Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, September 2013

HANS VON GERSDORFF (ca. 1455-1529). Feldtbuch der Wundartzney. Strasbourg: Bey Hans Schotten, 1530.

Gersdorff was a milGersdorff-149-lxxii-001itary surgeon who gained wide experience during forty years of campaigning and was an expert in the treatment of battlefield injuries. His work covers anatomy, surgery, leprosy, and glossaries of anatomical terms, diseases, and medications. Gersdorff emphasized a well-founded knowledge of anatomy because the surgeon was frequently called on to deal with extensive bodily trauma. He derived his anatomy from Arabic authors and works of Guy de Chauliac. The surgical portion of the work was devoted to wound surgery and covers the methods he employed for extracting foreign objects and amputating limbs. He used a tourniquet to control bleeding when amputating and covered the stump with the bladder of a bovine to help control postoperative hemorrhaging. Of special interest are the sedatives and analgesics, although he appears not to have used them in his practice. The section on leprosy is given over largely to remedies for a disease he did not believe could be cured.


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H. Stanley Thompson to speak on Abraham Flexner’s Contributions to the Univ. of Iowa COM


The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society invites you to hear:

H. Stanley Thompson, Emeritus Professor,  Department of Ophthalmology, University of Iowa College of Medicine speaking on:

 “Abraham Flexner’s Contributions to the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine”

Thursday, September 26, 2013, 5:30-6:30
Room 401
Univ. of Iowa Hardin Library for the Health Sciences

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Free workshop on toxicology resources at Hardin!

The purpose of this session is to introduce you to various environmental health and toxicology resources found on the National Library of Medicine’s website. Learn about important resources such as the Household Products Database, TOXMAP and TOXNET.

The resources discussed in this session will be of interest to the researcher/scientist, health professional and the general public.

Our next session is:
Tuesday, September 3rd 1:00-2:00pm (Location: East Information Commons)
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Get to know PubMed with our PubMed Express workshop on Wednesday

PubMed is the National Library of Medicine’s index to the  medical literature and includes over 17 million bibliographic citations in life  sciences. This 30-minute session will show you how to find relevant articles fast using some of the basic features in PubMed.

Our next session is
Wednesday, September 4th 12:00-12:30 pm (Location: East Information Commons)

No time for class?  Ask your librarian for a private consult!

graphic of pubmed

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I have been prevented from writing regularly, owing to the press of business

Joseph Culver Letter, August 30, 1863, Page 1

Head Qrs. Co. “A” 129th Ills. Vols.
Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 30th 1863

My Dear Wife

I have been prevented from writing regularly, or at any great length for several days, owing to the press of business. We have been preparing for Inspection & Review which takes place to-morrow, also muster for Pay & the closing up of our monthly accounts. Jos. Allen was left sick in Gallatin, & Alf Huetson has been home on Furlough, leaving all the writing on my hands. Huetson returned yesterday evening. He has been sick all the time he was home but is improving rapidly & will be well soon.

I was disappointed this morning in not hearing from you, as I expected to receive my first letter from you dated at Carlisle containing very interesting information. I hope I shall be made happy to-morrow by the receipt of it.

My health is quite good as it ever was, for which I hope I am duly thankful. Mrs. Cropsey arrived here yesterday evening; she is quite well & will remain a week. Maples, Russell & Scott McDowell will start for home in the morning; they have gone into the city to be ready for the morning train. They sold out to John Blackburn. Scott intended to go in with him but got home-sick & backed out.1

Lieut. Smith & his wife will start for Pontiac day after to-morrow if her health continues to improve. She is very much better. They are still in Gallatin.

I received a short note from Abbie Remick by Alf Huetson yesterday. She intended to start for school on the 29th for 5 months. Lida [Remick] is not going at present. Our friends are all well. I wish to send for my overcoat by Smith but do not know where to direct him to find it. I shall therefore direct him to Sis, presuming that she will know where it is.

I intended to write Sister Maggie [Utley] to-day but did not succeed. I will try and do so soon & will send for your pistol as you wish it. Orlin Converse returned from Pontiac yesterday evening.2 He saw Mr. Utley who told him the family are all well. I shall enquire more fully at the first opportunity.

