is quite late to-night, but I could not lie down without talking awhile with you. There is a string band serrenading Lt. Col. Merrill of the 70th Ind. & the music sounds very sweet. The moon shines beautifully every night. Everything seems so calm and beautiful to-night that it seems almost impossible that such a thing as war can exist. How forcibly it reminds me of a night long ago when we sat at Mother’s door one night singing “With Maggie by our side.” Do you remember it? I wonder if Maggie [Utley] does. It was before you went to Cleveland to school. Those & many others that followed were happy days, yet I trust there are many more equally happy in store for us. God is kind and merciful, let us trust him still.

Nate [Hill] has gone to bed & is asleep. Christ [Yetter] is writing yet. I am sure he writes 4 letters to my one. I was not aware before that he had so large a correspondence. Mrs. Hill wrote to him a few days ago that she knew I was responsible for Jennie Gutherie’s refusing Kelley; I hope she is mistaken. I only spoke once to her about it & that was after her father & mother assured me that they would not be married. I am very sorry that I even spoke of it.

I must close for to-night. May God bless you. Kiss Howard for me. Remember me kindly to all our friends. As communication will be kept open with the rear, I hope to hear from you often. Good night.

Your affect. Husband,
J. F. Culver

  1. The 129th moved out early, marching in a westerly direction. After proceeding about two miles, they found a good supply of corn and fodder. While the soldiers were loading their wagons, one of the pickets was surprised and shot to death. Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, pp. 225-26.
  2. The returning soldiers, along with many recruits, were disembarking at Wilmington, where they were organized into casual companies and issued rations by General Hawley. They then marched to Goldsboro. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XLVII, pt. III, pp. 87-8, 91.
  3. William H. Bronson, a 25-year-old jeweller, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Bronson was hospitalized much of the time from Dec. 1863 until receiving his medical discharge on April 10, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  4. Benjamin Harrison had been brevetted brigadier general to rank from Jan. 23, 1865.
  5. Winfield S. Kelly, a 20-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. The autumn of 1864 found Kelly hospitalized in Nashville, Tenn. Rejoining the regiment in the spring of 1865, Private Kelly was mustered out near Washington, D.C. Martin DeLong, a 21-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Wounded at Resaca on May 15, 1864, Private DeLong was hospitalized at Jeffersonville, Ind., and on rejoining the unit in the spring of 1865 was hospitalized in the division hospital. He was mustered out with the regiment on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. Ibid.
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Medicinal Plants of the Mediterranean – History of Medicine Society, R. Palmer Howard Dinner – April 24, 2015

picture of Alain Touwaide

Alain Touwaide

The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society invites you to attend the R. Palmer Howard reception, dinner,  and presentation on Friday, April 24, 2015.  Alain Touwaide of the Smithsonian Institution will speak on Medicinal Plants of the Mediterranean : A Unique Tradition.  The event will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Iowa City, beginning at 6pm.  Reservations and payment are due by April 17.  ( printable registration form, including menu) Physicians of Antiquity collected  information about the therapeutic uses of natural resources, particularly plants. This knowledge, best illustrated by Hippocrates, Dioscorides and Galen, was handed down through centuries from one generation and one culture to another in an uninterrupted chain. Touwaide will illustrate this unique phenomenon by following the legacy of Antiquity in its odyssey around the Mediterranean until the dawn of Modern Science, focusing on exceptional and ordinary books that transmitted this legacy.   Picture4

Announcing Edible Book Festival Winners!

Thank you so much to everyone who created the delectable entries that made this year’s Edible Book Festival a success!

We’d also like to thank our generous sponsors who provided this year’s prizes: Beadology, Blick Art Materials, UI Libraries’ Conservation Lab, High Ground Cafe, and New Pioneer Co-op.

And we extend a hearty thanks to our judges who had to make some difficult decisions in choosing the winners: Executive Chef of the Iowa Memorial Union Barry Greenberg, Special Collections’ Outreach & Instruction Librarian Colleen Theisen, and Conservator Giselle Simon.

Ella and Jameson Sherlock created a wonderful edible version of Tom Riddle’s diary from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, complete with a basilisk fang and quill ink. Their entry won in three categories: Best Book Structure, Judge’s Favorite, and Audience Favorite, and their prizes include a tour of the UI Libraries’ Conservation Lab and two gift cards to New Pioneer Co-op.

The Best Literary Allusion category went to Lindsay Vella’s entry based on Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red, titled “Geryon’s Dream Macaron.” Her prize was a handful of free coffee coins from High Ground Cafe.

And lastly, the Best Tasting Category went to Connie Sherman’s beautiful and delicious Accordion Book of Kolache, which came with the prize of a gift from Beadology.

