I hasten to write knowing that you may be anxious to hear and a letter unexpected always gives pleasure

Joseph Culver Letter, August 6, 1864, Page 1

Head Qurs. Co. “A” 129th Regt. Ills. Vols.
In the Field near Atlanta, Ga. August 6th 1864
My Dear Wife

Yours of July 28th came to hand this morning. I am very happy to learn that you still enjoy good health. I wrote to you by yesterday’s mail and was not aware that a mail would go out until a moment ago, yet I hasten to write knowing that you may be anxious to hear and a letter unexpected always gives pleasure.

My health is very good and I have been blessed with all needful blessings for which all thanks and praise to our kind and loving Father.

The first train crossed the [Chattahoochie] river and run down near us yesterday evening.1 The sound of the whistle was very cheering. As a result, fresh soft bread was issued to the Brigade this morning. A team was also sent back toward the river to procure green corn for issue to the troops.

All the Company are well. Nate Hill has been on picket to-day & Chris [Yetter] has been writing all day to someone. I recd. to-day one copy of the Chicago Tri-Weekly, 2 of the N.Y. Tribune, & 1 copy of the [Pontiac] Sentinel, besides a large package of the Christian Farmer so we have had a plentiful supply of reading matter.

The weather has been very pleasant. The Rebs made a charge yesterday all around our line but did not succeed in even starting our pickets. We have made every preparation to receive them that a Yankee can invent, & they are welcome to try our lines at any time now.2

The loss in our Brig. yesterday was two killed. One of them left his post and was wandering out in front of the line when a Reb. picket shot him, severely wounding him. A comrade, in endeavoring to help him, was instantly killed. The wounded man died last night. Both were of the 105th Ills.3

Major Hoskins is here in the Company & well. I saw to-day Capt. Reed, Jim Morrow, Harry McDowell and many others of your acquaintances, all well. The news in the papers are good. Give my love to all. May the blessings of our Father still attend you and His Grace richly abound in your heart.

Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver

  1. The Confederates, on abandoning their positions along the Chattahoochie in the second week of July, had destroyed the railroad bridge. Sherman’s Pioneers rebuilt the bridge, and with locomotives now able to proceed south of the river, the task of supplying the “army group” had been simplified. The soldiers knew this, and received the first locomotive with “tremendous cheers.” Grunert, History of the 129th Illinois, p. 92. []
  2. On the 6th the Confederates had repulsed a lunge by the Army of the Ohio toward the Atlanta & West Point Railroad. Along the fronts of the XVI, XVII, and XX Corps, Rebel skirmishers advanced and occupied the attention of Union pickets. This was to prevent General Sherman from withdrawing additional troops from his center and left, to bolster his right in its fight to sever the Atlanta & West Point Railroad.  O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XXXVIII, pt. V, pp. 391-92, 404. []
  3. The killed were William Morrison and Seela Simpson of Company E, 105th Illinois. 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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One Response to I hasten to write knowing that you may be anxious to hear and a letter unexpected always gives pleasure

  1. When my father fought in World War II they were not allowed to give details as to where actually they were stationed and not too much about their military achievements (like: “… In the Field near Atlanta …”). In fact mail from the field was censored and, as I understand is the custom today as a matter of course, whether at war or not, the battalion etc. were all coded so that while whoever in the military post offices had the codebook could make sure to find the right direction to send mail to, an uninitiated observer would not know even the kind of troops or ranks from the communications. Also families were in writing back not allowed to give to much detail about e.g. damages to their home town or crops lest the enemy could calibrate the effects of their attacks etc.

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