September the 29th 1863
I take the present opportunity to rite a few lines to you in answer to your very cinde letter that came to hand today. It was rote the 15th. I was very glad to hear that you and the rest of the friends was well and I hope when these few lines come to hand they will find you still enjoying that great blessing as I am happy to say that I am still well and in good spirits. It is usles to try to tell you anything about the fiting hear for you get all the news by the papers long before you get my letters. Our battery is on the North side of the river down opposite lookout mountain. The rebs have got possession of lookout mountain and our men have got forts built all along on this side and got several guns in there so we expect an artirly fite every our. Both partys are getting guns in position as fast as they can. Our devision and brigrade are both in town. Their is no forces this side of the river only just anuf to ceep the rebs from crossing above and below town. I will draw up a cind of a sceteh of our position hear so that you can understand it better.
You must not think that old Rosey is whipped because he has fallen back in side the fortifactations for he can’t be whiped.
I am riting by candel lite so I will not try to rite mutch but if nothing turns up so I can’t I will rite some more tomorrow. You seam to be very mutch disappointed because I can’t get a furlow and I beleave you think I don’t want one and I guess you are rite but it would make no difference how bad I wanted one for I could not get it. Neither could any other man in this battery so I think it is the best not to want one. Don’t you think it is the best not to want any thing when you know you can’t get it. Now I don’t think hard of you for wanting to se me for I want to se you but I can’t at presant so I will try and be contented and I hope you will but I have got for to note.
Well this is the morning of the 30th and I am still well. It seams that you don’t understand it about our time being out. I will now tell you just how it is but I hope we will be honorablly discharged before that time and I think if Rosy gives the rebs a decent whipping hear we will get home some time this winter one year from the 7th of November the battery time will be up. There is 40 days aloud to each year for furlows that would make 4 months. Some day that time will be taken of the end of the 3 years. If it is you se our time will be out the 7th of July but if they ceep us until the 7th of November they will give us pay for the furlow time. I think that is fare. Now I don’t think you can help but understand this but if their is any thing you don’t understand don’t be afraid to say so for I will be happy to answer any thing you will ask if I can. I long to se the day where I can lay my arms around your neck and have a long talk.
Upside down on page 2
I will now close for this time. Still hoping to remain your loving and true husband
Wm Forder to Sarah A Forder and little girl
Give all my respect to the friends.
Note: No sketch was included with this letter. It’s possible that the drawing may have been lost, done on the back of the page and never scanned, or beginning to realize the dangers of letters which detail troop positions should they fall into enemy hands, military authorities took the sketch before the letter reached Sarah.