This is Sunday morning the 17th and I have got no letter yet. I saw you in my very dream last knight and you was sick but I hope that is not so. What makes me uneasy about you you said you had the headache when you rote. It may be my falt for when we first went to Chattanoga our brigande was left as we thought to stay but you se that fortune proved differant. I told you to direct your letter differant to what you had ben dooing that mabe the reason why I have got no letter for the last 3 weeaks. You may direct them as your first to only put it Cap Naylor in the place of Cox.
I want to know wether you have heard anything from Robert lately and I want to know weather Pahs have heard anything of Jim since the first or not. I saw 2 streaglers the day after the fite out of the 38 but they did not know weather Jim was hart or not but they said thier Regiment was badly cut to peaces. Tell Mother I would like to se a letter from hir once more and tell hir to send me the directions to Robert and I will rite him a letter but I have rote a good deal more than I thought I would when I commenst. But I will close for this time. I hope the time will soon come when I can lay my arm around your lovely form. I don’t know what I would give if I was at home this evening to have a good chat with you. God speed that happy day is my prayer but I must close for this time.
Wm Forder to Sarah A Forder
October the 10th 63
I take the presant opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will finde you and Malisa and all the friends well as I am happy to say that I am well. I fealt somewhat uneasy about you as I have not got any letter for over 2 weeks. The last letter that I got from you was rote the 13th of September. I can’t imagine what is the reason. We are in just the same position as we ware when I rote last. Our boys are firing a few shots at the Lookout Mountain at this time but for some cause unknown the rebs don’t reply to our shots. We are all in fine spirits allto grub is rather scarce. The most of the boys know what it is to not have anuf to eat. I hope this battle will soon be wound to a close and I think it will be for we are all getting reinforced from the arma of the Potomac, but the papers will ceep you better posted than I can.
Jim Mc. is gone to Stevnson Alabama with his horses. All the middle drivers from all the battery was sent to their about a week ago to fead their horses awhile for feed was so scarce hear. It is about 60 miles from hear. I haven’t any idear when they will be back. The knights are very cold but the days are warm and pleasant. But I can’t think of any thing to rite as I haven’t got a letter from you for so long, but I hope the time will soon come when we can all return home to our dear familys and friends. My prayer to god is that he will spair our lives to meet again on earth to enjoy each others society. I long to se that happy day when we can ley our guns aside and dwell in peace at home. God speed that happy day.
But I will close for this time and I hope the time is close at hand when I will get a letter from you and then I will rite again. I want you to rite as often as you can and don’t forget to pray for me.
I still hope to remain your true and loving husband
William Forder to Sarah A Forder
Tell the friends if any of them feald like riting to me to do so and I will insure them they will get an answer.
Note: It’s likely that Jim McMullen was sent to Fort Harker in Stevenson, Alabama. The fort was constructed in 1862 by Union Soldiers and freed slaves. It helped guard strategic rail lines but saw little more action than the occasional skirmish. General Rosecrans established headquarters at Fort Harker in July, 1863, from where he directed a successful campaign against the position of Confederate General Braxton Bragg in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Fort Harker would be abandoned after the war. Today the site has been restored as a city park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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.
September the 20th 1863
I seat myself this beautiful Sabath morning to rite you a few lines hoping they will finde you and our little girl well as I am happy to say that I am well. O Sarah what would I give to be at home this morning to go to meeting with you the Church bells are ringing now and it makes me feald very solem to think over the past thier has been thousands of pore fellows lade beneeth the sod within the last year that will never enjoy the society of thier friends hear on earth but I hope they are enjoying unbounded bliss at God’s rite hand whare sicness sorrow pain and dith are felt and heard no more.
I am sorry to say that one more of our little squad is dead. Isac Marty is dead. He died at Nashville but I haven’t been able to lurn the particulars of his death. We left him at Murpheesboro when we left their 3 months ago. He was sick but nobody thought thier was mutch the matter with him but time has proved differant. Time is the best fortune teller in the world.
The rest of the boys are well and I do hope that we will all be spared to return home.
Well I will now tell you that we are still at Chattanooga. Our brigade is no longer in the woods division. their is a mounted brigade put in our place so Brigadier General Wagoner has charge of the town for the preasant. His brigade is composed of the 57 Ind 40 Ind and 15 Ind and the 97 Ohio Regiments and the 10t Ind battery. I will now tell you how to direct your letters untill further orders. _____ I will rite it on another peace of papers.
Their was some havy fiting in frunt yesterday but the rebs got the worst of it. I would not be supprised if this would be the bloodiest battle that ever was fought for both armys are reinforcing heavly. I am in hope that this will be the last battle but it is of no use for me to be riting about it for you will se all about it by the papers.
