I hoped to hear that you were quite well & feel sorry to hear that you do not enjoy good health

Joseph Culver Letter, July 28, 1863, Page 1

Head Quarters, Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vol. Infty.
Gallatin, Tenn., July 28th 1863

My Dear Wife

Yours of July 22nd is duly received.1 I hoped to hear that you were quite well & feel sorry to hear that you do not enjoy good health.

I have hoped for a favorable return of my last petition until now. I dare not anticipate the granting of a leave of Absence any longer for the present at least. I intended yesterday to try & go to Nashville to-day & press my suit with General Rosecrans, but Orders have been received forbidding any Officer to go without permission from the Post Commander at Nashville.2 I feel disappointed & I know you will, but let us conclude that all is for the best.

I have been sick myself to-day with strong symtoms of a Billious Attack. I am taking medicine to-night & hope to be much better in the morning.

If it becomes essential to your health to wean Frankie, you must not hesitate to do it. The weather will soon be getting cooler, & with his good health I think there would be but little danger.

In answer to your letter, I saw Dr. Moore on Saturday; he was here a couple of hours. His family are all well & were seemingly glad to hear from you. I have written to Bro. Fisher about the matter you forgot, thinking that in your hasty departure you might have forgotten it. It was not of much importance, probably would have been attended to without saying anything.

I am happy to hear that Frankie has such a good appetite, as it denotes good health. I hope in taking “after his Papa,” he may improve on the Example set him.

I am unable to say how long Beer has been in use, but probably something of its nature has been used even in our Savior’s time. I have used more of it during the past month than I have for years. I think it does me good, but it is not palatable.3

I presumed that you would consult Mother about your condition before this, & conclude that if nothing has been developed by this time, or within a very few days at least, that I have won the bet.4 I have never thought of laughing at you, nor am I much surprised if you are mistaken. I earnestly hope that you are gaining Strength, as you seem to think in closing your letter that you are improving. Tell Frankie that Papa sends a kiss to him & Mother inside this ring. (Kiss)

I am inclined to believe that all your letters have reached me but some of them are at a very late date. I have letters from New Hartford mailed on the 10th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 21st, 22nd of July. You can tell if that is all. You wrote in one of your letters for my opinion of your going to Carlisle. I hope if you are able you will go if it is only for a short visit. I had planned to meet you & go with you, but all is past for this time. Do not let my failure depress you, for you will need the more courage. I presume ere this if my letter has been received, that you have heard from Mother [Culver] perhaps through Hannah or Jennie. You need fear nothing. Yet I know I could have added materially to your enjoyment if I could have been with you.

I regret very much that I did not know that Mother [Murphy] was with you when I wrote home. I told my Mother that I thought it probable she was, but I did not know as you did not mention it, either in your letter from Pontiac or Detroit. I shall write again to Mother to-night.

I recd. another letter from Bro. Wes. Father is no better but declining. I would ask Bro. Charlie to meet you in Harrisburg, if I thought you had fully fixed upon a time to go, but I presume after receiving my last letters you will wait for my coming. If you will write to him the time of your coming, he will be happy to meet you.

I wish both Mother & you a very pleasant visit. I know our Mothers will enjoy each other’s society. Tell Mother M. not to feel any hesitancy in making herself at home there for my sake. It is my old home & very dear. There are so many things I intended to show you & tell you about that I should fail to Enumerate all in a letter. I shall write to you at Carlisle as soon as you let me know the time you will start & try & open the way for you. You must not get frightened at the host of Bros., Sisters, Nephews & Nieces you will meet. The girls will take delight in showing you around.5

Christ Yetter is enjoying good health. He said yesterday that he was going to write to you. Alf Huetson says that if you come again, he will take Frankie & make him a bed beside his.6 Mrs. Smith is growing better slowly & hopes are entertained of her speedy recover. Her Father is here.

Bill Russell started for Pontiac yesterday morning. I am sure I never saw any one so homesick. He could hardly stand the prospect of being once more in Pontiac & talked & acted like a little Boy. He told us how he intended to conduct himself, & all he intended to say. He is determined to flirt with Miss Turner, Mrs. Green, and Mrs. Mott if he can, but professes no desire to go farther. If he were beseiged by all three at once (as he fears), I do not know what he would do. Miss Turner has kept up a regular correspondence. You must be discreet with my secrets, I do not wish to be in the least compromised in any way or event. But Bill & I have been confidents for a long time, & it is not improper that I should see & read for myself. I shall surely use my influence to secure his happiness. Though I may have been guilty once of looking after my own happiness in antagonism to what might have been strictly proper, I have surely no interests at stake now. I hope he may be as happy as I am in possessing the love of a noble, pure, & good wife.

May God bless you, my Wife, and make you happy always & never allow anything to transpire to mar your happiness. I wrote a long letter to the S. School on Sunday night. I have been waiting for a letter from Maggie [Utley] for sometime. I fear she has forgotten her promise to you. I have not heard from Bro. Johnnie [Murphy] yet. I must write again to-morrow. I should not be disappointed much if the money I sent him was lost. Bro. Thomas [Murphy] has not written yet.

I shall look for a full account of your Visit soon. How did you find your old haunts of pleasure. I hope beautiful as ever. Kiss Frankie & Mother for me & accept very many for yourself. I shall add a line in the morning informing you how I feel. Remember me kindly to all our friends. Hoping that God will bless you with health & happiness for which I shall ever pray, I will say Good Night

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Mary Culver’s letter of July 22 is missing from the Culver Collection. []
  2. General Rosecrans was in Nashville from July 22-25, and on the 26th he returned to the front, establishing his headquarters at Winchester, Tenn. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXIII, pt. II, pp. 550-560. []
  3. In her letter of the 22d, Mary Culver must have broached the question of beer drinking. []
  4. J.F.C. is alluding to the possibility that his wife might be pregnant. []
  5. This would be Mary Culver’s first visit to Carlisle, and she had misgivings over meeting her in-laws for the first time. []
  6. Alfred C. Huetson, a 22-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois. He was promoted to corporal on May 9, 1863, and on March 21, 1864, was detached as brigade topographical engineer. On April 6, 1865, Corporal Huetson was placed on duty at headquarters, Army of Georgia. 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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