Head Quarters, Co. “A”, 129th Regt. Ills.
Gallatin, Tenn., July 6th 1863
My Dear Wife
We have had no train through yet & consequently no word from you. The news reached us, however, of a glorious victory in Pennsylvania.1 Longstreet & Hill killed, Lee seriously wounded & 20,000 prisoners.2 It is almost too much to believe, with the entire Rebel Army in full retreat. I hope it is all true, however.
I presume none of my letters have reached you. We are all doing well, Russell is rapidly improving & thinks he will be able to get to Camp tomorrow.
2500 Rebels have taken possession of the Rail Road near Shepherdstown3 & report says some 15,000 are advancing from Cumberland Gap.4 If it be true, I cannot say when we may have communication with the North. All their Efforts cannot affect us, however, at the present stages of high water.5 The Army of the Cumberland is advancing but with what results we cannot tell.6 Our force here has been considerably augmented since you left, & I think we should be able to hold our position against a very considerable force.7
We are all very anxious for News from the North. I shall expect quite a number of letters by the first mail. I have no news from Bro. Johnie yet, nor do I know where he is. Report says there is a hard fight at Franklin, Ky., but with what forces I did not learn.8 Our Cavalry are making a scout in that direction now.
I hope to hear that you are all well & enjoying yourselves. Frank will be quite busy hunting up his relations. I should like to be favored with a copy of his notes on Board the Propeller from Chicago. Give him a kiss for me.
I wrote a letter to my Mother to-day. I have no word from home since the invasion of Pennsylvania but hope to hear soon. If Lee’s Army is in retreat as represented, with a moderate effort I feel sure it might be routed before reaching the Potomac.9 I hope the final result will reach that position.
I have no word from Pontiac since Gaff returned. I shall be on duty to-morrow & shall not likely find time to write. Do not forget your promise to write every day. You see I have kept mine. May the Blessings of Heaven rest upon you, & the Establishment of National Peace give us an early opportunity to repair to our home to enjoy its comforts. I have tried to comply with your request to Pray. “Trust Thou in God for we shall yet praise him for his Wondrous Love.”
Remember me to all our friends
Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver
- In a 3-day battle at Gettysburg, July 1-3, the Union Army of the Potomac defeated General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. On the night of July 4, Lee’s army commenced its retreat to Virginia. [↩]
- Confederate losses in the battle, the bloodiest of the Civil War, were 2,592 killed, 12,709 wounded, and 5,150 missing or prisoners. Although five Confederate generals were killed or mortally wounded in the struggle, Lt. Gens. James Longstreet and A. P. Hill were not among the slain. The story that General Lee had been seriously wounded was unfounded. [↩]
- General Bragg, in a futile effort to check the advance of Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland, sent General Morgan to destroy Union supply lines in Kentucky. Morgan was to enter Kentucky at or near Burkesville, on the Cumberland River, proceed northward to the Ohio River, and then retreat out of the state by the route which the exigencies of the moment dictated.
On July 2 Morgan’s division crossed the Cumberland near Burkesville and started north. Riding by way of Columbia and Lebanon, the raiders passed through Bardstown on the 6th and effected a brief lodgment on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad near Shepherdstown. A train was captured near Lebanon Junction and the passengers robbed. Vigorous pursuit by the Federals prevented much damage to the railroad, and on the 7th, Morgan and his raiders started for Brandenburg, where on the 8th they crossed to the Indiana side of the Ohio River. O. R., Ser., I. Vol. XXIII, pt. I, pp. 700-703; Bennett H. Young, Confederate Wizards of the Saddle (Kennesaw, 1958), pp. 367-379. [↩]
- There was no substance to the rumor that 15,000 Confederates had advanced into Kentucky by way of Cumberland Gap. This story probably was released by some of Morgan’s men who had tapped the telegraph line, sending out messages calculated to cloud the situation and spread confusion. [↩]
- Recent rains had caused the rivers and streams of the region to flood and had turned unimproved roads into ribbons of mud. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXIII, pt. II, p. 518. [↩]
- Bragg’s army, having been flanked out of its fortified position at Tullahoma, was retiring on Chattanooga, closely pursued by the Army of the Cumberland. On July 4 the Federals crossed Elk River on a broad front, occupying Cowan, and learning that Bragg’s columns had withdrawn across the Cumberland Plateau. Ibid., pp. 512-515. [↩]
- On July 6 General Paine, post commander at Gallatin, wired Rosecrans that a large force of Rebels was in the area and that he should be reinforced by two infantry regiments and 300 cavalry. To hold Gallatin and guard 30 miles of railroad, he had 900 men, and if attacked could only hold the Gallatin earthworks. Ibid., p. 516. [↩]
- A company of Confederates on the 5th had attacked the details posted at Woodburn and Franklin in a futile effort to burn the depots and cut the telegraph. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXIII, pt. I, pp. 5, 820-821. [↩]
- The Army of the Potomac had also suffered frightful casualties at Gettysburg, and Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was not vigorously pressed.