I arrived in Frankfort about noon to-day in charge of our Brigade train

Joseph Culver Letter, October 20, 1862, Page 1

Frankfort, Ky., Octr. 20th 1862

Dear Wife

I arrived here about noon to-day in charge of our Brigade train. I am Acting Brigade Quarter Master for a few days & came here after what was left, not having sufficient wagons to transport.1 I shall start for Camp at Crab Orchard sometime to-morrow.

I have been quite sick for several days with a Bilious attack but am now much better. I left Camp night before last & rode through some 66 miles. I recd. yours of the 14th on my arrival here & yours of prior dates, 2 in number. Yesterday on the route, I met Maples about halfway out yesterday morning.2 I am happy to hear that you & baby are so well & that Bro. Johnie [Murphy] is a little better. I earnestly hope he may get well soon.

I was fortunate enough to get a bed both nights out, & I think it accounts for my feeling so much better. It is the first time I have been in bed since I left home. Whoever “Livingston” is, he must have weak legs. I was tired but got along well enough. Allen Fellows is with the Regiment. I do not know how such reports get home unless some one was frightened. I have been ordered to do nothing as yet I was not able to do, & I anticipated hardships before I left home.3

I wrote to Bro. Utley at Crab Orchard & am glad to hear of Maggie’s condition.4 With regard to renting the house, I want you to suit yourself. I shall be satisfied with your selection of a renter. The all important point is to get the rent, for from present prospects there will be no pay forthcoming for months.5

I hope Bro. Thomas may receive the richest of Heaven’s blessings.6 My words cannot express what I feel. I have not heard from home [Carlisle], yet I requested that the letters be first sent to you. I cannot account for it. Have you written to Mother [Culver] yet, if not, will you not do so? We have been so much of the time on the march lately that I could not write as often as I wished.7 I found another lot of stamps in one of your letters, again for which you have my thanks.

The Army when I left Camp were about to march; no one knew their destination. I may get a dispatch from them to-morrow. If so, I will let you know.8

I shall be very happy to see “Papa’s Boy” & would like to see the boy’s mother, too.9 I sent my Bible home & took a testament; I had no way to carry it.

Consult Bro. Utley about renting: I think he will assist you. Should you rent it furnished, be careful of my papers, though I believe it will rent for more & be cheaper in the end to move the furniture out or keep one room. You will need some of it wherever you go. Be careful & reserve the privilege of taking possession at the end of each month.

It is getting quite late, & I have some business to attend yet to-night. I will answer yours at length when I get into Camp. Give my love to Johnie. I do hope he will soon recover, also to mother, Maggie, Mary, Leander, Thomas, Sammy &c. Kiss baby for me & tell Johnie to kiss my wife for me. Farewell. Write soon & often. You do not know how much good it does me; it is better than medicine. Send me a paper occasionally; I just got the news to-day of the last fight in the East some three weeks ago.10

Again Farewell.

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

P.S. Smith must have made a mistake.

  1. When the 38th Brigade marched from Frankfort to Crab Orchard, the wagon train had been left behind. Lieutenant Culver, as acting brigade quartermaster, had the responsibility of forwarding the train and supplies stockpiled at Frankfort to the command. []
  2. See J. F. C.’s letter of October 1, 1862. []
  3. Much of the Civil War correspondence of Captain and Mrs. Culver has been preserved, but among the missing letters is Mrs. Culver’s of Oct. 14. In this, she apparently referred to a letter from a soldier signed “Livingston,” which had circulated in Pontiac, describing in exaggerated terms hardships encountered by the 129th Illinois on the march from Louisville to Frankfort. []
  4. Maggie was Mrs. Culver’s eldest sister (24-year-old Margaret, the wife of Leander Utley). []
  5. Mary Culver, in the missing letter, had broached renting their house and moving in with her mother. []
  6. Bro. Thomas Murphy was Mary Culver’s eldest brother. He was born in Ireland in 1835 and brought as a child by his parents to the United States. He learned the machinist trade and settled in Cleveland, where he found work with a steamship company.Etta I’Dell Clarke Culver, “Robert Murphy and Some of His Descendants,” unpublished manuscript, p. 93. []
  7. Mary Culver, in her letter of Oct. 8, had mentioned receipt of a letter from Thomas, which she had forwarded to her husband. Mary Culver to J.F.C., Oct. 8, 1862, Culver Collection. []
  8. Buell on the 17th had notified General in Chief Halleck that if the foe’s trains had passed beyond London, it would be useless to continue the pursuit. Whenever this occurred, Buell would “direct his main force by the most direct route upon Nashville, where its presence will certainly be required, whether for offensive or defensive objects.” O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. XVI, pt. II, pp. 621-622. []
  9. Mary Culver had promised to forward photographs of their month-old son, whom she referred to as “Papa’s Boy.” Mary Culver to J.F.C., undated, Culver Collection. []
  10. On September 17, 1862, the Army of the Potomac under Maj. Gen. George B. McClelian had defeated Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at the battle of Antietam. []

About Colleen Theisen

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

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