As an opportunity offers to send mail to the rear, I am happy to be able to write

Joseph Culver Letter, June 14, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols.
In the Field, Near Marietta, Georgia
June 14th 1864
My Dear Wife

As an opportunity offers to send mail to the rear, I am happy to be able to write. We are still lying behind the fortifications on the same line we occupied a week ago. The army has been in motion and fighting, but the centre has not advanced over two miles.1 We have heard fighting all along the line each day. It has rained almost incessantly for 13 days, so that you can imagine the conditions of the roads, almost impassible. We are still held in readiness to move at a moment’s notice.

The weather is clear and pleasant to-day & very beautiful after the season of cloud and storm we have had. The wet weather has produced some sickness, as must be expected, mostly diarrhea. I was quite unwell yesterday but am much better to-day. The most I can complain of is weakness; I hope to be all right to-morrow. There is only one or two sick in my Company, & they will soon be well. Harry McDowell, Allen Fellows, Capt. Hoskins, Dr. Johnson, and Lt. McKnight have been here for a little while, but all have gone to write home. Allen’s health is much improved. We have no late reliable news; I look for a mail to-day with news from Home.

I recd. notice yesterday that Lt. Smith has recd. a Leave of Absence for 20 days, and I presume he is Home ere this. It is very probable that Tom Wilson will see a long term of service in some penitentiary, if, indeed, he is not shot.2

It was so wet all day Sabbath [the 12th] that we had no services of any kind. The mail came in the afternoon and brought your letters of the 30th May & 1st June.3 I was very happy to learn that you are well. Chaplain Cotton is liked much better than he was a year ago. I have not seen or heard from Bros. John or Sammy since I last wrote, but presume they are well. I hope the Sabbath school is still prospering. I wrote a long letter to them on Sunday and enclosed it to you; I hope it may reach you.

McCartney of Co. “B” was not wounded,4 both he and Saml. McGoodin are well. I should like to see Bro. Tom [Murphy] & hope he will spend the summer with you. I am happy to hear that Mother [Murphy], Maggie and the children are well. Kiss them for me.

Col. Case was not injured in any of our battles. Wm.. F. Miller fills Frank Long’s place as sergt.5 Hoskins has never recd. his commission [as major] yet. I wrote to John Dehner on Saturday last about it, & hope he may be able to give it some attention.

There has been some fighting all along the line this morning. We learn nothing here and have to depend on the papers for our knowledge of results. Our troops hold Marietta.6 The cars came through Sunday, & we hear their welcome whistle daily now, about three miles to our left. If our communication with the rear and our supplies can be kept uninterrupted, we will soon see Atlanta. The enemy have tried to break our lines several times but have been every time repulsed.7

Nate [Hill] is well. We have not heard from [Chris] Yetter lately; I would not be surprised to hear that he is home. Nate wishes to write, & I must hasten to close as we have only one portfolio between us. Remember me kindly to all. Let us praise God for his continued mercy. May our Father in Heaven preserve you in health and bestow upon you all needful blessings. Tell Bro. Joe Dehner I shall expect to hear a good account from him in regard to the Sabbath School.8 May God give him Grace & make him instrumental in doing much good. May all the efforts made in that direction be signally blessed of God.

I feel that God is doing a great work in the hearts of many of my Company. Oh, may he help me to discharge my duty and set a Godly example before them. I most earnestly desire their conversion. Pray for them and ask the churches to pray for them, also the Sabbath Schools. May Holy angels watch over thee, and our Father keep thee in perfect peace.

I remain through Christ, as ever
Your Affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

P.S. Get the Bible Society to send me a dozen testaments by Lt. Smith. We need them very much. Many have been lost during the Campaign.


  1. Reinforced by Blair’s XVII Corps which had arrived from Decatur, Ala., General McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee of the left advanced, occupied Big Shanty on the railroad, and found the Confederates strongly posted on Brush Mountain, with Noonday Creek to their front. General Thomas had divided his Army of the Cumberland into three columns. Palmer’s XIV Corps on the left, in contact with McPherson, inched its way ahead on the road to Newton’s Mill; Howard’s IV Corps in the center and Hooker’s on the right felt their way toward Pine Mountain. Schofield’s Army of the Ohio was on Sherman’s right and pressing slowly closer to Gilgal Church. Brig. Gen. George Stoneman’s cavalry guarded the “army group’s” right toward Lost Mountain. General Johnston to cope with Sherman’s move to the east had massed his infantry on the Gilgal Church-Brush Mountain line. Hardee’s left was at the church, Polk’s corps extended from Pine Mountain across the railroad to the Acworth-Marietta wagon road, and Hood’s on the right was massed behind Noonday Creek and along the foot of Brush Mountain. Cox, Atlanta, pp. 95-96. []
  2. Thomas J. Wilson, a 22-year-old farmer, had been mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Wilson was detached on Jan. 30, 1864, and detailed as a teamster in the ordnance train, Third Division, XX Corps. Private Wilson was mustered out near Washington, D.C., June 8, 1865. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. []
  3. The subject letters are missing from the Culver Collection. []
  4. William McCartney, a 44-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8,1862, as a private in Company B, 129th Illinois Infantry. He was detailed to the brigade brass band on Feb. 2, 1864, and was mustered out with the regiment on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D. C. Ibid. []
  5. William E. Miller, a 24-year-oid farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to corporal on Jan. 20, 1843, and to sergeant to rank from May 20, 1864. Sergeant Miller was mustered out with the regiment on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D.C. Ibid. []
  6. J.F.C. was mistaken about the occupation of Marietta by Union troops. What he should have written was that Union troops held Big Shanty on the Western & Atlanta Railroad. On June 11 the Etowah bridge was opened for traffic, and next day “the whistle of the locomotive was heard at Big Shanty, notifying friend and foe that Sherman’s supplies were now close in rear of his line.” Cox, Atlanta, p. 97. []
  7. The only major counterattack made by the Confederates since the beginning of the campaign had occurred at Dallas on May 28. This thrust started as a forced reconnaissance, and the Confederates were repulsed with heavy losses. The key to General Johnston’s strategy was to goad Sherman into making suicidal assaults on fortified positions. []
  8. Joe Dehner was a 24-year-old clerk in his father’s Pontiac store. In 1860 Joe was living with his wife and infant daughter. 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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