The weather is unusually cool for this season of the year but healthy. We have but very few sick in the Regiment. I have had no letters except the one I have mentioned from Abbie since I last wrote. Abbie informs me that she would send me her photograph on the 28th, so I shall look for it in a few days.

Mrs. Laurence is assisting at the Boarding home where we board; Mrs. Nelson is keeping house, or rather room, in a little house near camp; Mrs. Loir & Mrs. Fisher have a tent in rear of the camp; Lt. McKnight & his wife board down [the] street.3 He is improving rapidly in health and will be able for duty in 10 days or two weeks. His sister has been here & returns home to-morrow morning. I believe I have accounted for all the ladies that are here except Mrs. McDonald. She is still here; I met her this evening but did not think of asking her where she stops. Little Mary Nelson comes to my tent every day & is quite pleasant company.4

I have made the acquaintance of several little boys & girls that congregate around the camp, & the first Sunday that I am free I shall go to Sabbath School. I was at church just a few rods from camp to-night & heard a very good sermon (Baptist). The Quoir sang “Hendon” at close, & it seemed much like old times.5 I have heard much better singing in Pontiac, however.

I should have liked very much to have written to the Sabbath School to-day, if I had had the time, & I must try & write soon. I have not received Sarah Williams’ promised letter yet & fear she has forgotten to write. I received the [news]papers you sent & am very much obliged. Send again when convenient. You can scarcely imagine how anxious I am to receive your first letter from Carlisle. I know you have felt a degree of hesitancy in going, & I wish to know whether your first impressions are favorable or unfavorable. In your old home you had the assistance of old familiar scenes & faces to render the influences around you happy, but none of these things will be of any assistance in Carlisle. All will be new & strange, & I feel exceedingly anxious to learn whether our relatives & friends possess sufficient cordiality to fill your heart with joyous welcome. Tell me honestly all about your estimation of the many you may meet. You will pardon me for alluding to these things so often, and, if you knew how much of my thoughts your visit to Father’s has occupied my mind, you would not wonder at my anxiety. I have feared that you might feel embarrassed & lonely, & my old home fail to throw around you that charm which has so engulfed myself. But I shall wait patiently for your letter.

Give my love to all. Kiss Frankie for me. Make the best use of your time, & I pray God you may be very happy. Write as often as you can. May Our Father in Heaven keep you and surround you with every comfort and blessing. May we be saved from Sin by Grace Divine and finally be at rest in a “Home in Heaven.”

Good Night

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. John F. Blackburn, who had resigned his commission as 1st lieutenant of Company E on February 26, 1863, had contracted to replace Ed Maples as regimental sutler. Colonel Case appointed him to that position on September 5, 1863. William Russell and Scott McDowell had been partners with Maples. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  2. Orlin Converse, a 28-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company G, 129th Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to sergeant on Oct. 26, 1862, and was mustered out near Washington, D.C., on June 8, 1865. Ibid.
  3. Mrs. Laurence of Pontiac was the wife of Pvt. Reuben Laurence of Company G; Mrs. Fisher of Pontiac was the wife of Sergt. Augustus R. F. Fisher of Company G; Mrs. Lore of Joliet was the wife of Pvt. Robert C. Lore of Company B; Mrs. Sarah Nelson of Pontiac was the wife of Cpl. Erastus Nelson of Company A; and Mrs. McKnight of Chenoa was the wife of 2d Lt. John P. McKnight of Company G. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA.
  4. Mrs. MacDonald of Dwight was the wife of Pvt. Joseph D. MacDonald of Company B. Four-year-old Mary Nelson was the oldest child of Erastus and Sarah Nelson. Ibid.
  5. “Hendon” was a popular hymn of the 1860′s.
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I had rather a tedious journey & do not think I shall ever travel the road again alone, with a baby