Other entries were A Confederacy of Apricots king cake by Clare Jones based on A Confederacy of Dunces, a cake by Ferguson Ward (assisted by Connie Sherman) based on the webcomic xkcd, an I Want My Hat Back cake by Willow Fuchs, a penguin cake based off of And Tango Makes Three made by Andrea Rost, Pig Out! a pie by Kaikobad Irani based on the book Piggie Pie, and The Invisible Boy cookies made by Mary Wallis Gutmann.

Thanks again to all who participated, organized, judged, and ate these incredible edible books!

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Changes in Authentication Software for Interlibrary Loan / Document Delivery

We adopted new authentication software for our interlibrary loan/document delivery services library-wide. Due to the change in software, all users will be required to register with the system once again. Your borrowing history has not been lost! Within 1-3 business days after re-registering, your new account will be merged with your old account and you will be able to view your history.


The new software will allow users to place requests from databases using prepopulated request forms without the need to open a new tab and log into the system. The software also allows for better authorization of users within our system.


Note that you will see a new pick-up library location titled ‘Office Delivery’ when you re-register. We will be mailing interlibrary loan items to office locations for users that request this option. If you choose office delivery, please be certain that your campus address is correct!


We are experiencing several issues surrounding the migration to the new software, and our staff are working to resolve these as quickly as possible.


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The condition of the roads and your few opportunities are sufficient reasons for your letters not reaching me sooner

Joseph Culver Letter, April 2, 1865, Page 1

Goldsboro, N C. April 2nd 1865
My Dear Wife

I recd. by to-day’s mail yours of the 16th inst. & was very happy to learn that you are well. Letters were recd. two days ago from Pontiac of as late date as the 21st, one from Mrs. Fellows, but she made no mention of you & I presume had not seen you.1 The condition of the roads and your few opportunities are sufficient reasons for your letters not reaching me sooner and perhaps are the reasons why mine are so long on the way.

The day has been very pleasant, & the night is beautiful. I preached in the 79th Ohio last night & to-night in our own. We had a good meeting. We will hold meetings every evening throughout this week. Four arose for prayers to-night. Pray for us. As I never recd. any account of the meetings after I left, there must be some letters that did not reach me.

I will try and write to Maggie [Utley] before we leave here but dare not promise positively. Tell her I will do the best I can. I thought I should write several letters to-day, but I was very tired & thought it best to rest in order to be ready for the morrow.

I was glad to hear that Howard is growing so rapidly as it is a sure indication of good health, yet I know he must be a great burden to you. I wish I could assist you to take care of him this summer, but, if God spares me, I will try & assist you more than when I was last at home. I feel very sorry when I think how little I done to make you happy while I was at home. You have not told me whether you expected to be able to visit Penna. next fall or not.

Alva Garner and Josephus Ullery took supper with us this evening. Both are well. I was at the hospital to see Mark Stephens yesterday; he is getting along very well & expects to go home on furlough shortly.

The Chaplain preached the funeral sermon of those who have fallen since the Regt. left Atlanta.2 All the detachments of Sherman’s Army from Chattanooga and along the coast are expected here in a few days. The Army will be made as effective as possible, and be prepared for the strongest opposition the Rebs. can muster.3 We have had all kinds of rumors to-day, the wildest being that Peace was declared & the Army ordered north.4 Our latest news is the New York Herald of the 27th containing a short account of Grant’s last battle.5 The prospects look flattering but not enough to dispel our anticipations of a severe campaign.

I have not yet written to the Sabbath School. I may try to to-night if I am not too late in closing this. Alf Huetson was here to-day. He inquired very particularly about you & wished to be kindly remembered. I will inclose a little shell that was picked up in “Fort Fisher” by an Officer of the 23rd Corps.

Among the numerous grape vines this evening, was one that our Corps was going to Washington to relieve Hancock’s Veteran Corps.6 Sherman has returned, & we are ordered to be ready to move by the 10th inst. which will be one week from to-morrow.7

Our camp is very nicely fixed up with pine trees lining both sides of all the streets. The boys have built comfortable houses and was there any prospect of remaining here long enough to justify it, we could make this camp very beautiful.8 We have good water in abundance which is a great blessing.

Some of the members of our Regt. captured on this last raid have been exchanged and are on furlough home. We hope to hear from Henry Polk soon.9 I have not yet written to his parents hoping to see or hear from him each day.

I hear trains whistling for the last hour. The rail-road is complete from Wilmington to this place giving us two avenues of communication with the coast.10

I see by the New York papers of the 27th inst. that both Wilmington and Charleston are soon to be made “Ports of Entry” which is certain evidence of the determination of the government to garrison and hold them. They will be garrisoned, doubtless, with colored troops while all the others will be sent to the front.11 There is one Division of Colored Troops here, but I have not learned where they are stationed.12 The Regt. of which Jos. Z. Culver is adgt. is in the Division;13 I would like to see him.

