I sent a letter day before yesterday by the Chaplain Cotton

Joseph Culver Letter, August 5, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols. Infty.
In the Field Near Atlanta, Ga.
August 5th 1864
My Dear Wife

I recd. yours of the 27th yesterday and was very happy to learn that your health continues good. I sent a letter day before yesterday by the Chaplain [Cotton], but, as he intends going by the way of Middleport, it may be several days before he reaches Pontiac. He will give a full history of events.

My health continues good. We advanced our lines last night, and are now occupying trenches from 200 to 500 yards nearer the city than before.1 There was hard fighting on the extreme right yesterday evening; the 14th & 23d Corps were ordered to take possession of the rail-road between East Point and Atlanta.2 Rumor says that they succeeded.3 Should it be true, the last rail-road communication of the Enemy with Dixie is in our possession. At East Point, the rail-road branches, one leading to Macon, the other to Montgomery. The rumor comes to us so well authenticated that I am constrained to believe it. The Rebs will now be compelled to fight or evacuate as they cannot supply their Army long in Atlanta.4 May God give us Victory.

I wrote to Mother [Culver] this morning urging her to visit Pontiac, and asking her to fix the time so that I might try to meet her there. I also wrote to Harry & Jennie [Cheston] yesterday. I have not seen or heard from Bros. John or Sammy yet.

I recd. a letter from Miss Shellenberger requesting me to write an obituary notice of her brother. All the boys are enjoying good health, and though they have been working hard for the past two days & nights, they are in good spirits. Harry McDowell was sick for several days but is much better now. His health has not been good since his return [from Illinois], though he has managed to keep with the Regt. I should not be surprised if he resigned, and would not think it proper for him to attempt another campaign like the present unless his health should materially improve.

You can tell Miss Emma Thayer that I usually call him “Harry” & not “Billy” though I can readily change if she desires it. Remember me kindly to her and Miss Emma McGregor.

I heard that Abbie Remick expects to be married this fall when Milt. Lyons returns.5 I am not sure that “Hardtack, &c.” would be very acceptable at a festival, but I can assure all that it is very acceptable here.

I have not indulged in an ice cream since you left Gallatin, but I have no doubt I could do full justice to one. Perhaps I may give you sufficient evidence this fall.

I hope your anticipations of coming events may be realized.6 May our Father in Heaven sustain you. I shall be content with the result if your life and health be preserved.

I recd. a letter from Lt. Smith two days ago; he says our property is in good condition. I will write a short letter to him to-day.

I have quite a “rustic seat” this morning, constructed by cutting a seat in the side of a trench & using the surface of the ground for a table. It is very comfortable and has all the advantages of a cushioned arm chair. The trench is about 3-1/2 feet under ground, & my seat is cushioned with green leaves. I shall spend a greater portion of the day in writing if I am not interrupted.

It has been my intention to write a detailed account of the battle of the 20th July [Peachtree Creek] to the S. School, but I have not had time. I enjoy the [Chicago] Tribune very much & shall try and continue the subscription. I will write to Lt. Smith requesting him to bring me a pair of boots, tin cup & plate, and the articles of clothing you are making. I shall be glad if you are able to get the shirts made as they are far preferable to those purchased in the stores.

We are very comfortably situated at present & hope to be settled down in Atlanta before another week. Give my love to Mother [Murphy] and Maggie. The kiss was very acceptable but lacks vitality. Tell Mother I am very much obliged for her kind expressions of Love. I hope she will promptly inform me of the state of your health, should you be unable for a time. Remember me kindly to all our friends. May our Father in Heaven bless and sustain you and continue his Mercies to us.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. Colonel Harrison reported that on the 4th, the brigade “built and occupied an advance line of works.” During the day there had been heavy fire along the opposing picket lines. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. II, p. 349; Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 92. []
  2. Efforts by Sherman’s right (the Army of the Ohio and the XIV Corps) to secure a lodgment on the railroad connecting Atlanta with East Point were checkmated by the Confederates. In the fighting on August 4, the Federals had 26 killed and wounded, and no advantage gained. On the following day, Union operations were described as a “complete failure or worse.” O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 364, 388. []
  3. There was no truth to this rumor. []
  4. J.F.C.’s estimate of the situation was correct. Following the battle of Jonesboro on August 31 and September 1, which placed the Federals astride the Macon & Western Railroad, the Rebels evacuated Atlanta. []
  5. D. Milton Lyons of Livingston County was born in Clinton County, Ohio, in 1841, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William B. Lyons. He moved to Pontiac with his parents in 1852, and entered Lombard University at Galesburg in 1858. Lyons enlisted in Company D, 20th Illinois Infantry. When discharged after expiration of this three-month term, he recruited Company F, 138th Illinois Infantry, which he commanded as captain until October 1864. Lyons married Abbie J. Remick on Oct. 25, 1865. History of Livingston County, p. 640. []
  6. This is a reference to the impending birth of the Culvers’ second child. []

About Colleen Theisen

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

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