I believe I have rote all I can think of at this time so I will close for this time. I haven’t got any letter from you since I rote last Sunday. The last I got was mailed at Salem but I expect to get one in a day or two. Ma God speed the day when we can talk to each other in the place of riting is my prayer but I will close by saying I still hope to remain your loving and true husband
Wm Forder to Sarah A Forder and child and all the friends rite soon
Upside down on Page 2
I haven’t got that letter from your Pah yet and it is time I was getting one from Mother unless they have turned me of as one of the lost sheep of Iseral but I guess they will all take the time sets rite
Washington hosptial Ward H Memphis Ten
September the 19/63
Mr Scott Hubbard
I now seat myself to write a few lines to you to inform you that I am well fat and sassey and I hope when these few lines come to hand they will find you all well. Well Scott I received your letter in dilue time and was glad to hear that you was all well. Well Scott, I would like to come home and see you all again and get some good peaches to eat once more and help make molasses this year. I was at home last year when you maid molasses but I can’t come home they won’t give me any furlough to come home so I can’t come. Well Scott I have just been to market and I have got me some butter so I shal have some butter for supper. I wish I was at home to knight to get my supper. I could have some thing good to eat and that is what we’ll never get down here. I tell you that live like gentlemen while I live like a pore negro. I tell you they don’t care for poor solders no more than they do for a dog or half so mutch as you would for yours. Well Scott the weather is verry cold down here now. I twas cold anough this morning for me to wear my over coat and then I could not reckuann I didn’t believe I could stand the cold if I was to come home for I have been down here in this warm country for so long that I can’t stand the cold any more. Well Scott I want you to speak good word to some of the girls for me for I can’t get to come home home to do it myself. Well Scott I suppose my regement is at New Orleans and they are agoing to Mobeal from New Orleans. I don’t know whether I will ever find them again or not. Well, I will close by asking you to write as soon as you get this so
Robert to Scott Hubbard
This Saturday the 19 of September
So Good by
September the 13th
I take the preasant opportunity to rite a few lines to you in answer to your very cinde and welcome letter of the 6th witch came to hand yesterday. I was very glad to hear that you and all the rest of the friends was well but was sorry to hear that you was so uneasy about me. I knew you would be but I could not help it for I rote every chance I got. I can assure you that it was no neglect of mine.
Well I will now tell you that I am well fat and sasy. I never had as nice a time playing soldier before as I have at this time. We are in Chattanooga and Wayoners brigrade is left hear to garrison the town. Our battery is devided into 3 parts now. They have put 2 guns in afort one fort is on the North West corner of town, no 1 and No 2 guns are their. No 2 is the gun I belong to and their is another fort at the North east corner of town. No 4 and No 5 is in that one and No 3 and 6 is in one on the North side of town. We have put 26 of our horses in a good new stable rite in town. Thier is a man to every 2 horses to take care of them. I have charge of 15 horses and 7 men. I have to see that the horses are watered 3 times a day and ishew the feed to the drivers for them and se that they are well curied and taken good care of every way. We have got our tents close to the stable and we have got a large tent and got our table in the center and benches to set on. I am setting on one now and writing on the table. We are first is near rite now as solders ever get I think. We have got a well of as good water rite close as you ever saw if it wasn’t for being seperated from you I would be as well satesphied as I ever was in my life but that is one thing I have to bare with for it can’t be helped at presant but I trust to God that it will not be long untill this wicked rebellion shal be put low so that we that are alive can return home to our dear familys and friends but I do desire to be thankful to God that it is as well with us as what it is for while we are being blest with ripe health and prospect fare, there is so many more a pore soldier laying benith the sod whose friend ware as dear and near to them as they are to us but we know that God will do what is rite if we will only do as we should do.
I know that I am a pore sinful creature of the dust but I trust that God will for give all my sins and take are of us all. It is just one year today since we left home but I trust that it will not be another year untill we will meet to enjoy our selves again. I can’t se how the war is to last mutch longer. The Tenesseens are deserting first as fast as they can. They told Brag they would not fite unless he stade hear. There is ben over 500 diserted since they left hear and they are comming in all the time. God speed the day when thier will not be a reb in America.
You think I had better not sell Quen. It shall be as you say. I have no doubt but what she is dooing well anuff. I am got so that I hardly ever think about our affares out there for I know that I can’t do them any good if I was to set down and cry half my time about them so I have concluded to let them rest easy untill I get home.
You wished I was their to eat peaches. I had lots of peaches while we ware marching but they are pleyed out now and to the pie it is something I know nothing about. I have saw some things they caled pie but not many.
