July 24th 
All thanks to a kind Father, we are all safe & well. God has been with us. I saw Bro. John [Murphy] this morning, he is very well; Bro. Sammy was back with the wagons in the rear and is not very well.
The Enemy kept Shelling us until 8 o clock last night. They threw one shell into the fortifications on the left centre of my Company. It burst before it got through the Embankment & threw a vast amount of ground into the trenches cover’ng Billy Hughes & Ed Geller and several others.1 I expected to find some of them seriously hurt but no one was injured. We worked until a late hour last night, & I think we are shell proof unless some of the pieces come straight down. They have thrown quite a number of shells over us this morning, & a piece came down within a few feet of Major Hoskins a moment ago. We have recd. no injury thus far.2
I was told while up with Bro. John a little while ago that the carnage along the line of McPherson’s Army was terrible. They buried 1,700 of the enemy killed; if that be true, their loss must be 8 to 10,000.3 There will doubtless be a severe battle within a few days that will decide the fate of Atlanta. There was a large fire in the direction of the city last night, & it is supposed that some of our shells set fire to the city. We have several Batteries that can shell the city, but very few were opened.
It was almost cool enough last night for frost & is very pleasant this morning. How pleasant it would be to get away from all this tumult and enter the Sanctuary of the Lord this morning. I can imagine what a comfort it would be. Yet God is with us, kindly caring for and comforting us. Let our hearts praise him for all His mercies. We hope for a day of rest and quiet to-day. We have generally been moving or fighting and have seldom had the Sabbath as a day of worship. Our chaplain [Thomas Cotton] has not been visible since the day before the battle [of Peachtree Creek] of the 20th. He is somewhere in the rear, I presume, perhaps at the Hospital.
We have been favored with very pleasant weather except that some days were very warm. I presume you are not able to attend S. School and church this morning, may our Father comfort and bless you and give you Grace and Faith.4 It is sweet to commune with Him, to comtemplate his Power and Glory with his Love for fallen creatures. With all our Sin and unworthiness, He neither leaves nor forsakes us but his mercies are extended every day and his invitations and promises are not withheld from us. Let us then trust in the Lord forever for in Him is everlasting strength.
I may make an effort to write to the Sunday School to-day if we remain quiet. I must write a letter to Sister Hannah this morning. We expect a mail to-day and an opportunity to send letters out. Bro. John will be here after a little while & may write a line.
Give my love to Mother [Murphy] and Maggie. Tell them to pray for us & especially for me that Grace may be given me to discharge my whole duty and find favor in the sight of God. Remember me kindly to all our friends. I know you will pray for me. Let our hearts constantly praise the Lord for all his goodness to us. Write often, &, when your health will not permit your writing, get Mother [Murphy] to write every day if it be only one line to tell me how you are getting along.
May our Father deal kindly with you in your coming trial and grant unto you the full realization of all your hopes and desires.
Your affectionate Husband
J. F. Culver
- William E. Hughes, a 30-year-old miner, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Serving with the regiment throughout the war, Hughes was mustered out on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. Edward Geller, a 31-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Volunteers. He was promoted corporal on April 7, 1865, and mustered out on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. Allen was either Bartlett B. or Joseph, soldiers in Company A, 129th Illinois. [↩]
- Historian Grunert recorded that the bombardment killed two blacks in the sector held by the regiment. Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 88. [↩]
- Jacob D. Cox placed the Confederate dead in the battle of Atlanta on July 22 at 2,500. Cox, Atlanta, pp. 175-176. [↩]
- Mary Culver was eight months pregnant and would soon give birth to a second child. [↩]