Joseph Culver Letter, August 28, 1863, Page 1Carlisle Penna. Aug 28th 1863

My Dear Husband

I reached this place safely & in health yesterday afternoon. I had rather a tedious journey & do not think I shall ever travel the road again alone, with a baby. I could tell you of a host of troubles, I had on the way which do to laugh over now, but I think would occupy too much time & space to enumerate Suffice it to say I had to change cars five times, & get my baggage checked as many, & wish one exception the only attention or politeness I received from a man was from a black one – long may he live – who got up and offered me his narrow front seat rather than see me stand up with a baby in my arms, while his white brethren comfortably kept their seats, I sat down and cried, I could not help it, I believe they thought I was a bad woman or they would not have treated me so. – –

I found no one at the Depot who knew me so sent a boy with my card to the house, & Hanna & Charlie came right down after me. I had written them when I would come but they have never received the letter. Mrs Zug was at the Depot when the Cars came but there was so great a crowd did not see me or if she did, failed to recognize me. I was very kindly received by the whole family, & I think I shall love them very much & enjoy my visit exceedingly. Mother is well & Father is better than he has been for some time. Mrs. Zug was visiting her friends in Carlisle and staid here last night. Her husband came after her today. I like them very much. Harry & Jennie ware up last night, they have gone to house keeping in town. They expected to have gone to Philadelphia today to attend the funeral of his brother, who died at Vicksburg. He was married in June an hour before he left for the Army. They received notice that his body hand not come & will not go till it does. You will be surprised to learn that in next November Jennie “Wins a silk dress.” Her twins were born the 24 of October, instead of September as we always thought. Wes. spent last evening with us, & his wife and children this afternoon. They seem very kind. I do not think he looks much like you but Charley does. I would have known him anywhere. Charley commenced going to school this week He entered the Freshman Class in College & is very busy with his books. Hanna is very busy with her household affairs but always has time to run up to inquire if she can do any thing for me. I occupy the room over the sitting room I believe I am turned around for I cannot tell whether it is East or West. Did you occupy this one too. It over looks your mountain anyhow & I take great pleasure in looking on it. It is much longer & not so high as I expected to see. I think Cumberland valley very beautiful judging from what I saw while riding on the Cars so different from the monotonous scenery of our Prarie State Fruit they tell me is not very plenty here this fall Father is having some cider made of apples while blew off during a hard storm last friday It is very nice Your Oleander sits in the yard & is thinning I am sorry not to see it in blossom It must be beautiful There were two letters awaiting me here when I arrived one written the 9th & the other the 20th I was so glad for them they seemed like a sort of an introduction Oh Frank you do not know how my heart failed me on my way to Carlisle particularly after I left Harrisburg when I was so near my journeys end It is well no [?] were offered for turning back In former letters I told you of the reason Mother did not come with me Se was to start home the day after I left Utica Frankie is not very well He took cold on the way & two new teeth are coming through which accounts for it I ment to have written you last night but was so very tired went to bed as soon as visitors left

My arms are swollen from the elbow up to the shoulder in the inside lifting and carrying Frankie so much I could not do much with him in the cars he would be crawling & bumping around on the floor & against the seats. But I must close. May [Home?] bless thee.

Ever Your Wife
M M Culver

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The Slow Future!

The Future Is Not Accelerating

I have some bad news and some good news for you about the future. First, the bad news. The future is not coming at us any faster than it ever has. We will not become immortal cyborgs with superintelligent computer friends in the next twenty years. The good news is that means we have a lot more time to get our shit together, and possibly to save the world. Welcome to the slow future.

Sculpture by Christopher Locke

One of the big mistakes that futurists make today is suggesting that our future is accelerating because science is operating at a fever pitch. We’re churning out so many magical devices that in twenty years we’ll have transcended death, disease, and poverty. Whether they’re wild-eyed Utopians like Ray Kurzweil or pessimistic doomsayers like Bill Joy (who popularized the idea of a “gray goo” apocalypse), they’ve made the error of assuming that all aspects of our lives will change as quickly as microchips do under Moore’s Law. When you consider that our technology has advanced from the first telephones to smart phones in roughly a century, it’s easy to understand why it seems like tomorrow is arriving faster than it ever did.

