I feel rather certain that I shall get home this Spring

Joseph Culver Letter, February 21, 1864, Page 1

Head Qrs., 1st Brig., 1st Div., 11th A. C.
Nashville, Febry. 21st 1864
My Dear Wife

I recd. two letters from you yesterday evening, both mailed on the 12th, but one written on the 6th & 7th & the other on the 12th.1 I am happy to learn that you enjoy such good health. I will not undertake to answer the questions you have asked, for I feel rather certain that I shall get home this Spring. If not, I will telegraph for you.

If you get an opportunity to see Thomas Hill, ask him what he can do to assist me.2 The money of Tom Smith’s & Joe Shellebarger’s that I expected to borrow is in his hands.3

Mrs. Harrison will be here this evening; the Col. recd. a dispatch from her to-day. My going home will be delayed on Mitchel’s account.4 He has sent in an application for leave to go home & get married. I will cheerfully wait on him. I think he is more nervous about it than I was. He will probably bring his bride here.

I was at church to-day & heard a very good sermon. It was late when we got back, & now it is mail time & my letter very brief. I have been almost tempted to telegraph for you & give up the idea of getting home. I am afraid by the time Jim returns, which will be full one month, we will have marching orders. If I succeed in being sent for the instruments, it will not interfere with my getting a leave of absence next fall, but to get a leave of absence now would prevent it.

If I do not get home, I will write in full about the matters of which you write. Hoskins will be home next week; I will send by him. He is ordered to Chicago to appear against C. J. Beattie.5

You want me to tell you the next prettiest name to Mary. For dark eyes & dark hair, brunnette, I like Ellen, & for light hair & complexion, Jennie.6 Give my love to all. I must close. I hope to get home. May God bless you.

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Mary Culver’s letters of February 7 & 12 are missing from the Culver Collection. []
  2. Thomas Hill was a 43-year-old Pontiac Township farmer. In 1860 he valued his real estate at $13,000, his personal estate at $1,400, and lived with his wife, Mary, and four children. One of his four farm hands had been Chris Yetter. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA. []
  3. Joseph Shellenbarger, a 19-year-old fruit tree agent, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois. Private Shellenbarger died in the brigade hospital on March 31, 1864, at Wauhatchie of pneumonia. Thomas R. Smith, a 23-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois. Private Smith was hospitalized at Quincy, Ill., with wounds to the left arm received at New Hope Church, Ga., May 27. 1864. He received a medical discharge on May 18, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. []
  4. Adjutant Mitchell of Harrison’s staff was granted a 10-day leave on February 19, 1864, “to attend to personal business” in Bloomington, Ind. Ibid. []
  5. Charles J. Beattie, a Livingston County lawyer, had been indicted for forgery in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Ibid. []
  6. Mary Culver had written J.F.C. of her hope that their next child would be a girl and had asked his preference for a name. []

About Colleen Theisen

Outreach and Instruction Librarian. Lover of coffee, as well as 19th century photography, painting, tourism and print.
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