An old adage says that disappointments never come single handed

Joseph Culver Letter, July 1, 1863, Page 1

Head Quarters, Co. “A” 129th Ills.
Gallatin, Tenn., July 1st 1863

Dear Wife

An old adage says that disappointments never come single handed, & so it has proven as three or four mails from the North have been distributed & no letter for me. I presume now I shall receive none until the arrival of Sergt. Gaff when I anticipate a long one.

As it is quite late to-night, I shall not write at any great length. I was out all of last night on a scout, & it was too warm to sleep to-day so that I feel somewhat sleepy. I have failed from the amount of duty to write to the County Pic-Nic.

The Rebels made an attack on a scout from Richland near Fountain Head yesterday noon; killed one Lieut., two men, wounded several & took 12 prisoners.1 They number about 75 or 80 men. A Scout of 100 men are just leaving here commanded by Capts. Hoskins & Perry & Lieuts. Smith & McKnight.2 I hope they may succeed.

I know of no reason why the trains have not been captured, as there are several large forces near Mitchellsville & Richland. We learned this evening that a force of some 75 Rebels were within 8 miles. Just now reports are coming in from the Pickets who have been fired on. There may be a show for some fun.3 A little fight would be very acceptable just now.

We are all quite well. I feel anxious to know how you & Frankie are getting along. Nathan Hill [a private in Company A] is setting here blowing about having taken you out buggy riding at some time or other. Christ Yetter sends his respects.4 He is anxious to get home to see Jennie Gutherie.5 You might intercede for him a little. The boys are all in good spirits; Christ & Nathan Hill are trying to be funny & make me laugh so that it is difficult to write.

Remember me kindly to all our friends & Give my love to Mother & Maggie & all the rest. I have received no letters from any one yet.

I notice in the papers to-night that the Rebels are falling back from Carlisle, so that I may possibly here from there soon.6 I fear Bro. Charlie has joined the Army & left Father all alone. I hope it may not be so.7 Write soon

Good night —a kiss for yourself & Frankie.

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. On June 28 a report reached Buck Lodge, the headquarters of the 106th Ohio Infantry, that guerrillas had robbed a Union sympathizer. A 12-man mounted patrol was sent to investigate, and soon located a trail left by the raiders. The Ohioans followed the trail but lost it during the night. As they were returning to Buck Lodge on the morning of the 29th, they were bushwhacked near Butler’s Mill, and Lt. Gustavus Bertgold and one soldier were killed, and three wounded. Whitelaw Reid, Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers, 2 Vols. (Cincinnati, 1868), Vol. II, pp. 572-575. []
  2. John P. McKnight, a 23-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as 2d lieutenant of Company G, 129th Illinois Infantry. On April 19, 1864, Lieutenant McKnight was appointed aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. W. I. Ward, and on Nov. 1, 1864, he was detailed for special duty with the Signal Corps, Department of the Cumberland, and was mustered out on June 8, 1865, at Washington, D.C. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. []
  3. The regimental papers of the 129th Illinois do not contain “After Action Reports” filed by members of the patrol, or any information from the “pickets who have been fired on.” Regimental Papers, 129th Illinois, NA. []
  4. Christopher C. Yetter, a 22-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a sergeant in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Sergeant Yetter was wounded in the chin at New Hope Church, Georgia, May 27, 1864, and was commissioned 1st lieutenant of Company A on Nov. 9, 1864. He was mustered out near Washington, D.C, June 8, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. []
  5. Jennie Gutherie was the 17-year-old daughter of George and Sarah Gutherie, prosperous Pontiac Township farmers. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA. []
  6. Ewell’s II Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, evacuated Carlisle on the morning of June 30, leaving by the Baltimore Pike. Part of the corps was engaged the next day at Gettysburg. While in Carlisle, the Confederates had sacked the grocery, drug, clothing, and shoe stores. Joseph Culver was fortunate not to lose anything to Rebel foraging parties. Sister Hannah wrote on July 9, “We have escaped almost miraculously having lost nothing.” []
  7. J.F.C.’s fears that 16-year-old Charlie had joined the army were groundless. He was still at home. After the Battle of Gettysburg, he and a number of friends visited the battlefield. Hannah Culver to J.F.C., July 9, 1863, Culver Collection. []

About Colleen Theisen

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

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