Geological Time and Species Time

The problem is that very few things in our lives are like technology. Indeed, most things on the planet — including many subjects of that supposedly accelerating scientific research — are operating on a geological timescale. Evolution, climate change, and the construction of the physical universe down to its atoms are processes that we measure in millions or billions of years. To understand the future properly, it’s crucial that we listen to geologists as often as we do computer scientists. Scientists like Peter Ward and Lynn Margulis, who study billion-year changes in life on Earth, have a much better perspective on tomorrow than someone who has only studied the past century. Earth-shattering events such as climate change are almost never visible from the tiny flash of time allotted us as individual humans.

Because of this observational challenge, it is hard to speed up the process of geological discoveries, whether they relate to climate change, or to materials science that could one day give us fine control over molecules. Unlike computers, which we invented, the Earth’s processes are something we can only understand through observation. And we need time to do it. Maybe not millions of years, but certainly not just a century either.

There is another kind of slow time that we often ignore in our rush to hurtle into tomorrow at light speed. This is called species time. It is the amont of time that a species, like say Homo sapiens, is likely to exist. Most species are only around for about a few million years at most — then they die out or evolve or a little bit of both. Often you hear about organisms like sharks or algae that have lasted for tens of millions or billions of years, but those numbers apply only to a general description of these creatures. Specific species of shark and algae evolve and die out over the millennia, though the same forms re-evolve over and over. In this chart (via Wikipedia) you can see what the typical lifespan of a species is. Note that mammal species like ourselves tend to last about a million years.

The Future Is Not AcceleratingSEXPAND

Most evolutionary biologists believe that H. sapiens evolved about 200 thousand years ago. So we’re pretty early in our species life cycle. I know we like to think of ourselves as special creatures, and to be fair it does seem like we are the only superintelligent life that’s ever existed on Earth. But it’s worth keeping in mind that despite all our accomplishments, like electric blankets and cities and videogames, that we are still part of a species whose lifespan is measured in tens of thousands of years.

This is particularly important when you start to think about a reasonable timeframe for the development of space travel and solar system colonization. There is strong evidence that humans first began exploring the oceans by boat about 50 thousand years ago. Reed boats are the technological advance that helped us reach the shores of Australia from Asia at that time. Now, there is mounting evidence that these same kinds of boats, lashed together with simple tools, bore our ancestors from Asia to the Americas about 15,000 years ago. But it was only about 500 years ago that ocean exploration really started to transform our civilizations. Thanks to new shipping technology, buttressed by international trade, we have begun to form a global society. Airplanes have helped too, as has instantaneous communication. But looked at from the perspective of species time, our interconnected world was 50 thousand years in the making.

What if our space probes and the Curiosity rover are the equivalent of those reed boats thousands of years ago? It’s worth pondering. We may be at the start of a long, slow journey whose climactic moment comes thousands of years from now.

In Your Lifetime

Let’s return to the one timeframe that we can all grasp easily: the length of a human lifespan, which under ideal circumstances is around 75-85 years. This is also the lifespan of our computer technology, whose development appears so rapid to us in part because we actually witnessed it in real time. Unlike the development of our climate, or of our species’ ability to travel the planet in miraculous vessels of our own making.

I think it’s obvious why we want to measure the pace of the future using technology, and make computer scientists our guides. Technological change is both familiar and easy to observe. We want to believe that other scientific and cultural changes can happen in similarly observable way because generally we think in human time, not species or geological time. Put another way: We all live in a hyper-accelerated timeframe. Slow time is essentially inhuman time. It is what exists before and after each of our individual lives.

That said, it’s undeniable that technological change and fast human time can profoundly affect events unfolding in slow time. For example, we must act now, in our lifetimes, to prevent climate change from destroying our food security, our livelihoods, and the millions of species who share the planet with us. We must act now to keep our space programs alive. And of course we must keep innovating new computers to help us analyze everything from genomes to carbon atoms more quickly and efficiently.

