In fulfillment of my promise made this morning, I should set down to write

Joseph Culver Letter, March 20, 1864, Letter 2, Page 1

Head Quarters, 1st Brig., 1st Div., 11th A.C.
Lookout Valley, Sunday Evening 11 o’clock
March 20th 1864
Dear Mary

In fulfillment of my promise made this morning, I should set down to write, and, were that the only incentive, I might send an apology and go to bed. But I wish to talk with you, & then I think I shall be ready for Sleep.

I did not write all the letters to-day I intended. After writing to you, which occupied my time till dinner, I wrote a long letter to my mother, which, with the little business I had to transact, occupied my time until 3 o’clock, when Col. Harrison came into the office and invited me to ride with him to Corps Hd. Qurs. to attend services there. I accepted, of course. We heard a very profitable sermon by the Chaplain of the 33rd Massachusetts Regt. from this text, “If a man die, shall he live again?”1 There was no singing, but one of the Regtl. Bands was present which played three very beautiful hymns. The ride was very pleasant.

Chris [Yetter] was here this afternoon. He brought over a letter which he wishes me to enclose.

In your letter recd. to-day, you remarked that Capt. Hoskins [is] looking very well. I think you were aware that he had stopped drinking. I hope he has not indulged since he got home. I intended to write to him to-day, & I may possibly enclose a short note to him in this letter.

It is quite cold out, but my fire is burning very cheerfully. If you only were here, so that I could look into your eyes & see them sparkle with love as they always do, & have your head on my shoulder, I believe I should be supremely happy. But as that cannot be to-night, I will trust in God for a happy reunion as soon as He in his good Providence sees fit. I shall look for a long letter to-morrow.

Chris [Yetter], Nate [Hill], and several of the boys were on Lookout Mountain to-day. They all give a glowing account of the sights to be seen.

I did not get Sister Beccie’s letter answered, and, as I wish to answer it at length, I will not send it for a day or two. I am really ashamed to send it to you, for it is so very strongly tinctured with disloyalty that you may lose all respect for the writer.2

A young man by the name of Small from Grundy County called on me to-day & said that James Murphy, a cousin of my wife’s, wished me to call & see him when I went to Chattanooga.3 I sent him word that my business was such that I could see no probability of my getting there, but I would be pleased to see him at my office. I could not think who he was, but it occurred to me just now that it must be the same James Murphy, through whom W. J. Murphy passed his property. If he is, I am not very anxious to make his acquaintance. It may be a son of his, however, & I will let you know when I find out.

I have heard nothing of [Pvt.] Sammy [Murphy] yet. If he has not started [from Springfield] yet, you can tell him that our Head Qurs. are on the right hand side of the Rail Road at Wauhatchie Station on his way coming down.

I must close & write a short note to Hoskins. If he is gone, you can retain or destroy it. You are also at liberty to read it. Give my love to all the family. Tell Mother [Murphy] I expect her to take good care of my WIFE. Kiss her for me. Remember me kindly to all our friends. May our Heavenly Father bless & keep you. I shall continue to pray for my loving wife. Live close to God, and may you ever be happy.

Tell me how your health is. Have you still those pains in your hip? I think you should advise with Dr. Capron.4 Perhaps he can cure it, & I fear sometimes that they are not caused only by your condition. Do not let any disease run too long before applying a remedy.

Good night, May Angels guard thee,
Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. The chaplain of the 33d Massachusetts at this time was Isaac S. Cushman. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. []
  2. Sister Rebecca Pague, like Sister Lizzie Zug and Brother Charlie Culver, was opposed to the Emancipation Proclamation and the premise that all men are free and equal. []
  3. James Murphy, a son of William and Ann Courtney Murphy, was born in 1824 near Belfast, and emigrated to America with his parents in 1835. The family settled near Utica, New York, where James learned the carpenter’s trade. In 1850 James, having married, moved west and settled on a farm in Grundy County, Illinois. W. J. Murphy was James’ older brother. Culver, “Robert Murphy and Some of his Descendants,” pp. 71-72. []
  4. E. W. Capron was a 37-year-old Pontiac physician. A native of New York, Dr. Capron in 1860 valued his personal estate at $600, and owned no real estate. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA. []

About Colleen Theisen

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