Your letter came to hand this evening and made me both happy and Sad

Joseph Culver Letter, February 13, 1864, Page 1

Head Quarters, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 11th Army Corps
Nashville February 13th 1864
My Dear Wife

Your letter of the 6th & 7th of February came to hand this evening and made me both happy and Sad.1 Very happy to learn that you are safe at home and in good health and Sad that you are at home instead of here. Pontiac seems to have but few charms for you, and I have felt such a longing desire to be with you to settle down in our quiet home once more and enjoy the bliss of a “Home Circle” again. Bright visions of comfort and happiness are constantly flitting before my fancy, whether waking or sleeping, while at my desk or in my leisure hours, they still come. The pleasures of the Winter have brought everything back afresh, & I feel as if I was without a home. And your utter loneliness is continually in my mind.

I have been trying to make myself believe for some days past that you would be happy amidst friends and acquaintances, but Bro. Harry Cheston’s letter came this evening and dispelled all my delusions. I feel in my heart that nothing but the peril of our Country could keep me from you, and even that at times seems a gross strain of Patriotism. There is doubtless truth in the quotation you have made. In my experience I have felt “Sweetness” even “in deep woe” from the sympathy of the true loving heart God has given me in my wife.

Since I commenced the sentence, I have sat over an hour in conversation and in listening to others. What would you think of returning to Nashville? The prospects is very favorable to our remaining here all Spring & perhaps through the summer. Col. [Harrison] & I have been talking of sending for our wives. We will know more & perhaps definitely in a few days. But it is nearly 12 o clock, & I must close for to-night.

I commenced about ten, but just as I finished the first page, several of the Staff came in & we have been talking over our prospects. So I will bid you good night and will write to-morrow if all goes well. May our Heavenly Father bless you, keep in health, and make you happy. Please accept the good night kiss I would be only too happy to impress upon your lips did the opportunity offer. May your dreams be sweet.

Sunday morning: Dear Mary

I lay abed rather late this morning. It looks very gloomy outside & has been raining some during the night. The probabilities of our moving have been fading away, day by day, until I think only one thing will ever get us away from this city: that is a strong attack on the Front by the Rebels. Genl. Thomas’ Chief of Staff & Inspector General have been here for a week, but are gone without helping us any.2

If I thought you could get a pass in Louisville, I would advise you to come on, &, should you not find us here, you could wait until you heard from me. Genl. Ward is satisfied that even should we succeed in getting out of the city, we could get no further forward than Murfreesboro, & we all prefer staying here to going there. But if I can succeed in raising money enough for instruments for the Band, I will be home for a few days & will then bring you with me. For fear you may not have succeeded in collecting any money [owed by persons in debt to J.F.C.] I will enclose an order on Wm. B. Lyon [a Pontiac merchant] for $30, which you can draw & use if you need it. I have not sent any money, because I have still some hope of getting home before the 1st of March.

Enclosed you will find a pencil sketch by Huetson & a Photograph of (Sergt. James H.) Gaff & one of Corp. Chritten. Please put all the sketches of Huetson’s together. Have you the one of “our home” at Richland [Tenn.]? Alf has promised to make me some more, so that by & by we may have a small collection.

I have also enclosed Bro. Harry’s letter. Do not forget to write to our friends in Carlisle. Sister Hannah’s address is Dickinson Seminary, Williamsport, Penna. The institution is remotely connected with the College in Carlisle and bears the same name. I will write to Harry and Jennie to-day. Sister Kate [Zug] has not answered my letter yet.

The Adjt. wishes to go out to-day, so I shall not get to church.3 I may possibly to-night.

I look for some of those letters of yours to-day that were written immediately after you got home. I will write to Bro. Johnie to-day if I have time. I saw Captain Hoskins yesterday evening; he is getting much better. I shall be sorry not to find the same old familiar faces in Sabbath School, but I must expect changes.

Allen Fellows will not be sent home on a recruiting expedition.4 The appointment comes from Genl. Thomas. A petition will be sent forward in a few days. I do not know who will be recommended. Genl. Fuller [the Adjutant General of Illinois] has no control over troops in the field. You were correct.

Remember me kindly to all our friends. Give my love to all the family. May God bless and keep you. Let us hope for the future and trust in God. All will be well. Farewell.

Your Affectionate Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Mary Culver’s letter of February 6th & 7th is missing from the Culver Collection. []
  2. General Thomas’ chief of staff was Brig. Gen. William D. Whipple and his inspector general was Lt. Col. Arthur C. Ducat. As Whipple was at Chattanooga throughout this period, it is presumed that J.F.C. was referring to Hooker’s chief of staff, General Butterfield, who spent most of the second week of February in Nashville, gathering information to be used to secure the release of Ward’s division for duty at the front. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXII, pt. II, pp. 376-381. []
  3. Colonel Harrison’s adjutant was Lt. James L. Mitchell of the 70th Indiana. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. []
  4. A special field order was issued on Feb. 19, 1864, detailing Lt. W.H.H. McDowell, and Sergts. James Morrow, George W. August, Homer A. Kenyon and John C. Burger “to proceed at once to report to Brig. Gen. [John M.] Corse at Springfield for the purpose of taking charge & bringing forward to this army all recruits belonging to their regiment.” Regimental Papers, 129th Illinois, 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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