Still, we can’t expect all the efforts we make in our short lifetimes to pay off in our lifetimes, too. You will not live to be 200 years old. I repeat: You will not live to be 200 years old. Life extension like that is not going to happen in our lifetimes because quite simply it takes time to analyze our genomes, then it takes more time to test them, then it takes more time to develop therapies to keep us young, and then there is a lot of government red tape and cultural backlash to deal with too. Maybe our grandchildren will have a chance to take a life-extension pill. But not us. And that has to be OK. Making scientific promises we can’t keep will do a lot of harm. Ultimately it undermines the public’s trust in both science and people who prognosticate about it.

Many Timelines, All At Once

We need to think about the future as a set of overlapping timelines. Some events take place in human time. Others exist in the slow time of Homo sapiens or the planet’s carbon cycle — or even the Milky Way’s collision course with Andromeda. Problems arise when we believe that all time is human time. We lose sight of long term goals like species survival on a constantly-changing planet. We fail to prioritize projects like food security and instead focus on curing aging. Both are very worthy goals. But one needs to happen now, in human time. The other will take generations.

In a sense, we are trapped in accelerated time. We cannot feel or observe the slow future because we will not live to see it. But it exists, in a way that is more vital and important than any one of us. The slow future is our best hope if we want to steer humanity toward a tomorrow where our species survives.

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I recd. two letters from you this morning

Joseph Culver Letter, August 28, 1863, Letter 2, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A”, 129th Ills. Vol.
Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 28th 1863

My Dear Wife

I recd. two letters from you this morning dated the 22nd & 23rd & am happy to hear that you enjoy such good health.1 I presume ere this you have arrived in Carlisle & have recd. my former letters. I have not recd. Sister Hannah’s letter yet of which she speaks.2 I recd. a letter from Bro. Sammy this morning, dated the 22nd; he was quite well & enjoys himself finely. He was after Morgan & gives quite a glowing description of his marching.3

I am not aware that I owe Sister Maggie [Utley] a letter. I wrote to her twice & never recd. but one letter from her. I will write, however, in a few days. I wrote to Mrs. McDowell this morning. She is at Magnolia, Ills. & is improving in health.

Lt. Smith has Leave of Absence for 10 days & is expected to start for home to-morrow. He is still in Gallatin with his wife. She is so much better that she will be able to travel.

We are all enjoying good health. I have almost reached my old weight, 186; I weighed 182 about two weeks ago. I believe I never enjoyed better health in my life.

You talk of coming down here, &, if we remain at this place, you would find it very pleasant. I think board could be obtained very convenient to camp though prices are very high & would almost alarm you. The city is quiet & is but a Village compared to most of our Eastern cities.4

I hope you are happy & enjoying yourself. I shall direct all my letters to Carlisle & shall expect to hear from you soon after your arrival there. New Hartford has been very attractive to detain you there so long. Frankie, it seems, has not yet forgotten his dinner; he must have a good memory.5

I am sorry that you will not have the pleasure of seeing me in Carlisle. No leaves of Absence are granted from this Post. While we remained at Gallatin, I had good hope but here I cannot expect it. [Lt.] Smith only got 10 days, & his wife was supposed to be dying. I shall expect a letter from Sarah very soon.

I have heard of the change of tenants in our house but not one word from Fleming; I wrote to Remick to take the matter in hand & hope to hear from him soon.6 I will send for your pistol if opportunity offers but understand that no Furloughs will be granted. The papers you sent have not yet arrived. I hope you had a very pleasant ride with Cousin Thomas. I can scarcely realize that Frankie can say anything, he must almost be able to walk. I think he will find it very pleasant at Carlisle. I feel very anxious to hear how you like the place & our friends there.

Russell & Scott [McDowell] are both here yet & in good health. I have no late news from Pontiac except by Capt. Baird yesterday evening,7 & he saw no one but Chas. McGregor. Francis Van Doren had a letter from Hetty Antrim a few days ago. She was in Cincinnatti & quite well.8 Alf. Huetson will return to-day or to-morrow, when I shall have some news I presume. [Christ] Yetter has not written yet to you. He writes a great many letters mostly to Jennie [Gutherie] & Lib. Mr. Hill’s family are all well. Col. Cropsey’s wife is expected here to-day;9 she has been several days on the way from Louisville, not being able to get through.

