Sovetskaia Kul’tura Digital Archive – Trial ends 6 September 2014

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I hasten to write knowing that you may be anxious to hear and a letter unexpected always gives pleasure

Joseph Culver Letter, August 6, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols.
In the Field near Atlanta, Ga. August 6th 1864
My Dear Wife

Yours of July 28th came to hand this morning. I am very happy to learn that you still enjoy good health. I wrote to you by yesterday’s mail and was not aware that a mail would go out until a moment ago, yet I hasten to write knowing that you may be anxious to hear and a letter unexpected always gives pleasure.

My health is very good and I have been blessed with all needful blessings for which all thanks and praise to our kind and loving Father.

The first train crossed the [Chattahoochie] river and run down near us yesterday evening.1 The sound of the whistle was very cheering. As a result, fresh soft bread was issued to the Brigade this morning. A team was also sent back toward the river to procure green corn for issue to the troops.

All the Company are well. Nate Hill has been on picket to-day & Chris [Yetter] has been writing all day to someone. I recd. to-day one copy of the Chicago Tri-Weekly, 2 of the N.Y. Tribune, & 1 copy of the [Pontiac] Sentinel, besides a large package of the Christian Farmer so we have had a plentiful supply of reading matter.

The weather has been very pleasant. The Rebs made a charge yesterday all around our line but did not succeed in even starting our pickets. We have made every preparation to receive them that a Yankee can invent, & they are welcome to try our lines at any time now.2

The loss in our Brig. yesterday was two killed. One of them left his post and was wandering out in front of the line when a Reb. picket shot him, severely wounding him. A comrade, in endeavoring to help him, was instantly killed. The wounded man died last night. Both were of the 105th Ills.3

Major Hoskins is here in the Company & well. I saw to-day Capt. Reed, Jim Morrow, Harry McDowell and many others of your acquaintances, all well. The news in the papers are good. Give my love to all. May the blessings of our Father still attend you and His Grace richly abound in your heart.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. The Confederates, on abandoning their positions along the Chattahoochie in the second week of July, had destroyed the railroad bridge. Sherman’s Pioneers rebuilt the bridge, and with locomotives now able to proceed south of the river, the task of supplying the “army group” had been simplified. The soldiers knew this, and received the first locomotive with “tremendous cheers.” Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 92.
  2. On the 6th the Confederates had repulsed a lunge by the Army of the Ohio toward the Atlanta & West Point Railroad. Along the fronts of the XVI, XVII, and XX Corps, Rebel skirmishers advanced and occupied the attention of Union pickets. This was to prevent General Sherman from withdrawing additional troops from his center and left, to bolster his right in its fight to sever the Atlanta & West Point Railroad.  O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 391-92, 404.
  3. The killed were William Morrison and Seela Simpson of Company E, 105th Illinois. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
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I sent a letter day before yesterday by the Chaplain Cotton

Joseph Culver Letter, August 5, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols. Infty.
In the Field Near Atlanta, Ga.
August 5th 1864
My Dear Wife

I recd. yours of the 27th yesterday and was very happy to learn that your health continues good. I sent a letter day before yesterday by the Chaplain [Cotton], but, as he intends going by the way of Middleport, it may be several days before he reaches Pontiac. He will give a full history of events.

My health continues good. We advanced our lines last night, and are now occupying trenches from 200 to 500 yards nearer the city than before.1 There was hard fighting on the extreme right yesterday evening; the 14th & 23d Corps were ordered to take possession of the rail-road between East Point and Atlanta.2 Rumor says that they succeeded.3 Should it be true, the last rail-road communication of the Enemy with Dixie is in our possession. At East Point, the rail-road branches, one leading to Macon, the other to Montgomery. The rumor comes to us so well authenticated that I am constrained to believe it. The Rebs will now be compelled to fight or evacuate as they cannot supply their Army long in Atlanta.4 May God give us Victory.

I wrote to Mother [Culver] this morning urging her to visit Pontiac, and asking her to fix the time so that I might try to meet her there. I also wrote to Harry & Jennie [Cheston] yesterday. I have not seen or heard from Bros. John or Sammy yet.

