I have spent the evening thus far very pleasantly, and it seemed more like old times

Joseph Culver Letter, March 27, 1864, Letter 2, Page 1

Head Qurs., 1st Brig., 1st Div., 11th A.C.
Wauhatchie, Tenn., March 27th 1864
My Dear Wife

I have spent the evening thus far very pleasantly, and it seemed more like old times than usual. If you had been one of our number, I think I could have easily imagined us all at home once more.

Shortly after dark Col. Harrison called Alf. Huetson, Bradbury (my clerk) & myself into his house to sing.1 He selected out of the “Golden Shower” those pieces with which he was familiar, & we all sang with him. The first piece was one “There is sweet rest in Heaven.” I could not enumerate all, but most of them were very intimately associated with recollections of the past. We have been thus employed for over three hours. It was very pleasant for me, and I hope also profitable.

I visited the Company this afternoon & found all well, and also spent a half hour with Joe Shellenbarger. The Dr. thinks him a very little better, but he is still very dangerously ill. I would have liked very much to have talked with him, but the Dr. forbid it. We still hope earnestly for his recovery.

I did not see Chris [Yetter], but he is well. Henry Polk was over to see me this evening.2 He says his Mother called on Mr. Lyon to see if the order had been paid, &, when she found it had not been, she directed him to pay it when the order was presented.

I have enclosed a photograph of Park Pemberton which he handed me to-day.3

I recd. a letter from Joe Z. Culver, formerly of the 10th Penna. Vols., and now a 2nd Lieut. of the 39th U. S. Cold. Troops.4 He says the folks at home are rather opposed to his position; if they are of the same persuasion as Sister Beccie [Pague], I have no doubt they are.

The mail got here to-day shortly after dinner but brought no letter from you. I read a letter this evening written by Mrs. Hyndman to Mrs. [James] Gaff giving a detailed account of the meetings in Pontiac.5 They seem to have been very successful.

I did not get to church to-day, nor can I expect to have very many opportunities for going while I am in the office alone. I did not write either to the Sabbath School or to Sis. as I intended to do to-day. I have a slight headache to-night, caused, I presume, in part by singing so much. The day was so fine, & I have been so closely confined ever since we arrived here that I could not resist the temptation of sitting out of doors and consequently neglected my writing. I sat down once to write to Sis., & some business matters interrupted me. It is very doubtful whether if I delay it to-night I shall have an opportunity before next Sabbath; I will study over it while I am writing to you. I have also a letter unanswered from Sarah Williams recd. on the march.

You asked me once to whom I wished to send your likeness. Joe [Culver] has written for one, and I should be pleased if you would write to him and enclose one. I will enclose his address.

The Chicago Times you sent came to hand day before yesterday. I have read the N.Y. Ledger up to No. 4. The story is making a very interesting change. The boys have concluded that Ishmael & Claudia will yet make a match.

I ran across one of my Sabbath School scholars to-day. He has been in the regiment for over two months, & I never saw him to know him before. His name is James Funk.6 Did you know him? He says he tried to speak to me once on the march, but I did not stop. I presume I was busy.

I have enclosed the last letter I recd. from Sister Jennie [Cheston]. Write to me often. I have not been able to write every day but never omit more than one day, & sometimes I write two. I hope for a good long one. I have concluded not to mail any other letters to-night, as it is quite late, & I wish to get rid of this headache before morning. May our Heavenly Father bless you. Give my love to Mother and Maggie, and remember me kindly to all our friends. Neither Mother or Maggie have answered my last letters. Why don’t they write? I earnestly hope you are enjoying good health. Let us pray for each other. I have enjoyed much of the presence of God to-day, & I feel that this has been a good day for me. I hope you have been richly with the presence of our God. May we in his good Providence soon be permitted to mingle our voices together in praise and supplication, sweet rest and peaceful slumbers. May holy angels guard thee.

Good night,
Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. William H. Bradbury, a 33-year-old lawyer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company B, 129th Illinois. He was mustered out on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. Ibid. []
  2. Henry P. Polk, a 21-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois. Private Polk, while on a foraging expedition near Averysboro, N.C., on March 15, 1865, was captured and paroled by the Confederates. He was mustered out of service at Springfield, Illinois, June 11, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. []
  3. Allson P. Pemberton, a 20-year-old farmer, enlisted as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry on Sept. 19, 1862. Private Pemberton was wounded in the right arm at New Hope Church, Ga., May 28, 1864, and hospitalized at Murfreesboro, Tenn. that summer. He rejoined the unit in September and was mustered out near Washington, D.C, June 8, 1865. Ibid. []
  4. Twenty-one-year-old Joseph Z. Culver was mustered into federal service at Pittsburgh, Pa., for three years as a private in Company D, 10th Pennsylvania Reserves, on Sept. 11, 1862. He was honorably discharged on Feb. 28, 1864, to accept a commission as 2d lieutenant in the 39th U.S. Colored Troops. Culver was mustered in as 2d lieutenant. Company C, 39th U.S.C.T., at Baltimore on Feb. 29, 1864. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on Sept. 13, 1864, and transferred to Company K. Ibid. []
  5. Mrs. Hyndman of Pontiac had described in her letter the revivals being held by the local churches. []
  6. James R. Funk, an 18-year-old student, was recruited into service on Dec. 17, 1863, at Springfield, Ill., as a private in Company C, 129th Illinois. Private Funk was hospitalized at Chattanooga from May 23, 1864, until mid-September. He was mustered out with the regiment near Washington, D.C, June 8, 1865. 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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