We crossed the river Sunday evening and are now in front of Atlanta

Joseph Culver Letter, July 19, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qrs. Co. “A” 129th Reg. Ills. Vols.
In the Field Near Atlanta, Ga., July 19th 1864
My Dear Wife

We crossed the river Sunday evening & are now in front of Atlanta.1 I recd. two letters yesterday, dated the 6th & 7th, and was very happy to learn of your good health. May our Father fill our hearts with gratitude for all his mercies and blessings.

I saw Jim Rawlins yesterday evening just as we were forming our lines.2 He says Bros. John & Sammy are both well; they lie about 1-1/2 miles to our left. I may get to see them to-day, but it is probable that our lines will be advanced to-day which may keep us all very busy.3

The greater part of our army has crossed the river and Rumor says our left rests on the railroad running from Atlanta to Richmond.4 If it is true, we may gain Stone Mountain without any very hard fighting, and thus compel the evacuation of Atlanta.

The weather yesterday afternoon & this morning has been quite pleasant, a cool breeze is stirring. We are all well with the exception of a few cases of diarrhea. I recd. a letter from Tom Smith yesterday,5 & he is improving rapidly. I am happy to hear that Lt. Smith is improving. Mrs. Fellows sent Allen two lbs. of tobacco by mail at a cost of only 8 cts. per lb. It is very difficult to get here. If convenient, send me 2 or 3 lbs. of plug tobacco (natural leaf). Fine cut would all dry up before it reached here.

Jesse Massey is at home but will have started for the Company before this reaches you.6 Tell Lt. Smith we have used all his letter paper & envelopes and to bring a large supply with him. If convenient send me by him a tin plate or two, a tin cup, and knife & fork, also a couple of towels.

May God keep you in health and make you happy. Trust all to him; He has kept us thus far & will still be with us. His Grace is all sufficient for us. I will pray for you as I always have done. In all my prayers you have been remembered, and will always be. Let us hope and pray for a speedy reunion. Give my love to all the family. I accept the kisses. Committing all our interests to God, and trusting in our acceptance of Him through Christ, I remain, as ever, in Love,

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Hooker’s corps had crossed the Chattahoochie at Pace’s Ferry on the evening of the 17th and halted for the night within one mile of Nancy Creek. This stream was bridged the next morning, and the corps advanced and took position on the right of General Howard’s IV Corps. Ward’s division was on the left. Before going into camp, the troops entrenched. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, p. 327. []
  2. James Rollins of Pontiac had been mustered into service on July 9, 1862, as a private in Company M, 1st Illinois Light Artillery. Report of the Adjutant General of Illinois, Vol. VIII, p. 655. []
  3. Company M had crossed the Chattahoochie on July 13 with General Howard’s IV Corps. On the 18th it had engaged and silenced a Rebel battery on Nancy Creek. Ibid., p. 666. []
  4. Soldiers of McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee, on July 18, had reached the Georgia Railroad, seven miles east of Decatur and four miles from Stone Mountain. Garrard’s cavalry was burning trestles and twisting rails. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 169-170. []
  5. Thomas R. Smith, a 23-year-old farmer, had been mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Smith was shot in the left arm at New Hope Church on May 27, 1864, and hospitalized at Quincy, Ill., until discharged on May 18, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. []
  6. Jesse Massey, a 30-year-old miner, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Massey was wounded in the hand at Resaca on May 15, 1864, and while hospitalized deserted on June 28, 1864. He rejoined the company on Jan. 22, 1865, and was mustered out with the regiment on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. Ibid. []

About Colleen Theisen

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