I sent ten dollars in a letter I sent by Wm. F. Sailor to be mailed at Chicago, Ills. Chris [Yetter] asked me just now whether you had forgiven him for the letter he wrote to you over a year ago; he says you have never written to him since. I had forgotten all about it but have an indistinct recollection of the affair.

We have just recd. orders to be ready to go on a forage expedition at 6-1/2 A.M. to-morrow. The whole Regt. is ordered out, &, as we will probably have a hard day’s march, I cannot write any more letters and must close this one soon. I hope there will be some letters awaiting me on my return. How cheering it will be.

I am glad you are contented, & I hope God will make you happy. I spent your birthday [March 17] in Charleston. Had I thought of it, I would certainly have written, but I have been very thoughtless lately. I know not why.

Remember me kindly to all our friends. Give my love to Maggie & family. What is Bro. John’s address? How I wonder how you are enjoying yourself to-night & where you are. I can imagine both Howard & you in bed sound asleep. May Our Father kindly watch over you & preserve you. Kiss Howard for me. I will write soon after my return. I do not know how long we will be absent but probably not over one day. Accept a kiss. With much love, I remain,

Your affect. Husband

  1. Mrs. Fellows was the wife of J. Allen Fellows, the regimental hospital steward.
  2. Abel H. Scott had succeeded Thomas Cotton as chaplain of the 129th Illinois. Scott, a 37-year-old minister, had been 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 was commissioned 2d lieutenant of Company F on June 11, 1863. Lieutenant Scott was wounded at Resaca on May 15, 1864, and did not rejoin the regiment until July 13. He resigned his commission in December to accept appointment as regimental chaplain. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  3. General Sherman in the last week of March had reorganized his army into the Army of the Tennessee commanded by General Howard and the Army of Georgia led by General Slocum. The XX Corps, to which the 129th Illinois belonged, was a part of the Army of Georgia. Also reporting to Sherman was General Schofield’s Army of the Ohio. When Sherman’s “army group” resumed its advance, the railroads leading from Kinston and Wilmington to Goldsboro would be abandoned. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XLVII, pt. III, pp. 75,80-1.
  4. There was no truth to the peace rumor.
  5. Units of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia on March 25 had assailed Union positions east of Petersburg held by the IX Corps, Army of the Potomac. Fort Stedman was stormed by the Rebels, but they were unable to exploit this success. Counterattacking Federals soon recovered Fort Stedman, and the Confederates, having suffered heavy losses, were driven back into their Petersburg defenses. Humphreys, The Virginia Campaign of ’65, pp. 316-20.
  6. Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, plagued by his Gettysburg wound, in the autumn of 1864 had been called to Washington to recruit a “Veteran Reserve Corps.” His efforts met with slight success, and on February 27, 1865, he was placed in command of the Department of West Virginia. Consequently, there was no truth to this rumor. Warner, Generals in Blue, p. 204.
  7. The report that Sherman’s “army group” was to be ready to resume the advance on April 10 was correct. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XLVII, pt. III, p. 65.
  8. A soldier of the regiment had written on March 23, “We have been fixing up some log shanties to stay in, four of us in a shantie.” The regimental historian recorded on the 28th a good many of the cabins, which were started on the 25th, “were done while others are approaching completion.” Through the South with a Union Soldier, p. 167; Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, pp. 224-25.
  9. Henry Polk had been paroled at Aikens Landing, Va., on March 26, 1865, and ordered to Benton Barracks, Mo. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  10. It was April 5 before the first through train reached Goldsboro from Wilmington.
  11. J.F.C. was only partially correct in his assumption that Charleston and Wilmington would be garrisoned by black units. The 1st Separate Brigade charged with occupation of Charleston on April 30, 1865, included four black commands among its 16 units. No black commands were currently attached to Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Hawley’s District of Wilmington, O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XLVII, pt. III, p. 362.
  12. One of the three divisions constituting the X Corps, Army of the Ohio, consisted of U.S. Colored Troops. The X Corps was camped in and around Faison’s Depot, 20 miles south of Goldsboro, on the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad. Ibid., p. 50.
  13. Joseph Z. Culver was mustered into service on Feb. 29, 1864, at Baltimore, Md., as 2d lieutenant of Company K, 39th U.S. Colored Troops. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on Sept. 13, 1864, and assigned to duty as regimental adjutant. Adjutant Culver was wounded on Feb. 12, 1865, but soon rejoined his command. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
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The Leader of the Brig. Band is discharged and starts home to-day

Joseph Culver Letter, April 1, 1865, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A”, 129th Ills. Vol. Inftry.
Goldsboro, N.C., April 1st 1865
My Dear Wife

The Leader of the Brig. Band is discharged & starts home to-day & thinking a letter would reach you more directly through him, I hasten to write. I wrote to Lt. [John] McKnight to send you $12 that he owes me & which I had directed him to pay to [Christ] Yetter at Atlanta. I will inclose $10 — if you have no use for it, you can pay it on my acct. with Wm. B. Lyon & take his receipt for it.