I recd. a letter from Miss Shellenberger requesting me to write an obituary notice of her brother. All the boys are enjoying good health, and though they have been working hard for the past two days & nights, they are in good spirits. Harry McDowell was sick for several days but is much better now. His health has not been good since his return [from Illinois], though he has managed to keep with the Regt. I should not be surprised if he resigned, and would not think it proper for him to attempt another campaign like the present unless his health should materially improve.

You can tell Miss Emma Thayer that I usually call him “Harry” & not “Billy” though I can readily change if she desires it. Remember me kindly to her and Miss Emma McGregor.

I heard that Abbie Remick expects to be married this fall when Milt. Lyons returns.5 I am not sure that “Hardtack, &c.” would be very acceptable at a festival, but I can assure all that it is very acceptable here.

I have not indulged in an ice cream since you left Gallatin, but I have no doubt I could do full justice to one. Perhaps I may give you sufficient evidence this fall.

I hope your anticipations of coming events may be realized.6 May our Father in Heaven sustain you. I shall be content with the result if your life and health be preserved.

I recd. a letter from Lt. Smith two days ago; he says our property is in good condition. I will write a short letter to him to-day.

I have quite a “rustic seat” this morning, constructed by cutting a seat in the side of a trench & using the surface of the ground for a table. It is very comfortable and has all the advantages of a cushioned arm chair. The trench is about 3-1/2 feet under ground, & my seat is cushioned with green leaves. I shall spend a greater portion of the day in writing if I am not interrupted.

It has been my intention to write a detailed account of the battle of the 20th July [Peachtree Creek] to the S. School, but I have not had time. I enjoy the [Chicago] Tribune very much & shall try and continue the subscription. I will write to Lt. Smith requesting him to bring me a pair of boots, tin cup & plate, and the articles of clothing you are making. I shall be glad if you are able to get the shirts made as they are far preferable to those purchased in the stores.

We are very comfortably situated at present & hope to be settled down in Atlanta before another week. Give my love to Mother [Murphy] and Maggie. The kiss was very acceptable but lacks vitality. Tell Mother I am very much obliged for her kind expressions of Love. I hope she will promptly inform me of the state of your health, should you be unable for a time. Remember me kindly to all our friends. May our Father in Heaven bless and sustain you and continue his Mercies to us.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Colonel Harrison reported that on the 4th, the brigade “built and occupied an advance line of works.” During the day there had been heavy fire along the opposing picket lines. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, p. 349; Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 92.
  2. Efforts by Sherman’s right (the Army of the Ohio and the XIV Corps) to secure a lodgment on the railroad connecting Atlanta with East Point were checkmated by the Confederates. In the fighting on August 4, the Federals had 26 killed and wounded, and no advantage gained. On the following day, Union operations were described as a “complete failure or worse.” O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 364, 388.
  3. There was no truth to this rumor.
  4. J.F.C.’s estimate of the situation was correct. Following the battle of Jonesboro on August 31 and September 1, which placed the Federals astride the Macon & Western Railroad, the Rebels evacuated Atlanta.
  5. D. Milton Lyons of Livingston County was born in Clinton County, Ohio, in 1841, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William B. Lyons. He moved to Pontiac with his parents in 1852, and entered Lombard University at Galesburg in 1858. Lyons enlisted in Company D, 20th Illinois Infantry. When discharged after expiration of this three-month term, he recruited Company F, 138th Illinois Infantry, which he commanded as captain until October 1864. Lyons married Abbie J. Remick on Oct. 25, 1865. History of Livingston County, p. 640.
  6. This is a reference to the impending birth of the Culvers’ second child.
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I am again in Clevd and will for at least two months

Joseph Culver Letter, August 4, 1864, Page 1[West?] Clevd Ohio Aug 4th 64
Dear Sister Mary

Your last was duly recd. and was very welcom Last Friday I recd. a letter from [name?] and Mother. And day before one from John They were well.

I am again in Clevd and will for at least [two?] months I am here because Mr [Snow?] has [sent me here?] to get and bring out a new [tug?] he is having built [here?] I do not expect to have her done before the [first?] of Oct. You may expect to be pestered with more letters [illegible] us. that I [illegible] in on them.


