I wrote to you last night & told you I should return to Camp to-day

Joseph Culver Letter, October 21, 1862, Letter 2, Page 1

Frankfort, Ky., Octr. 21st 1862

Dear Wife

I wrote to you last night & told you I should return to Camp to-day. I sent the train given in my charge, & not being able to get teams enough, I am ordered to load the bal. on the Cars, & going by way of Louisville, take them to Lebanon where wagons will be furnished.1 So I shall be in Louisville to-morrow if nothing happens. I have only one objection & that is getting so near home I feel an earnest desire to go there, but, before you get this, I shall be in the Southern part of Kentucky again.

I feel in better health to-night than I have for two weeks. I have had a very hard day’s work & feel tired, but rejoice that the fever has left me & I am like myself again.

I shall not hear from you probably for a week as it will take me that time to get into Camp again, but there I am to have the picture. I did not think he [the baby] was large enough to make a shadow yet, much less a picture.2

I wrote in a hurry last night with regard to renting the house. I thought before I left that unless Bro. Sammy returned, it would scarcely be policy for you to remain there alone & especially as Sis would soon get tired. I spoke to Mr. Utley about it, & we concluded that as soon as you got right well again, you could spend your time at Mother’s & Maggie’s. He will attend to renting it if you tell him. I think Mr. McClary will make a very good tenant.3 If you rent to him, get him to plant those other lots with something. I cannot say what is best to do with the furniture. I dislike to cumber Mother [Murphy] with it & dare not sell it at a sacrifice, as we may never be able to get more. So I leave you to exercise your judgment & if necessary sell it.

I shall try & send you my Gold watch from Louisville by express if I get time. I hope you will keep it running, as it will be better thus. It is not safe here & is too valuable to lose.

Did Utley ever get anything out of Dr. Hulsey for my other watch?4 I hope to hear by your next that Bro. Johnie is much better.

Capt. Perry & I. G. Mott are with me to-night & going to Louisville.5 Perry is much better.

Give my love to all. I should try to send you a photograph but have had no opportunity & less money. I may be able some day & shall be very happy to do so. May God Bless you all. I often think of you & pray for you. I should like to write to the S. School but cannot find time. Give my love to the dear children.

Hoping soon to hear from you, I remain, as ever

Your affect. Husband,
J. F. Culver

  1. While J.F.C. was at Frankfort, General Buell, learning that the Confederate armies had passed beyond London, started McCook’s and Gilbert’s corps for Lebanon, the first stop on their march to Nashville. The Lebanon Branch Railroad linked Lebanon with the
    Louisville & Nashville Railroad, 40 miles to the northwest. The Frankfort & Lexington Railroad connected Frankfort with Louisville. General Buell, like other Civil War leaders, whenever possible employed railroads to ease the problem of supplying his army.
    The 129th Illinois broke camp at Crab Orchard the morning of Oct. 19, 1862, and started for Lebanon by way of Harrodsburg, Danville, and Perryville. On the night of the 21st, the regiment camped on the Perryville battlefield, and one of the soldiers observed, “It was a horrible site. Our men were well buried but the secesh some were covered with straw, some with brush and some was pretended to be buried but there heads and feet were sticking out.” Letter Books, 129th Illinois Infantry, NA; Through the South with a Union Soldier, p. 31; Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, pp. 9-10. []
  2. The reference is to the photographs of their son, which Mary Culver had promised to forward. []
  3. Brother Sammy was Mary Culver’s youngest brother. It has been impossible to identify further the prospective renter, Mr. McClary. []
  4. Dr. John B. Hulsey was a 37-year-old Fairbury physician. In 1860 the Kentucky-born doctor was living with his wife, Bell. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois,
    NA. []
  5. John B. Perry, a 24-year-old Livingston County farmer, had been mustered into federal
    service at Camp Pontiac on Sept. 8, 1862, as captain of Company C, 129th Illinois
    Infantry. Captain Perry, having received a surgeon’s certificate that he was suffering from
    chronic diarrhea, resigned his commission on Nov. 21, 1864. Isaac G. Mott, a 38-year-old
    Pontiac attorney, was mustered into federal service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in
    Company C, 129th Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to hospital steward on Sept. 9,
    1862,    and assigned to regimental headquarters. Hospital Steward Mott died on April 12,
    1863,    at South Tunnel, Tenn., of pneumonia. Compiled Service Records of Union
    Soldiers, NA. []

About Colleen Theisen

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