I wrote to you a few days ago to get a bill of my purchases & send it to me. I think I wrote the same to Lyon when I wrote about Mother’s transactions. If we receive pay, I will ford. sufficient to pay Lyon & Smith both. I recd. a letter yesterday from Fanny Miller of the 19th inst.

We are all in good health, & the weather is beautiful. I have not had time to write up that diary for you yet. We have no late news. All the company are well. I expect letters from you by to-day’s mail. Letters come through from home, some in 10 to 12 days.

Rumor says we will leave here on the 12th, but no one knows as Genl. Sherman has not returned yet.1 No enemy have been seen on our front for a couple of days. Alva Garner of the 20th Ills. has just come & brings a New York Herald of the 27 Mch.2 The news are very good.

I have been talking until my time for writing has almost expired. Sailor3 leaves at noon from Brig. Hd. Qurs., & it is after 11. I must send this over, or it will be too late. Remember me to all our friends.

With much love, I remain, ever
Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. J.F.C. is mistaken on one point. General Sherman returned to his Goldsboro headquarters from City Point on the night of March 30. On April 1 Sherman alerted several of his subordinates to be ready to resume the offensive on the 10th. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XLVII, pt. III, pp. 80-1.
  2. Alva Garner of Pontiac was mustered into service at Joliet, Ill., as a private in Company D, 20th Illinois, on June 13, 1861. Private Garner was wounded in the arm at Shiloh on April 6, 1862, and on returning to duty was detailed as a nurse in the hospital at La Grange, Tenn. He reenlisted as a veteran volunteer at Big Black Bridge, Miss., on Jan. 5, 1864, and was promoted to sergeant on Oct. 3, 1864. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  3. W. F. Sailor was drum major of the brigade band.

I find myself in the debt of nearly all my correspondents

Joseph Culver Letter, March 31, 1865, Page 1Ans Mch 31 /65
La Vale Farm March 19th / .65.
Dear Uncle Joe,

A whole month, I am sorry to confess it, has passed since the reception of your last letter, not from neglect, but partly from want of time and the confusion of examinations, leaving school &c. I find myself in the debt of nearly all my correspondents.

The photographs you sent were I think excellent and I prize them highly.

[The Cub?] and I arrived at home on the 10th inst. and will remain until the 3rd of Apr. The time passes so swiftly it seems a very short vacation. We expect Charlie Zug and John Culver to return to school with us. Ira is home from the Army. He has not yet decided when he will return perhaps not at all.

There are a number of Soldiers home in our neighborhood, either paroled or exchanged prisoners. Some who had not been heard from months and during this time have been languishing in rebel prisons. How we long and pray for the day when you will all return. From the glorious news we are having I sometimes hope the time is not far distant. If Grant and Sherman continue successful surely the end must soon come. Our Township is making an effort to fill our quota, by offering bounty. I can hardly say I wish them to succeed, were it not that those who can best afford and really deserve to be drafted are almost invariably the ones who escape.

We had quite an excitement in school a few days before the close, occasioned by some of the ladies wearing rebel flags. We of course considered it an insult to the school and to the returned soldiers these as well as to a number of our students who had shortly before left us for the Army, and did not hesitate to express our contempt for them and the cause they declare themselves devoted to.

It is indeed a lamentable fact that the loyal States are polluted by so many of this cowardly class of people and there is no way to get rid of them and thus more speedily end the war.

We received a letter from Aunt Kate some days ago. She seems right well pleased with her situation. It will be much more pleasant in Summer. After having Aunty with us so long it seems strange to come home and not find her here.

Mother recived a letter from Aunt Lizzie Zug this morning. They are all quite well and expect soon to move to their new home.

We are having beautiful weather just now which is certainly very acceptable after a weeks rain. The roads have been almost impassable, but are now getting better. We hear to day that the Susquehanna is rising to an alarming height, occasioning not only a great loss of property but much distress, and serious fears are entertained that the bridge will be swept away. Many above Harrisburg have already gone.

The dwellings in the lower streets of the city are partly filled with water and those on the island gone. Is Aunt Mary in Pontiac? when you write to her give her my love, and also Young Master Culver His picture is the cutest little thing I have seen for a long time. All join me in much love to you and earnest prayers for your safety. Write as soon as convenient to

Your affect neice
Fannie H. Miller.
State Normal

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