Bro Murphy
West Clevd Ohio
No 62 Clinton St

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I intended to write to you on Sabbath but was put on duty in the skirmish line

Joseph Culver Letter, August 30, 1864, Letter 2, Page 1

Head Qur. Co “A” 129th Regt Ills Vols
In the Field Near Atlanta Ga
August 3″ 1864
M.E. S. School
Pontiac Ill.
Dear Friends

I intended to write to you on Sabbath but was put on duty in the skirmish line on saturday Evening & was not relieved until late on Sunday Evening. during the past two weeks we have been so constantly moving that I have had no oportunity. As the chaplain starts for Home to-day I cannot Expect to write anything that he will not tell you much better than I can write it. I almost Envy him the pleasure he will Enjoy in seeing all your bright faces and hearing you sing those sweet songs so familiar and so intimately associated with the past. But I will live in hope that my turn will come yet And that God in His Infinite Mercy will grant me the privelege of Uniting my voice with yours in songs of praise to His most Excellent name. I have been blessed all these long weary months with Excellent health and amid all the dangers of the way through which I have been led I have Escaped unharmed. I have often thought that it was in Answer to the prayers of many kind friends that God has been so abundant in blessings to me. Our Countrys Cause in this Department is still gradually yet surely prospering. I hope you are all praying most Earnestly for Gods assistance that this war may speedily End and that the cause of Our Father may prosper.

We moved yesterday from one position on the Extreme right of the Army to the centre & we are now occupying trenches within one mile of Atlanta. The sharpshooters of the Enemy have wounded some of the men shooting from the top of the houses in the city. I heard just now that Levi Dell of Co “G” and two others of the Regt whose names I have not learned were wounded just now. The health of the Regt is good. Those of your friends wounded in our late battles are getting along well and we hope for their speedy recovery. I have many things to say to you but I must close for this time. May Our Father in Heaven bless all your Efforts to do good. Strive to please the Savior and he will bless your labor to be good and do good and you will be happy

Your affect. Friend
J.F. Culver

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Chaplain Cotton starts for home to-day

Joseph Culver Letter, August 3, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols.
In the Field near Atlanta, Ga., August 3rd 1864
My Dear Wife

Chaplain Cotton starts for home to-day1 & I hope to have an opportunity to send this by him. He recd. his resignation accepted yesterday. I have almost wished a few times that I was going with him but the campaign is not closed yet, and I must wait patiently. We moved from our position on the extreme right to the right of our Corps last night.

We are now within a mile of the city in the trenches built by the 14th Corps yesterday.2 My health is very good. The Chaplain will have much to tell everybody when he gets home, & from him you will learn all the news. His health has been very poor for a long time. In my letter of day before yesterday I acknowledged the receipt of the handkerchiefs. The Chicago Tri Weekly is coming regularly; I shall try and continue the subscription if we get paid off in time.

Tell [Marcellus] Collins if he will continue the “Sentinel,” I will send him the money as soon after pay-day as possible. I will enclose a note to him or send it separate by the Chaplain if he comes up.

Everything is progressing favorably here though slow, yet surely we are gaining ground. All the boys are well and in good spirits. The weather was quite cool yesterday but is very warm today.

Several letters were recd. yesterday of as late date as the 25th. I shall therefore confidently expect one by next mail. I would like very much to have written to the S. School, but did not have time on [the] Sabbath as I was on duty all day.

The right of our army is swinging around & will soon hold all the railroads to & from the city.3 There is a hill between our trenches & the city that hides it from view. It is said to be visible from the Fort on our left.

I have not seen or heard of Bros. John or Sammy for a week or more; as we are several miles nearer each other, I may have an opportunity to hear from them soon. God has still been with and abundantly blessed us. We have had no [prayer] meeting for almost two weeks as we have been moving around most of the time. Sergt. Gaff wished to know yesterday what I would contribute yearly to make Pontiac a station again. I could not tell him as I feel very anxious to complete the payments on our house. I have never learned yet whether Thos. Hill paid the $100 in his hands on my notes. Though I cannot be as liberal as I wish, yet I will try and assist the Church & Sabbath School. We will not probably receive pay until the close of the Campaign. When that will be, no one, save God, knows. All the news recd. by the papers yesterday was good. The Army of the Potomac is again in motion, & we hope to hear a glorious account from them soon. I recd. a letter from Harry & Jennie [Cheston] yesterday. Jennie says she will write to you as soon as she gets home. They are visiting at his Father’s. Marion (their baby, I suppose) was not well. The last news they had from Mother [Culver] all were very well at Home. Gaff has been posted about the state of affairs at home & pretended yesterday to have known it all the time. I think, however, he has been fooled & don’t like to admit it.

