Head Qurs., Company “A”, 129th Ills, Vols.
Wauhatchie, Tenn., April 24th 1864
My Dear Wife
This has been a Holy Day, & I feel much refreshed. We had preaching at 10 A.M. Bro. Cotton preached the funeral of Jos. Shellenbarger & 4 others who died since we left Nashville.1
At 1 o’clock there was a Sabbath School organized. I took Bro. Johnie around to see some of his acquaintances, as he leaves very early in the morning, intending to go as soon as the Officers were elected & thus evade occupying an Official position,2 but on entering, was informed that I was elected superintendent. I did not wish by any means to evade my duty, but I thought there were others who were more capable & I preferred to receive instruction rather than teach. I talked a short time this afternoon, and by request exhorted to-night from Ephesians, 2nd chap. & 8th verse. I had good liberty and feel rejoiced in spirit.
Bro. Johnie & Chris [Yetter] have been so busily engaged in talking over their private affairs that I am in my tent alone to talk a while with you; I will write until they come in. Bro. Johnie’s visit has been very pleasant, & I am very sorry that he is compelled to return so soon.
In your last letter, you express great uneasiness over the rumor of our leaving this valley. I hope you will not allow any movements we may make [to] give you any alarm. There is a prospect of a forward movement but none of a battle.3 It is so absolutely necessary that you should rest easy & be happy under your present circumstances.
I offered Sergt. Gaff my congratulations on his prospects, but he said it was stale news. Harry McDowell has much to say about Miss Emma Thayer in his letter; he eulogizes her very highly.
I hope you recd. the letter for Sunday you were expecting. About the time I was closing up my official business as A.A.A.G., I did not write as often as I was very busy and had but meagre opportunities.4 I did intend to write a considerable length, but Johnie & Chris came in & several others, & I have been detained until it is almost midnight. So I will close & embrace the earliest opportunity to give you full particulars of my visit. We are all well. May Holy Angels guard thee to-night. I may possibly be able to add a few lines to-morrow. Give my love to all. Write often.
Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver
- Pvt. James C. Monday of Company H had died of pneumonia at Bridgeport, Ala., on March 9; Pvt. John R. Phillips of Company E had died of smallpox at Tullahoma, Tenn., on March 17; Cpl. William M. Scott of Company K had died of smallpox at Bridgeport on March 21; and Pvt. James Burk of Company H had died at Louisville, Ky., on March 24. Compiled Service Records cf Union Soldiers, NA. [↩]
- Chaplain Cotton wrote the Sunday school of the Pontiac Methodist Episcopal Church, “Last Sabbath [the 24th] we organized a Soldiers’ Sunday School, and your old friend, Lieut. Culver is the Superintendent. Of course, it is a very different looking affair to what it would be if the children and ladies were present, but we can sing quite well, and pray and study the good word of God.” Cotton to Sunday school, undated, Culver Collection. [↩]
- General Grant in March had been called to Washington, promoted to lieutenant general, and placed in command of all Union armies. To destroy the two major Southern armies and crush the Confederacy, Grant planned a spring campaign. He would establish his headquarters in northern Virginia with General Meade’s Army of the Potomac and direct the campaign aimed at destroying General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. General Sherman with an “army group” which included General Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland was to hammer General Johnston’s Army of Tennessee. [↩]
- J.F.C. from Jan. 13, 1864, until April 18, had served first as Colonel Harrison’s aide-de-camp and, following Lieutenant Mitchell’s departure, as his acting assistant adjutant general. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. [↩]