We have Genl. Inspection at 3 P.M. and as I do not know how long it may last, I hasten to write

Joseph Culver Letter, June 7, 1864, Page 1

Hd. Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols.
In the Field, Ga., June 7th 1864
My Dear Wife

Your letters of 22d, 25th & 27th have just come to hand1 with the Sentinel of 20th May, and 3 New York Tribune & 3 Nashville Times, with a letter from Sarah Williams. I have read none but your letters yet, as I am informed we can send our mail at 5 P.M. We have Genl. Inspection at 3 P.M., &, as I do not know how long it may last, I hasten to write before.

I am most happy to hear that you are well. Our Father has been very kind to us. The God of Battles is truly our God. I dare not attempt to answer your letters at length, for I have not time. I wrote to you on Sunday, [the 5th] & sent it back yesterday.

We have moved to a new line and fortified, but I find it impossible to locate myself.2 No one seems to know where we are, but it is not over 7 or 8 miles to Marietta.3 We have heard nothing of the Enemy since they fell back on Saturday night and Sunday, except by rumor, & I do not put sufficient reliance in them to give them as news.4 We are strongly fortified here, & it would facilitate matters very much if the Rebs would attack us.

I was on Picket with my Company last night & had Harry McDowell with me. He is in a terrible way about the mail, as this is the first we have had since his return. I hope it has brought him all he has anticipated.

Our men are all out of sorts about all the newspaper accounts of our Battles. The New York Tribune says, “Ward’s Brigade of Indiana Troops” and also, “Col. Case’s Regt. of Hovey’s Indiana Troops.”5 No paper except the Nashville Times has given anything like a true statement. When the Campaign is over, I may have an opportunity to give you a full account.

I have been interrupted, & the hour of INSPECTION has arrived. Harry Mc[Dowell] wishes me to say that he is well & hearty, “never was better.” The Brig. Band is playing. The weather for the past week has been constantly wet, & I wonder that more of us have not been sick. Nate [Hill] & I had a good dinner, beef & vegetable soup, but we have gone hungry several times since we left Wauhatchie. You can scarcely believe that the boys could work on 2 & 3 of those small Hardtack with the small pittance of meat allowed, & yet we are very well. We are on 2/3 rations, & sometimes much less.

I can give you but little news. We know nothing, except that everything moves along as well as was anticipated. We will undoubtedly have a severe Battle before we reach Atlanta.

I heard from Chris [Yetter] yesterday. He is acting Ward Master in one of the Hospitals at Kingston. His face is still quite sore, but he sent me word he would be up with us as soon as he could get away from the Hospital. I do not know where Lt. Smith is; the last I heard of him, he was expecting to go Home & was improving very rapidly. Harry recd. a letter from Mrs. Smith to-day making inquiry about him. If he is not at home, he is most probably at Nashville. I felt certain I should get a letter from him to-day. We have a number of letters for him, but do not know where to send them. I have not heard from any other of our wounded boys. They were sent to Chattanooga & Nashville.

Nate is waiting for the portfolio to write. I regret very much to hear of Mr. Barr’s degeneracy,6 & hope most earnestly it may not have a serious effect upon the Sabbath School. May our Father in Heaven bless the children. I will write to them as soon as I can. Kiss little Mary & the baby for me & give my Love to Mother & Maggie. Continue to write often. God has been most bountiful in his blessings to me. Let us still praise Him & continue to trust Him. May his richest blessings rest upon you.

Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Mary Culver’s letters of May 22, 25 and 27 are missing from the Culver Collection. []
  2. General Thomas on June 5 ordered the XX Corps to cross Allatoona Creek at Mason’s Bridge and take position on the ridges “in the angle between the road to Big Shanty and the one leading south, to the east of Lost Mountain,” its right to rest on Allatoona Creek. Hooker’s corps marched as ordered on the 6th, and, after advancing about five miles, Butterfield’s division took post on the Sandtown road at Mt. Olivet Church. From the ground occupied and fortified by the 129th Illinois, Pine Mountain on the left and Lost Mountain on the right could be seen. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt.II, pp. 324, 367,387; Ibid., pt. IV, p. 415. []
  3. Marietta was eight miles southeast of Mt. Olivet Church. []
  4. The Confederate Army of Tennessee since the morning of the 5th had been posted with its left at Lost Mountain, its center near Gilgal Church, and its right anchored near the Western & Atlantic Railroad. The Southerners were throwing up breastworks and felling timber. Prisoners captured by Butterfield’s pickets identified the enemy to their front as belonging to Cheatham’s Tennessee division of Hardee’s corps. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. III, pp. 616-617; Ibid, pt. IV, pp. 428-429. []
  5. Units constituting Ward’s brigade in addition to the 129th Illinois were: the 102d and 105th Illinois, 70th Indiana, and 79th Ohio. Brig. Gen, Alvin P. Hovey commanded the First Division, XXIII Army Corps, a unit in Schofield’s Army of the Ohio. []
  6. Samuel Barr was a 31-year-old Pontiac baker. In 1860 he was living with his wife Emma and their one-year-old daughter, Eva. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of 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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