Your letter of Nov. 25th came by to-day’s mail

Joseph Culver Letter, December 2, 1862, Letter 2, Page 1

Head Quarters, Company A 129th Ills. Vols.
Camp Near Mitchellville, Tenn. Dec. 2nd 1862

My Dear Wife

Yours of Nov. 25th came by to-day’s mail. I am very happy to learn that you are all so well but feel sorry at your disappointment when you learn that we are no longer at Bowling Green & with no prospect of going into Winter Quarters. You cannot experience a greater disappointment than myself; for it was a matter I contemplated for some time & even now, did I not feel so thoroughly convinced that the risk was too great, I would urge your coming but under the circumstances I dare not do it.1

I recd. a day or two ago the “Pontiac News” containing a letter dangerous in its effects & alarming were it true. I am sorry that such falsities should for a moment gain credence. I hope you will not allow them to disturb you. I wish you could see things as they are. I know you would be better satisfied.

You ask me to state such business as I feel anxious about. As I have written several letters & recd. no answer, I wish you would get definite answers to the following questions: Have I been properly discharged from the Boyer and DeWitt Estates?2 If so, let the certificates of discharge in all such cases granted under the Seal of the Court be given to you. Has the “Home” & “Winneshiek” Insurance Companies accepted of my final accounts and acknowledged the same in any way?3 Call on S. S. Fleming for answers. Ask M. E. Collins if C. J. Beattie has paid the amount due me to him, & if the same has been forwarded to the heirs of J. H. Dart and their receipts secured?4 Also whether any settlement has been had with Salathiel Hallam, & if so the amount paid to him.5 If Bro. Johnnie’s health will permit, he can readily get replies, & further I wish to know how Wolgamott has succeeded in collecting & if there has been sufficient in his hands to meet all the demands against me. If there is any overplus, you ought to have it. I have never recd. Saul’s letter yet & feel quite anxious to see it.6 I wrote to J. Duff & Fleming both but have never recd. an answer.7 I do not know why, as both promised to attend Strictly & inform me of my affairs. I presume however they are busy.

I shall submit to Bro. Johnie’s judgment in renting the house as you seem to have referred the matter to him. For many reasons I am glad Sis has succeeded in getting so good a place. I only hope she will have the moral courage to resist the influences brought to bear against her staying.8 I shall write to her soon, perhaps tonight; I have been intending to do so for sometime.

I conclude from your last letter that you have broken up house-keeping. I feel sure that some of your letters have gone astray, or I should have a fuller history. The date of the last before this was 16th Nov. I sent a letter yesterday by Mr. Jos. Reader which you will receive, I presume, long before this. I also wrote to the Monthly Union S. S. Prayermeeting & hope it may be acceptable. I was interrupted so often that I could not write that which I had premeditated. My health is quite good. Lieut. Smith looks for his wife next week. I presume she will come with Maples, & now, Dear Mary, I most earnestly pray God to bless and comfort you. I know it would be a lasting pleasure to both of us could you come, but God I believe wills it otherwise. I can give no assurance of coming home, but trust in God that in his good time he will allow us to meet. Let us pray that we may receive Grace to discharge our whole duty.

Give my love to all the family. I do not understand what you mean by Sammy’s having an operation performed upon his throat.9 I have never heard of any difficulty. Tell both to write. Remember me kindly to all our friends & Hoping that God will ever bless, I remain as ever,

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Mary Culver had not received the letters from her husband, telling of the regiment’s change of station to Mitchellville and discouraging her visit. In her letter of the 23d, she had written, “Oh how I long to read from you, ‘you may come.’ ” Mary Culver to J.F.C., Nov. 23, 1862, Culver Collection. []
  2. The Boyer estate refers to the property that had belonged to the late George W. Boyer, a Pontiac furniture merchant. It has been impossible to further identify the principals involved in the Simeon DeWitt estate. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA; History of Livingston County, p. 306. []
  3. Before entering service, Culver had served as Livingston County agent for the Winneshiek Insurance Company of Freeport, Illinois. []
  4. Marcellus E. Collins was a 30-year-old Pontiac lawyer. In 1860 Collins was living with his wife, Elizabeth, and valued his real and personal property at $2,500. Charles J. Beattie, a 32-year-old Pontiac lawyer, was born in New York. In 1860 Beattie was living with his wife, Eliza, and their two sons. He valued his real and personal property at $11,675. It has been impossible to further identify the principals involved in the J. H. Dart estate. Dart had been a pioneer Pontiac attorney. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA. []
  5. It has been impossible to further identify Salathiel Hallam. []
  6. Samuel S. Saul, born in 1832 in Pennsylvania, had moved to Livingston County in 1854, where he taught school, until being elected county clerk in 1857. Saul had been instrumental in prevailing upon J.F.C. to settle in Pontiac. In 1860 he was living with his wife, Kate, and their four children: Charles S., Rodman, Charlotte, and Eugene. Ibid.; History of Livingston County, p. 324. []
  7. Jonathan Duff was a 32-year-old Pontiac lawyer and had been J.F.C.’s partner. In 1860 the Pennsylvania-born Duff was living with his wife, Hannah, and their daughter, Emma. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA. []
  8. Mary Culver had written, “Mary [sis] is coming down to stay all next week. Mother is going to wean her Johnie.” Mary Culver to J.F.C, Nov. 23d,   1862, Culver Collection. []
  9. Mary Culver had written that her brother, Sammy, had gone to Chicago to have enlarged tonsils removed. 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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