I am very happy to know that your health continues so good & pray that God may continue to bless you & sustain you in your trial. Let us praise Him for the many manifestations of His Love and Mercy. Give my love to Mother and Maggie and remember me kindly to all our friends. May the richest of Heaven’s blessings rest upon you.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

P.S. I am out of stamps.

  1. Chaplain Cotton had resigned from the service and was returning to Pontiac, Illinois. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  2. On July 24 the brigade had advanced its lines about 40 rods. Next morning men of the 129th Illinois were compelled to take cover behind their earthworks, as Confederate cannon hammered their positions. During the afternoon, enemy sharpshooters were active. On the 26th the bluecoats strengthened their works. Sharpshooters continued to bang away, killing one and wounding a number in Harrison’s brigade. After dark the division was relieved by Geary’s and placed in reserve. The Confederates on the 28th again advanced out of the Atlanta defenses and assailed the Army of the Tennessee, which Sherman had shifted from his left to his right. Ward’s division during the afternoon was ordered to reinforce the Army of the Tennessee. After the troops had marched about one and one-half miles to their right, Ward received orders to have them return to their camps, as the battle of Ezra Church had ended in the repulse of the Confederates. During the day General Hooker, who was very popular with the men, at his request was relieved as commander of the XX Corps and started north. The senior division commander, Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, became interim corps commander. On the 29th Ward’s division again moved out, marching to the army’s extreme right to support a forced reconnaissance down the Lick Skillet road, a mile west of the Alms House, by Davis’ XIV Corps division. The line of march passed Ezra Church battlefield, and many Confederate dead and wounded were seen. The reconnaissance was made without any fighting, and the division camped for the night in a large field, about one mile in advance of the Army of the Tennessee. Next day, the 30th, Davis’ division moved farther to the southwest and took position. Ward’s formed to the right and rear of Davis’ people. Earthworks were thrown up, but no Confederates were seen. Ward’s troops held their ground on the 31st and August 1, as Davis’ columns felt their way cautiously toward the Atlanta & West Point Railroad. On the 2d Ward’s division was relieved by the Army of the Ohio and marched northeast, rejoining the XX Corps near the Western & Atlantic Railroad. Next morning, the 3d, Harrison’s brigade advanced and relieved a XIV Corps brigade. The brigade’s left rested on the railroad, with the enemy works 800 yards to the front. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, pp. 329, 349; Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, pp. 88-92.
  3. The Army of the Ohio, on the 3d, supported by the XIV Corps, forced its way across the north fork of Utoy Creek. Before the Federals could exploit this success and reach the Atlanta & West Point Railroad, General Hood’s troops occupied and fortified a position covering East Point and the railroad. Cox, Atlanta, pp. 190-93.
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I am very happy to learn that my letters have added to your happiness

Joseph Culver Letter, July 28, 1864, Page 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Husband
J. F. Culver

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

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

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

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

Joseph Culver Letter, July 26, 1864, Page 5

[July 26, 1864]

Dear Mary

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

In haste,

J. F. Culver


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


Killed: 12


Officers 3

E. Men 49

Total 52


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

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

J. F. Culver

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Comparison of Citation Management Software: Free Open Workshop

Learn about the basic features of common citation management tools and discover which one is most appropriate for your needs. Class will include brief demonstrations of 4 tools: RefWorks, EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero. The focus of the class is to compare and contrast these products, as well as provide resources for assisting with decision making in choosing a suitable tool. Advice on getting started with using a citation manager will be offered. This workshop is hands-on and there will be time for questions at the end.

Our next session is:

Monday, July 28, 1-2 pm

Location: Hardin Library EAST Information Commons classroom

Register or contact us to learn more at (319) 335-9151 or by emailing

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