I intended to write on Saturday night, but I was called out on the Picket line

Joseph Culver Letter, September 7, 1863, Letter 2, Page 1

Head Qrs. Co. “A” 129th Ills. Vol. Infty.
Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 7th 1863

My Dear Wife

I intended to write on Saturday night [the 5th], but before I got fairly seated was called out on the Picket line & did not get in until 10 o’clock A.M. of yesterday. Immediately on my return, I started for church & afterward hoped to be able to find Sabbath School somewhere in the city but failed.

Last night I went to church again, making the first Sabbath at church since I have been in the Service. I am sorry to say that I did not realize the pleasure I anticipated. The feeling existing still in the hearts of the people manifests itself in all their actions, and but a few minutes sufficed to satisfy me that my presence was not wanted & that my appearance destroyed the pleasure of others. In the evening I had the most positive evidence of their ill feeling: Noses turned up in scorn & I was left in undisputed possession of several feet of space on all sides.

I hoped to receive a letter from you this morning but was disappointed. My health is quite good. Our duties are very heavy at present. Capt. Hoskins started to Alabama this morning. We furnish two train guards each day, & my turn will return very soon. Our daily details amount to about 180, almost as heavy as our first month at Gallatin.1

Lieut. Smith is due here on Thursday. All furloughs & Leaves of Absence are stopped here, so that the hopes we entertained of visiting home must be indefinitely deferred. The health of the Regt. is good. The man in Co. “K” whose wife & child have been here all summer lost their child last week. I did not learn what disease. Nelson’s youngest child is very ill & not expected to live.

The weather is almost insufferably warm to-day & was yesterday. The nights, however, are very cool & comfortable.

I have not yet had an opportunity of answering Sarah Williams’ letter. I wrote to Mother [Murphy] a few days ago, directing to Pontiac. No late news from any source has reached me.

I hope you are enjoying yourself among our friends. I hope you will be punctual in reporting progress. You need not be surprised at Sister Jennie’s success after your own fears.2 I believe I gave you due warning that you had married into a prolific family, did I not?

The hour for Battalion Drill has arrived, &, as the mail leaves before I return, I must close.3 I earnestly hope to hear from you soon. Kiss Frankie for me. Give my love to all the family. Write to me very often. May God Bless & keep you both in the enjoyment of health. I shall write again very soon. Farewell,

Your Affect Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. J.F.C. overstated the number of men required for these details. The number of men detailed daily was four officers, “11 noncommissioned officers, and 117 privates, a total of 132.” Speed to Case, Sept. 1, 1863, Regimental Papers, 129th Illinois, NA. []
  2. Reference is to the expected birth of a child to Jennie and H. C. Cheston in November. Mary Culver to J.F.C., Aug. 28, 1863, Culver Collection. []
  3. Battalion drill was held from 4:30 to 6 P.M. twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Brigade drill was held at 3:30 P.M. three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, in a field to the right of the Granny White Pike. Ward to Case, Sept. 17, 1863, Regimental Papers, 129th Illinois, NA. []

About Colleen Theisen

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