It was my intention to write you a long letter last night, but my tent smoked so that I could not keep a fire

Joseph Culver Letter, March 30, 1864, Page 1

Head Quarters, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 11th Army Corps
Wauhatchie, Tenn., March 30th 1864
My Dear Wife

Your letter of the 22nd inst. came to hand this morning.1 It was my intention to write you a long letter last night, but my tent smoked so that I could not keep a fire in it. I went in the early part of the evening to see Joe Shellenbarger; I found him getting better.2 He is so much better this morning that I feel confident of his recovery. Afterward I went to see Capt. Hoskins & had a long talk with him about the sights he saw at Pontiac.

When I got back to my Quarters it was midnight & several papers awaiting me, so I went to bed without writing. We will be so very busy for the next week that I cannot promise you any very lengthy letters. I feel provoked that I did not write for some things that I need very much and have no opportunity of getting down here. I want some socks badly. If you get another chance, send me at least a dozen pairs of cotton socks.

I have not heard from Bro. Johnie; I can’t see why. To-morrow evening Sis is to be married. I will try and bear it in mind if I am not too busy.

I judge the hour to be about 3 o’clock, as the train goes North about 4 or 5. Chris [Yetter] has been sick for a few days but not seriously; he was walking around this morning.

I am glad to hear of the “extremely interesting, substantially, unfashionably &c.”3 You can give them my hearty congratulations. I would like to hear of the progress Mrs. Culver is making in the same direction. Capt. Hoskins says you are looking well. I do not know whether [Lt.] Smith hears from his wife or not; I never asked him & have not heard.

I told you that your idea of working in Strevell’s store was distasteful to me.4 I presume that it is not very much more so than any other pursuit in which you might engage; for, under the circumstances, I earnestly hope you will not bind yourself to any employment. I must confess, however, to some unpleasant recollections in connection with your suggestion.

My health is excellent. The weather is still very cold, not more so than it is in Illinois, I presume. I have been trying to gather all the news from Hoskins, much relates to strangers & is not so interesting.

Send me a couple pounds of fine cut chewing to-bacco if you get a chance. Some of Dehner’s is preferable. I will write to Thomas Hill as soon as I can get time.5 The mail is about to close. Alf [Huetson] just recd. Ledger No. 5 in which Bee and Ishmael have opened a Bee-hive. He seems much pleased. Alf is becoming quite famous in his new profession [topographical engineer]. His prospects for promotion are quite flattering. I believe he is the best Engineer in the Department, & he will soon reap the reward of his industry and perserverance. Every body not mentioned is well.

Write to me often and long letters.

May God bless you and make you supremely happy. Give my love to all & accept my heart’s best and warmest affections for yourself.

Very affectly.,
Your Husband,
J. F. Culver

  1. Mary Culver’s letter of March 22 is missing from the Culver Collection. []
  2. This was a rally before a fatal relapse. Private Shellenbarger died the next day, March 31, 1864. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. []
  3. This phrase refers to the marriage of a Livingston County couple with whom the Culvers were acquainted. []
  4. Jason W. Strevell owned a general store and had hired Mary Culver as a part-time clerk. []
  5. For additional information on Thomas Hill, see J.F.C.’s letter of February 21, 1864. []

About Colleen Theisen

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