I must close as I have considerable Company writing to do to-day. Huetson & Jo. Allen both being away, I shall be very busy for a few days closing up the monthly accounts.

I hope God may continue to bless us with health & keep us from all evil. May his blessings rest especially upon you & our dear Boy. Give my love to all the family. I expect you to be very happy during your stay at Father’s. Remember me kindly to all the friends that may inquire of me. Let us hope that the present success of our Armies is a harbinger of Speedy Peace,10 and live happy in the prospect of soon being united at “Home again.”

What has become of Mother [Murphy]? Give my love to her. I did hope she would go with you to Carlisle & feel disappointed. Will she remain in New Hartford or go home? Have you sent to Remick for money yet & how are you off? Will you need more soon? We will be paid off in a few days again. I believe I could write all day if nothing prevented. It seems I never get through talking to you. Farewell, May God bless My Dear Wife,

J. F. Culver

  1. Mary Culver’s letters of August 22 and 23 are missing from the Culver Collection.
  2. Hannah Culver’s letter is also missing from the Culver Collection.
  3. Samuel Alexander Murphy, Mary Culver’s youngest brother, like thousands of others had been called up to oppose Morgan’s raid north of the Ohio. Like most of these, he never got within 100 miles of the raiders.
  4. In 1860 there were about 37,000 people living in Nashville and its suburbs, and the city embraced an area of about six square miles.
  5. Frankie was proving difficult to wean.
  6. Fleming had been designated J.F.C.’s agent and placed in charge of renting their house and collecting and forwarding the rent.
  7. Cyrus N. Baird, a 29-year-old Fairbury “vocal music teacher,” was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as captain of Company E, 129th Illinois. Captain Baird led his company throughout the war, and was mustered out near Washington, D. C, June 8, 1865. Citing ill health, Captain Baird in August had returned to Livingston County on a 20-day-leave. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA.
  8. Francis M. Vandoren, a 24-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois. On April 27, 1864, Private Vandoren was detailed as a teamster in the supply train of the Third Division, XX Corps. He rejoined the regiment in August 1864. Private Vandoren was wounded at Averysboro, N. C, March 16, 1865. Ibid. It has been impossible to further identify Hetty Antrim.
  9. Maria J. Cropsey was born in Ohio in 1826. In 1860 she and her husband were living in Fairbury with their five children, all boys. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA.
  10. In the weeks following the surrender of Vicksburg and General Lee’s retreat from
    Gettysburg, Northern armies had continued to make headway. General Rosecrans’ Army
    of the Cumberland had swept the Confederates out of Middle Tennessee and was
    threatening Chattanooga, and General Burnside’s columns were striking toward Knoxville.
    At Charleston, the Confederates were under heavy pressure, while General Meade’s Army
    of the Potomac was again in Northern Virginia.
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I hope very soon to be made happy by a letter

Joseph Culver Letter, August 27, 1863, Page 1

Head Quarters, Co. “A” 129th Ills. Vol.
Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 27th 1863

My Dear Wife

I have not had the pleasure of hearing from you since our arrival here, but hope very soon to be made happy by a letter. I am in the enjoyment of excellent health. Our duty thus far has been very pleasant.1 I went out on Picket on Monday [the 24th] & had a very pleasant time. Our post was in a very pleasant grove quite near a house, the ladies of which supplied us with some fine music, both instrumental & vocal.

We made an exchange of Arms yesterday & have all new guns (rifled).2

The last time I wrote to you, I directed my letter to New Hartford, as you requested, but think there must be letters sent that have never reached me. We have recd. two large mails from the North this week but nothing for me. We heard from Mrs. Smith on Sunday. She was much better than when we left & still improving.3

The weather was very cold on Tuesday, so much so that it required an overcoat to be comfortable. It is quite cool & pleasant to-day.