Well this is Monday morning and I am still well. Their is a pretty hard fite going on about 20 miles from hear they have got Brag surrounded I think his doors is sealed or at least I hope so but I must quit for this time for I have got some work to do this morning cleaning up our yard and stables.
So good by for this time hoping still to remain your loving and true husband
To Sarah A Forder
Rite soon and often
Moutgomery County PNA
September 13th 1863
It being a pleasant and calm day will undertake to address to you a few lines to inform you that we are all well at this time and I hope and trust these lines will find you all enjoying good health and prosperity. The health hear is tolerable good considering the weather has bin so verry hot and dry but night before last we had a splendid rain to most we have had a one time cince last April. This has bin a verry dry season in this part of the cuntry and a verry singeally season. There has bin food in every mouth so far. We had a frost the 30 day of August to make ice at night. It nipt the corn beady and vines in places but has done but verry little damage in this neighborhood. The corn crop is not so good as as we jenerally have but I think this will be plenty to do this part of the country if nothing happens. It yet is seems to be verry late. I suppose it being so dry is the cause. The wheat crop is verry good. Oats and grass way berry lite. We have plenty of all kinds of fruit, peaches is now ripe. I will now tell you something in regard to the lines in this part of the world. Every thing bears a very good price horse and cattel is high. Stock hogs seams to be low, there is noting said about pork hear yet, Shaafe bears a good price. Wheat is worth about 95 cents per bushel. Corn 50 cents per bushel. Oats 10 cents. Hay pr ton $8. Potatoes per bushel 75 cents. butter per pound 10 cents. eggs 7 cents per dozen. lard 9 cents per pound. bacon 7 cents per pound. chickens each 10 cents. Cornmeal per bushel 60 cents. Thew molasss of William Forder is sold. William Adams got them. He paid me for fifteen gallons . I want Sarah to write to me how many gallons there was in the barrel as I have forgot he never took them away until June. I want Sarah to tell me how to send him the money by a currier letter or by express. He paid me 40 cents per gallon. He told me that was the price you gave him a good one. I will now come to a close as I am can’t of something to write. Love you as a family in sending our best wishes to you all so good by for this time
Note: Even though this letter was from George Hubbard to William Forder and is not related to the water, I choose to keep it in the collection because I was intrigued by the itemization of pricing and products within the letter.
August the 28th 63
I seat myself this morning to rite you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I hope that these few lines will find you enjoying the same great blessing. It has been about 2 weeks since I have had an opportunity of riting to you. We left Pelham on the 16th and I have received 2 letters from you since that time and was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you and Leisa and the rest of the folks ware well. We are now laying on the top of the mountain. Chatanoga is about 8 miles from us on the other side of the Tenesee river. We can se the town. The rebs are thier in hevy force and I think they intend to give us a fite hear. We have ben hear 5 days. We are waiting on the rite and center. They are swimging around. I think the calculation is to surround the town. We ma have to ley hear some time for Rosey will have everything redy before he closes in on them. It is splendid senery hear. We can se as far as the eye can se. We are 1500 feet above the valey. Wilders brigad of mounted men are down in the valy in between us and the town. His battery has shelled the town. Some the rebs fired a 32 poinder at them twice. The first shot cild 4 horses and took of a sargents leg but the other shot done no damage. They fired several shots at our men with smaller guns but they could not reach them. The river is 6 hundread and 50 yards wide in frunt of the town. I don’t think our brigade will have mutch of any fiting to do for I think the fiting will be on the other side of the river for we can’t get about to them nor they can’t get to us with out putting pontoon briges across and I don’t think that will be done yet awhile.
We are waiting for an opportunity to go close a nuff to shell the town some, if they would let us go within 2 miles of the town we can give them fits with our 10 pound Parit guns. I think the most of the fiting will be done with artilery.
I don’t want you to be uneasy about me for God is able to take care of me. I think if we are successful hear it will be the last fiting we will have to do. You want me to get a furlow that is an impossibility for thier hasn’t ben but one or to men got furlows in this brigade for 4 or 5 months that I know of and that was to sick men and to one whose family was dead dying and sick. We will have to wait the lords time. He will do what is best for us if we only put our trust in him. My daily prayer is that the time will soon come when this wicked rebellion shal be put down so that we can return to our dear familys and friends. God speed that happy day but I must close for time.
Still hoping to remain your loving husband Wm. Forder to Sarah Forder.
Pray for me that I may prove faithful to you and our God so fare the well for this time. Rite soon and often.
Upside down on page 1: Our riting material is at back in the rear. We made out to get some paper and envelops this morning. Thier is only our brigade and 3 of four guns and have ben for 6 days.
