Through good luck or by mistake, I am in camp this morning

Joseph Culver Letter, October 29, 1863, Page 1

Headqrs. Co. “A”, 129th Regt. Ills. Vol. Infty.
Nashville, Tenn., Octr. 29th 1863

My Dear Wife

Through good luck or by mistake, I am in camp this morning. I reported myself at 5 o’clock this morning in accordance with my orders, but no one came near me; so, after spending a couple of hours sitting upon a stump, I returned to camp to await another detail which I will not be surprised to see any minute.

While awaiting orders this morning, I stepped to the tent of Capt. Wilson, 79th Ohio, which is encamped at the north side of the R. R. Bridge.1 And, as it was some time after Reveille, I walked thoughtlessly in & saw a sight that reminded me of old times. His wife was with him, both in bed, sound asleep, his arms around her & her head pillowed on his bosom. I was almost selfish enough to envy them & turned around hastily and left the tent.

Both your letters of the 21st & 23rd with Charlie’s arrived this morning.2 Dr. Johnson tells me that those “Critical Eruptions” are very favorable omens, & that Frankie, unless he takes a relapse, is beyond danger; that, after the matter is all drawn out of his system, he will speedily recover. This is the best news I have had for a long time. I earnestly hope that you may ere this be relieved of the burden of your care & have opportunity to recruit your own health.

Charlie wishes me to understand that he has no friendly feeling towards “old Abe & his dear nigger.” I will write to him when I get opportunity & try and correct his opinions. I fear, if the sentiments expressed in his letter and Sister Lizzie’s are general among our relatives there, it may prove unpleasant for a Soldier’s wife.3 Yet as you never made any mention of expressed opinions there, I felt Satisfied that all was right. I felt somewhat alarmed on reading Charlie’s letter & wish to know now how my relatives stand. The task for you would be unpleasant and very unprofitable, so I will not ask it of you, but I formerly had correspondents in Carlisle which I know to be loyal, & I shall find out through them. If my Surmises are correct and any of them from enmity to the administration stand aloof from the interests of the Government, I want to know it, & woe be to them if I have the power to make them feel their willful error.

Smith got a photograph this morning, about the size of mine at home, for his wife & paid $7 for it. It is not good in my opinion.

The weather to-day is beautiful and pleasant. All the train guards but one that have been out over a week have returned last night. Mrs. Fitch is happy again.

The election in Livingston County is for County Treasurer, School Commr., and Surveyor. The Union candidates are Collins for Treas., Pearre for Commr., & Buck for Surveyor. The Copperheads are Maxwell for Treas. & the others I forget, & nobody seems to know which is no matter.4

The Army of the Cumberland, though devotedly attached to Rosecrans, feel that at least in the emergency at Chickamauga he was not adequate, & they will readily yield to another, hoping that in the coming Campaign, which is on an immense scale, Grant may be more successful. No one will ever replace Rosecrans in our affections, and, in all his associations with the Army up to Chattanooga, he will ever receive the highest commendations of praise. I cannot give you any extended history of affairs. At some other time I can say more.

I will send you the “Sentinel.” I sent one over a week ago. When you write to Remick, tell him to get Collins to continue the paper to your address. It has been paid for, & you may as well get it as not.

I gave you an account of the accident on the Rail Road in a former letter.5 I put the letter I wrote last night on the train this morning. I hope you will not yield to blues or homesickness. Happiness is very essential to health. I must close for drill. Give my love to all the family, and accept my heart’s best love for yourself. Kiss Frankie for me. May God bless you.

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

Tell me how Sister Lizzie likes her letter.6

  1. Capt. William Wilson had been mustered into service at Camp Dennison, Ohio, on Aug. 23, 1862, as captain of Company A, 79th Ohio. The regiment had been stationed at Gallatin, Buck Lodge, Lavergne, and Edgefield before being ordered to Nashville. The 79th Ohio was one of the five infantry and two cavalry regiments currently assigned to the Nashville garrison. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXI, pt. I, p. 754; Reid, Ohio in the War, Vol. II, p. 455. []
  2. Mary Culver’s letters of October 22 and 23, as well as Charlie’s, are missing from the Culver Collection. []
  3. Sister Lizzie Zug had written, “We all love your wife very much, but I must tell you if you have changed your polaticks and gone with the Woolly heads as I have heard, I am affraid I will have to quarll with you.” At a recent Republican rally, a “man made a speech and said the war would not be over until we would all be made equil. Is this what you are fiting for? This very idea is disgusting?” Lizzie Zug to J.F.C., undated. Culver Collection. []
  4. Marcellus E. Collins was a Pontiac lawyer; Nelson Buck, a 55-year-old, New York-born, Livingston County surveyor; Robert Maxwell, a 54-year-old, Virginia-born Livingston County farmer; and O. F. Pearre an Ohio-born attorney. When the voters went to the polls on Nov. 3, 1863, they elected the Republican candidates. History of Livingston Country p. 267. []
  5. J.F.C.’s letter describing the train wreck is missing from the Culver Collection. []
  6. J.F.C. had answered Sister Lizzie Zug’s letter, in which she had voiced her “disloyal sentiments,” on October 23. []

About Colleen Theisen

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

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