I thought while I had a few spare moments I would write to you

Joseph Culver Letter, April 1, 1864, Page 1Covington 1 April 1864
Lieut J.F. Culver.
Dear Sir

I thought while I had a few spare moments I would write to you. I had a letter almost written to you but it was so mixed up that I thought you could not understand any thing I wrote. I dont know how this will be maybe a little better & maybe worse, but I will send it anyhow and have to beg your pardon for writing such an one. It is noon and my Pupils have all gone to dinner but one and he is makeing such a racket I can hardly write, so please pardon mistakes and poor writing I am teaching just one mile east of Covington, a small summer school….

My Sister Mrs. Minton has written to you and I guess gives you all the particulars, so I will not say any thing only that I was sick when my brothers remains came and was just able to go to the cemetry. I cannot realize yet that he is gone never more to return. It is all like a strange dream, Alas! there is too much reality in it. I will miss him Oh! so much. He was always so kind to me. I was his pet when small and his favorite when older. When I was but nine & Joe. 12, I took very ill with the Typhoid fever, afraid I would die. He was working in a brick yard about 1 1/2 miles from town and he would carry brick all day and then as soon as he had his work done would walk home to see me, shortly after that he left home to work in Clark Co. about evry 4 or 6 weeks he would come home to see us. I dont think he ever came home without bringing me a present of some kind. All his letters were written and directed to me.

I can think of my dear brother sick, wounded, or suffering in a hospital; but not dead, Oh! no not dead. I cannot help but think he will soon be at home. He is at home now. He is in a better home than we could give him. When I think of my brother being gone, I think he has gone away and will send for me to come to him as he very often did when he was working away from home. I will have to close for the present as the children are gathering in. Adieu.

Evening. School is now dismissed and I am alone. How pleasant to sit down in a quiet room after being on my feet almost all day and hearing almost evry kind of noise at recess and noon that a child can make. But you know all about it so I will say no more. And you are acquainted in Ohio are you? When this cruel war is over and you return home I hope you will come to Ohio to see your friends and then you must not forget Cov__. We feel like we are acquainted with you, and indeed we wish you to class us among your friends, You have been a friend to my brother and his friends are ours. He frequently spoke of you in his letters home. He said there were not many boys blest with as good officers as he had. My other brother in the army (John) has a very good Capt., I think. I know nothing about his other officers. I have the same acquaintance with Capt. Johnson that I have with you. We have corresponded some times but have never met. He is also a married man and I think must have a very good wife if all be true he says.

I supose you know I have a brother in California has been gone six years. What a shock my brothers death will be to him. He was always so proud of Joe. Joe was very fond of reading and that pleased Henry. Morning. I had to stop as it was getting late. Now I will write untill school time. Yesterday evening when I came home two letters were waiting for me, one from Nashville the other from Dayton. My sister asked me who the one from Nashville was from. Before thinking I said “from Joe, of course.” I cannot think it possible that he is dead, yet it is so, I will not murmer, It was God’s will. In a very – very short time I will see him. Ah what a happy meeting…….

You said truly, I have other ties in Heaven. I have a father and sister there, I was but 4 weeks old when my Father died and my sister went a long time before my Father. I do not know what it is to have a Father, that is an earthly Father. I sometimes think I would be the happiest girl in the world if I but had a Father to love me. I have such a good mother though, and brothers and a sister…… I had two loved cousins to die with the milk sickeness last fall. They were so good and so pretty. The oldest (a girl) was 11 yrs. the other (a boy) 9 years. Danny died at 6 in the morning and Jennie at 7, just one hour apart. They was both buried together, A prettyer sight I never saw, beautiful yet sad. I loved them dearly. They were always so bright and happy……. Your wish is granted. Our Photos. are yours. We could not refuse you if we would, you have been so kind. Now I have a Boon to ask. I have your Photo, my brother sent me two of yours. I would like so much to have your Wife’s Photo, also your little boys if you have any to spare. I want to get an Album and want them to put in it. Joe. was going to buy me one but never did. He has sent me several Photos of the boys in his Co N. Hill, C. Yetter C. Scanlan A. Hueston F. Hueston H. Polk J. Mc Dermot and several others with no names written on He also sent me the Co. [Record?], I have your Photo. in it, and would like Capt. Hoskins and Lieut Smiths. I recd. a letter from Josephus Ullery but from no others. I would like to hear from all. All soldiers are my brothers, I think I have other brothers in the 129th Co. A. if not my brother Joe. I hope he is there yet in the minds of his brother soldiers.

Several young ladies made two wreaths of evergreen and tied them with crape and put on his coffin, one dropped off at the Cemetry, and Eld. Ellis (our minister) picked it up and laid it on the grave and made some very touching remarks He is so good, and kind, He has two sons in the army, one in the 3 [-7th?] Ind. Co. D. I dont remember what Marshall is in, Charlie is quiet, sober & very thoughtful, Marshall and Joe. could never like each other, I fear I tire you, I forget myself and think I am writing to one of my brothers. They allways like long letters.

Please pardon mistakes and poor writing. Think of us as friends, Please give my respects to all brothers friends. I will write to Lieut Smith in a few days.

Ever Your Friend
Delia Shellenbarger.

About Colleen Theisen

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