Head Qurs., Co. “A”, 129th Ills.
Near Richmond, Va., May 11th 1865
My Dear Wife
We start at 11 A.M. for Alexandria. We recd. no mail here & will not until we get through. We were saved the trying ordeal of a Review yesterday by the timely arrival of our good friend Genl. Sherman. The men are much rejoiced as the route advertised by Genl. Halleck would have been most tedious.1
I was in Richmond yesterday. Saw Libby Prison & Castle Thunder & rode through the greater portion of the city.2 I have not time to give you a lengthy description this morning. The half of the business portion of the city is in ruins by fire. It has been quite a pretty place. I rode out to the camp of the 39th Ills. and took dinner with Lace, the Leader of the Band.3 All the boys were over here, & I did not see them until on my return home. I met Charlie McGregor, Addie Wilson, & Jones.4 They are all well; Charlie looks very well. I had not opportunity to talk with them, but we will see them to-day as we pass through the city.
We were cheered a few moments ago by the news that a mail had arrived, but it proved to be a very small one—only two letters for my Company & none for me. We must be content to wait until we reach Alexandria.
I have a negro [freedman] for Bro. Utley on trial. If he proves to be worth anything, I will try & take him through; if not, I will drop him at Alexandria.
All the boys are in good health. We will be about 7 or 8 days on the way. The papers speak of a Grand Review of all the Armies at Alexandria, the 20th inst. I must close & pack up. We hope to be at home early in June.
May Our Father in Heaven bless us with life & health. Kiss Howard for Papa. Remember me kindly to all. I shall look anxiously for late news at Alexandria as it will only require 4 or 5 days for mail to reach us there from home.
Good Bye, God bless you,
Your affect. Husband
J. F. Culver
- On May 8 orders were issued by Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, commanding the Military Division of the James, that the Army of Georgia would pass through Richmond on the 10th. It was to cross the James on the upper pontoon bridge at the foot of 17th Street, and pass through the city by way of 17th, Cary, 21st, Main, 13th, Capitol, Grace, and Adams Streets, to Brook Avenue. The XIV Corps was to have the lead, and the troops would be reviewed by General Halleck from a stand at the courthouse near Capitol Square. General Sherman, who had left his “army group” at Raleigh on April 28, rejoined it near Manchester on the 9th. His first order on arrival was to cancel the review. O. R., Ser. I, Vol. XLVII, pt. III, pp. 437-39, 446. [↩]
- Libby Prison and Castle Thunder were notorious prisons, where the Confederates held Union prisoners of war. [↩]
- The 39th Illinois was assigned to the 1st Brigade, First Division, XXIV Corps, Army of the James. Philip M. Lace of Pontiac on Oct. 11, 1861, was mustered in at Chicago as leader of the regimental band, 39th Illinois Infantry. He was mustered out on June 4, 1862, at Washington, D.C. Lace was reenlisted in the regiment on Jan. 12, 1864, at Joliet, Ill., as a private in Company H, in May he was detached as leader of the regimental band, and on Sept. 23 he was promoted to fife major. Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers, NA. [↩]
- Charles A. McGregor, a 22-year-old clerk, was mustered into service at Chicago on Feb. 22, 1864, as a private in Company C, 39th Illinois Infantry, and on March 22 was detailed to the regimental band. James A. Wilson, an 18-year-old clerk, was mustered into service at Chicago on March 15, 1864, as a private in Company C, 39th Illinois Infantry. Private Wilson was detailed to the regimental band seven days later. Henry T. Jones of Cook County was mustered into service at Chicago on Oct. 11, 1861, as a fifer in Company C, 39th Illinois Infantry. On Nov. 1, 1861 he was appointed principal musician, and on June 13, 1862 he was discharged at Washington, D.C. Twenty months later, on February 29, 1864, Jones reenlisted in the regiment as a private in Company C and was detailed to the regimental band. Ibid. [↩]