July the 26th 1863
I take the preasnt opportunity to rite you a few lines to you to let you know that I am well and I hope these few lines will finde you and Leisa and all the rest of the folks well. I feated somewhat disappointed as I did not get any letter today. I rote your Pah a letter 3 or 4 days ago. I sent it to Salem. I told him that I had made arrangements to have 40.00 expressed to Salem for you. It will be expressed in your pahs name. We expected to have been paid before this time but we are not paid yet but I think we will be in a day or to and as soon as we are paid the rols will be sent rite on to Indianapolis to state agent and the money will be paid to him and he will express it to wharever it is to go. So you can ceep send of a lookout of it. This is a purportedly safe way to send our money home. We are to get 4 months pay this time.
Well I will now tell you that we have mooved campe since I rote to you last. We mooved last Monday about one mile and a half. We crost over Elk River and went into camp rite at the foot of the mountain. We have got a very nice situation hear. Everything is quiet. Their is no indication of a moove at preasant but their is nothing what will turn up but thier is one thing surtain if we have to cross the mountains hear we will have a good time cleaning out roads. When the rebs left hear they choped down trees across the roads and whare they could they blasted rock out of the cliffs in to the road but I think they will have the fun of clearing out thier own roads after the war is settled. Their has been but very little news in the paper for a few days but I am in hopes it won’t be many day untill we hear of the fall of Charls town. Ma God speed the day when Charlstown and all the rest of the strong holds of the trators shall be cleaned out. I think the rebellion has got its head cut of and I don’t think it can live long with it’s head off at least I hope it but still I am not tired enuf of the survace yet to give the theavs one inch. I would rather fite them 10 years than give them one inch. My polacy is when ever they return to thier loyality is to forgive the common soliders but hang the leaders.
You said in your last that Malisa was sick. Purhaps there is something serious the matter that I did not get any letter today. So I will wait untill tomorrow before I seal this up purhaps I will get a letter tomorrow.
This is Tuesday morning and I am still enjoying good health. I got a letter from you yesterday. It was mailed the 24th of this month. You wanted to know if I had got my shirt. I told you all about it in one letter. Perhaps you never got it. I got it in due time. It fits first rate. I have got a good supply of clothing. Now, we are seeing a very nice time hear . Now, if I could only se you and our little girl once in a while I would be satisfied. But I want to close. Hopeing to still remain you true and loving Husband.
Wm Forder to Sarah A Forder and child and all the friends
Rite soon and often all the news you can.
Home July 23rd 1863
With pleasure I sett myself afternoon to answer your letter that I received long enough ago to have answered it a dozon times but I have much to do as the men are working at our house. I expect they will get done next week. O Sarah, did old Morgan teare you away from your home. The Home Guards all went from here. Wes and all said if they got to go down to Salem they were going out to see you all but they only got to go as far as Meichell. They stayed there four days and then was ordered home. Wes said he would have down to see but he was taking sick and could not go.
I wish he could have went to see you all. He did not get to see old Morgan but I think the old fox will be caught yet. I wish I could have been at Salem that day when he eat dinner there. I think I should have him something in his dinner so he would not have felt like riding so fast soon again. But there is other men so mean as him and hear in our state too. They copperheads are just as mean as him every bit. They are drilling here every Saturday. The whole Booher get from beginning to ending except Pah and Bill H Booher. Some of them would not give their names or ages to the enrolling officer. Bill Martz said he would kill him if he come back there again. They say they won’t go if they drafted. We will see about that.
When Wes was coming home from Crawfordsville with some of the Wallice Blue, John Booher overtook them. Wes said how are you John but He never so much as turned his head to look at him. First because he went to dive old Morgan out of Indiana. If it was not for the Union men I would want him to come through here and take erything they had. I would be glad to see them.
But Sarah if you was here I would tell you so much about the old butternuts.
I would love to see yours so well and see Sissy and Clarkie tak a romp. Charles has got to be quite a man. He wears pants. You out to see him when his pa come home from Michall, Clarkie asked him if he shot old Morgan. Martha made him a flag and he will take it and when the men comes in wave it saying three cheers for the red white and blue, but I hope it won’t be long before the boys can come home and then we can see each other talk. That will be better than to write. I must have a little chat with Julia.
Your loving cousin
Well Julia you wrote to the girls that if I did not write before long you would come up and tend to me. If I though that would bring you up I would not write at all. If you got here I think you would get in a good humor. Oh Julia, I wish you could have been here the 4th of July. We had such a nice time. The ladies of Darling presented the Wallace Blues with a new flag. We made a dinner and got over a hundred dollars. I must get some more paper or I can’t rite no more.
Note: While this letter is specifically from one of Sarah’s cousins and not from or to William or other members of the 10th, it does give an interesting cross view of the incident with the Morgan Raids so I felt it would be appropriate to include it. Plus, I like Rhoda’s cheek.