Head Qurs. Co. “A”, 129th Ills. Vols.
Raleigh, N. C, April 28th 1865
My Dear Wife
We marched from Holly Springs to this place to-day and are making preparations for our coming Campaign. We will leave here on Sunday or Monday morning next, “Homeward bound.” The last mail leaves at 11 o’clock to-morrow, the last opportunity to send letters from this place & the last we will have until we reach Richmond, Va.
Our present destination is supposed to be Alexandria (near Washington) though we may turn up somewhere else. We have 15 days’ supplies & have orders to average 15 miles per day which will take us fully to Richmond by the route designated for us.1
We had a mail both yesterday and to-day, but I recd. no letters from you. I recd. one to-day from Maggie Guthrie of the 10th inst.2 Your last was the 15th. The war is over, & I doubt not fills the hearts of the people with joy.3 I cannot express my own feelings. If God spares our lives, we hope to be in a few weeks quietly at our homes. We are very restless, & the days seem long that keep us from our loved ones.
I have been suffering for the last few hours from severe headache, but it will all be gone I hope by morning. I cannot say how soon you may look for us. We will doubtless be delayed at Alexandria a couple of weeks & possibly longer. I must try and get home to attend court the first Monday in June, & we may all possibly be there by that time.
The Campaign before us is a severe one. We sent to the rear to-day all that were not in good marching trim, of my Company, Haley, DeLong, Noyes, & Cook.4 They may reach home several weeks before us. All the rest of the Company are in good health. I cannot write much to-night but will try & add a few lines in the morning. Perhaps my head will feel better. Good night. May Holy Angels guard you & Our Father in Heaven keep & bless you.
Saturday morning, Apr. 29th
I arose this morning in the enjoyment of excellent health. We recd. the order of march this morning & will be in Richmond by the 12th or 14th of May.5 We will have no mail facilities until we reach there. We will leave here either to-morrow or Monday. Joy fills every heart, yet there has been no demonstrations. A few more days hard marching, & we will be at Home. I must close as I am busy on the muster rolls & must complete them by noon. Let us thank God for all His mercies. Remember me to all. Kiss Howard for Papa.
Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver
- General Sherman, on the 27th, notified his generals that the Army of the Ohio would remain in the Department of North Carolina, while the Armies of the Tennessee and Georgia would march to Richmond. The Army of the Tennessee would travel via Louisburg, Warrenton, Lawrenceville, and Petersburg, while General Slocum would route his Army of Georgia through Oxford, Boydton, and Nottaway Court-House; roads to the west of those followed by Howard’s army. The Armies of Georgia and the Tennessee would, before leaving Raleigh, turn in the contents of their ordnance trains, and use the wagons for extra forage and rations. The columns would “be conducted slowly and in the best order, and will aim to be at Richmond ready to resume the march by the middle of May.” On the 28th the commander of the XX Corps, General Mower, notified the troops that hostilities had ceased, and they would be marched at once via Richmond to Washington “to be mustered out of service and return to their homes.” While en route there would be no foraging upon the country and private property would be respected. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XLVII, pt. III, pp. 323-25, 341. [↩]
- Maggie Gutherie was the 17-year-old daughter of George and Sarah Gutherie. Her father was a prosperous Pontiac Township farmer. Eighth Census, Livingston County, State of Illinois, NA. [↩]
- In their afternoon meeting at Bennett’s on April 26, General Johnston had agreed to surrender all the troops under his command on these terms: (a) all acts of war on their part to cease; (b) all arms and public property to be deposited at Greensboro, and delivered to a United States ordnance officer; (c) all officers and men to give their “individual obligation in writing not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until released from this obligation;” (d) the officers to retain their side-arms, “private horses and baggage;” and (e) this done, all officers and enlisted men “to be permitted to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by the United States authorities so long as they observe their obligation and the laws in force where they may reside.” O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XLVII, pt. III, pp. 313, 321. [↩]
- John E. Haley, a 23-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Haley was mustered out with the regiment near Washington, on June 8, 1865. Joseph G. Noyes, a 28-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. He was assigned to a Nashville convalescent camp from Jan. 30, 1864, until June, and in April 1865 was confined to the Third Division hospital, XX Corps. Private Noyes was mustered out on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D. C. Charles Cook, a 42-year-old farmer, was mustered into service on Sept. 8, 1862, as a private in Company A, 129th Illinois Infantry. Private Cook was captured by Rebel partisans on April 26, 1863, at Richland, Tenn. Exchanged, he rejoined the company at Gallatin, Tenn., on June 17, 1863. He was hospitalized in Atlanta at the beginning of the “March to the Sea.” Rejoining the regiment in the spring of 1865, Cook was mustered out on June 8, 1865, near Washington, D. C. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. [↩]
- The troops were cautioned that upon leaving Raleigh, “the march will be continued from day-to-day until our destination is reached or until orders are given from these or higher headquarters to halt.” The XX Corps divisions would “habitually march and encamp from three to five miles apart.” The commander of the lead division would post guards to look after the security of all buildings and private property along the route. These guards would be relieved by the succeeding divisions as they passed. O.R., Ser. I, Vol. XLVII, pt. III, pp. 341-42. [↩]