Head Qrs. Co. “A” 129th Ills. Vols.
Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 30th 1863
My Dear Wife
I have been prevented from writing regularly, or at any great length for several days, owing to the press of business. We have been preparing for Inspection & Review which takes place to-morrow, also muster for Pay & the closing up of our monthly accounts. Jos. Allen was left sick in Gallatin, & Alf Huetson has been home on Furlough, leaving all the writing on my hands. Huetson returned yesterday evening. He has been sick all the time he was home but is improving rapidly & will be well soon.
I was disappointed this morning in not hearing from you, as I expected to receive my first letter from you dated at Carlisle containing very interesting information. I hope I shall be made happy to-morrow by the receipt of it.
My health is quite good as it ever was, for which I hope I am duly thankful. Mrs. Cropsey arrived here yesterday evening; she is quite well & will remain a week. Maples, Russell & Scott McDowell will start for home in the morning; they have gone into the city to be ready for the morning train. They sold out to John Blackburn. Scott intended to go in with him but got home-sick & backed out.1
Lieut. Smith & his wife will start for Pontiac day after to-morrow if her health continues to improve. She is very much better. They are still in Gallatin.
I received a short note from Abbie Remick by Alf Huetson yesterday. She intended to start for school on the 29th for 5 months. Lida [Remick] is not going at present. Our friends are all well. I wish to send for my overcoat by Smith but do not know where to direct him to find it. I shall therefore direct him to Sis, presuming that she will know where it is.
I intended to write Sister Maggie [Utley] to-day but did not succeed. I will try and do so soon & will send for your pistol as you wish it. Orlin Converse returned from Pontiac yesterday evening.2 He saw Mr. Utley who told him the family are all well. I shall enquire more fully at the first opportunity.
The weather is unusually cool for this season of the year but healthy. We have but very few sick in the Regiment. I have had no letters except the one I have mentioned from Abbie since I last wrote. Abbie informs me that she would send me her photograph on the 28th, so I shall look for it in a few days.
Mrs. Laurence is assisting at the Boarding home where we board; Mrs. Nelson is keeping house, or rather room, in a little house near camp; Mrs. Loir & Mrs. Fisher have a tent in rear of the camp; Lt. McKnight & his wife board down [the] street.3 He is improving rapidly in health and will be able for duty in 10 days or two weeks. His sister has been here & returns home to-morrow morning. I believe I have accounted for all the ladies that are here except Mrs. McDonald. She is still here; I met her this evening but did not think of asking her where she stops. Little Mary Nelson comes to my tent every day & is quite pleasant company.4
I have made the acquaintance of several little boys & girls that congregate around the camp, & the first Sunday that I am free I shall go to Sabbath School. I was at church just a few rods from camp to-night & heard a very good sermon (Baptist). The Quoir sang “Hendon” at close, & it seemed much like old times.5 I have heard much better singing in Pontiac, however.
I should have liked very much to have written to the Sabbath School to-day, if I had had the time, & I must try & write soon. I have not received Sarah Williams’ promised letter yet & fear she has forgotten to write. I received the [news]papers you sent & am very much obliged. Send again when convenient. You can scarcely imagine how anxious I am to receive your first letter from Carlisle. I know you have felt a degree of hesitancy in going, & I wish to know whether your first impressions are favorable or unfavorable. In your old home you had the assistance of old familiar scenes & faces to render the influences around you happy, but none of these things will be of any assistance in Carlisle. All will be new & strange, & I feel exceedingly anxious to learn whether our relatives & friends possess sufficient cordiality to fill your heart with joyous welcome. Tell me honestly all about your estimation of the many you may meet. You will pardon me for alluding to these things so often, and, if you knew how much of my thoughts your visit to Father’s has occupied my mind, you would not wonder at my anxiety. I have feared that you might feel embarrassed & lonely, & my old home fail to throw around you that charm which has so engulfed myself. But I shall wait patiently for your letter.
Give my love to all. Kiss Frankie for me. Make the best use of your time, & I pray God you may be very happy. Write as often as you can. May Our Father in Heaven keep you and surround you with every comfort and blessing. May we be saved from Sin by Grace Divine and finally be at rest in a “Home in Heaven.”
Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver
- John F. Blackburn, who had resigned his commission as 1st lieutenant of Company E on February 26, 1863, had contracted to replace Ed Maples as regimental sutler. Colonel Case appointed him to that position on September 5, 1863. William Russell and Scott McDowell had been partners with Maples. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. [↩]
- Orlin Converse, a 28-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company G, 129th Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to sergeant on Oct. 26, 1862, and was mustered out near Washington, D.C., on June 8, 1865. Ibid. [↩]
- Mrs. Laurence of Pontiac was the wife of Pvt. Reuben Laurence of Company G; Mrs. Fisher of Pontiac was the wife of Sergt. Augustus R. F. Fisher of Company G; Mrs. Lore of Joliet was the wife of Pvt. Robert C. Lore of Company B; Mrs. Sarah Nelson of Pontiac was the wife of Cpl. Erastus Nelson of Company A; and Mrs. McKnight of Chenoa was the wife of 2d Lt. John P. McKnight of Company G. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA. [↩]
- Mrs. MacDonald of Dwight was the wife of Pvt. Joseph D. MacDonald of Company B. Four-year-old Mary Nelson was the oldest child of Erastus and Sarah Nelson. Ibid. [↩]
- “Hendon” was a popular hymn of the 1860’s. [↩]