Head Quarters, Co. “A” 129th Regt. Illinois, Vols. Infty.
Gallatin, Tennessee July 26th 1863
My Dear Wife
Yours of the 16th reached me yesterday evening and of the 14th a few days ago.1 I am very Sorry to hear that you do not enjoy good health. I hoped the climate would produce good results & that you would gain rather than lose Strength. I wish Frankie could be weaned for I think he is the principal cause of it, but you know best; only be careful of your health.
I have almost despaired of getting leave of Absence. It is ten days since my petition was forwarded & no answer yet. I dare not look for a favorable return & have almost given up the anticipated pleasure. When the time will come, I cannot divine but earnestly hope it may be soon.
Russell is almost entirely well; he will start home to-morrow. He comes as near being homesick as any one I ever saw. Maples returned yesterday. He brought a letter for me from Abbie [Remick]. Our friends in Pontiac are all well. Your shawl is at Dehner’s; Mrs. Smith is getting better, & if she does not relapse may get well. She is very poorly. Her father arrived here Friday evening. I shall write to the S. School to-day & send by Russell.
He [Russell] denies having sent Mrs. Green any present. He is smitten with Fanny Mott, & says he is going home to see her.2 I am of the opinion that he is becoming anxious to get a wife. When you married, he said he would never try again (such is life).
I wrote you an account of Jim Abbe & Soph (Frost) Stephen’s Elopement. They have been caught & are now awaiting trial.3
I recd. a letter from Bro. Wes [Culver] a few days ago. Father is no better. All the rest are well. When do you expect to visit Carlisle? Mother is very anxious for you to come. Jennie was on a visit with her husband. Annie Zug[‘s] sister, Lizzie’s oldest daughter, was married recently. Bro. Charlie [Culver] got a fine horse & equipments from the Rebels while they were in Carlisle.
Frankie, you say, will soon be able to walk alone. I wonder if he would know me; how much I should like to see you both, I presume ere this you have recd. my letters anticipating my visit home. I am sorry for the disappointment.
Our Chaplain [Reverend Cotton] has resigned. He would have gained credit by doing so long ago. We had some Company Records printed. I will send one to Pontiac & have it framed by the time you return, also one to mother.4 They make quite a handsome picture.
Dr. Moore was here yesterday; his family are well.5 Mike Collins is editor of the Sentinel.6 Gagan has gone to California.7 There were none of our Regt. captured on the train Morgan took; it was only a report.
I must close or I will not get my letter in the mail this morning. My health is quite good. We got new tents on Friday & the Camp looks very nice. Write to me often as you can. Remember me kindly to all our friends. Kiss Babie & Mother for me. Let me know when you go to Carlisle. I shall write to Mother to-day if possible. May God bless and keep you and hasten our return to home. Let us praise him for all his goodness thus far.
Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver
- General Morgan and his raiders on July 13 had invaded Ohio. The pursuit was vigorous, as the Confederates rode eastward, in search of a way to recross the Ohio into Kentucky. There were frequent skirmishes. Many of the Confederates straggled, and on the 26th Morgan with the remnant of his once-feared division surrendered near New Lisbon, Ohio. With Morgan hard-pressed and unable to halt long enough to seriously damage the railroads, communication lines south to the army leading through Louisville were promptly reopened. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXIII, pt. I, pp. 632-633. [↩]
- Fanny Mott was a recent widow, her husband the regimental hospital steward Isaac Mott having died at South Tunnel, April 12, 1863. Sarah Green was Silas Green’s 25-year-old widow. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA. [↩]
- Jim Abbe, the Pontiac city clerk, had deserted his wife and family for the charms of Sophia Stephens, the 23-year-old wife of William Stephens, a Pontiac carpenter. Ibid. [↩]
- A Civil War fad was for a unit, usually a company, to have its roster engraved on parchment and reproduced. J.F.C. was mistaken about Chaplain Cotton’s resignation. Cotton would remain with the unit another year before resigning. [↩]
- It has been impossible to further identify Dr. Moore. [↩]
- Mike (Marcellus) Collins was a 31-year-old Pontiac attorney, and he had purchased the Sentinel from Cook & Gagan. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA; History of Livingston County, p. 317. [↩]
- William Gagan had resigned as regimental sutler on March 27, 1863. His replacement was Ed Maples, a former sheriff of Livingston County. Regimental Papers, 129th Illinois, NA. [↩]