Rumor says Sumpter has fallen & that Charleston is besieged.4 Rosecrans is advancing & Burnside descending through East Tennessee.5 The war is progressing finely, & we may hope for stirring events.

If I could only determine where a letter would find you, there are many things I wish to write, but I will wait until I hear from you. Wherever you are, I hope you are well & happy. Kiss Frankie for me. May God abundantly bless you & keep you from all harm. Write soon & often.

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. On reaching Nashville, Colonel Case of the 129th Illinois reported to Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, who was charged with responsibility of protecting the Army of the Cumberland’s depots and lines of communication. General Granger assigned the 129th Illinois to the 2d Brigade of Brig. Gen. Robert S. Granger’s Third Division of the Reserve Corps, and the men were turned to pitching tents, between Fort Negley and the Murfreesboro Pike, near the southeastern outskirts of the city. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXX, pt. III, pp. 37, 372; Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 34.
  2. Col. Case on May 30, 1863 had notified General Paine that the regiment’s caliber .69 muskets were obsolete. These weapons, manufactured more than 30 years before, had been altered from flintlock to percussion, and could not “be relied upon except at close quarters.” While they “would do a great deal of execution at one hundred yards if directed upon troops en masse,” at ranges in excess of 150 yards they were “very uncertain even in the hands of good marksmen, if fired upon an enemy deployed as skirmishers.” At a range of 300 yards, they were practically worthless. If the regiment
    were attacked by “an inferior force” armed with Springfield rifle musket, the “only
    salvation would be to advance rapidly upon the enemy in his own chosen position, and come at close quarters at once.” Case to Paine, May 30, 1863, Regimental Papers, 129th Illinois, NA.
    When no action was taken on this request, Colonel Case on July 27 addressed a communication to General Gordon Granger. Besides repeating his former arguments, he pointed out that the caliber .69 muskets were “constantly getting out of repair,” and he had been “compelled to turn over so many as broken and damaged that we have not enough now to arm our men. ” Case to Granger, July 27, 1863, Regimental Papers, 129th Illinois, NA.
  3. Lieutenant Smith had remained with his wife at Gallatin when the regiment marched to Nashville.
  4. The rumor that Fort Sumter had fallen was false. On August 17, Union batteries emplaced in Morris Island had opened fire on Fort Sumter. Simultaneously, Union monitors and ironclad attacked Battery Wagner. Although Fort Sumter was wrecked by the bombardment and most of its guns dismounted, the Confederates held onto the pile of rubble. Battery Wagner was abandoned by its defenders on the night of September 6, and on the night of the 8th a small boat expedition from the fleet attempted an amphibious assault on Fort Sumter but was repulsed.
    Union land and sea forces on July 10, 1863 had launched a campaign aimed at capturing Charleston. The Confederates, though dislodged from Folly and Morris Islands to the south of Charleston Harbor, fought on, and Charleston and Fort Sumter were not abandoned until the third week of February 1865. Daniel Ammen, The Atlantic Coast (New York, 1883), pp. 125-138.
  5. General Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland, having brought up supplies and consolidated its position, resumed the offensive on August 16. The Cumberland Plateau was crossed, and by the 20th Crittenden’s corps on the left had moved through Sequatchie Valley; Thomas’ XIV Corps in the center had reached the Tennessee River on a broad front extending from Battle to Crow Creeks; and McCook’s corps on the right was massed near Stevenson. One of Crittenden’s columns on the 21st made a forced reconnaissance to Harrison’s Landing, and on the 27th Union artillery was unlimbered and opened fire, shelling Chattanooga on the south side of the Tennessee River. Confederate General Bragg withdrew his troops from the city and prepared to defend the commanding ground beyond. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXX, pt. III, p. 217; Cist, Army of the Cumberland, p. 178.
    Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside on August 15 had started his columns south from bases in eastern Kentucky. His goal was to drive the Confederates from East Tennessee. Advancing by way of Stanford, Somerset, and Monticello, Burnside’s troops were in possession of Chitwood’s, 15 miles into Tennessee and 55 miles northwest of Knoxville, by the 27th. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXX, pt. HI, pp. 22, 195.
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