April 14, 1863

Tuesday April the 14th 63

Dear Sarah,

I seat my self this morning to rite a few lines to you hoping they will finde you and our little girl and all the rest of the friends well as I am thankful to say that I am well at this time and so is the rest of the boys. I rote you a letter last Saturday and told you that we expected to go out on a scout but but we didn’t go. I told you in that if we didn’t go I would rite again the first of this weeak and you know I always try to fulfill my promises. I put a finger ring in my last letter for you that I made out of a shell that I got out of the Cumberlain River last fall. I don’t know wheather you will get it or not but I thought I would risk it. You must let mee know wether you get it or not.
I started 10 dollars in a letter to you the first of last week and I am a going to put 10 in this one. You must let me know as soon as you can weather you get it all rite or not.
It seams that I can’t think of any thing to rite this morning but I think if I was at home this morning with you I could talk a little. I guess I will close for this time and rite a little to Emily. So good by for this hoping to remian your loving husband
Wm Forder to S.A. Forder and friends rite soon.

Well Emily you said some time ago if I did not hury and come home you would be married befor I got their. Now I think you had better wait untill the soldiers get back because I am prety surtain you would rather have a solider than a coward. But I will have to close so good by rite and tell me all about it and and let me know who is to be my brother-in-law be shure to rite

Wm Froder to Emily P Hubbard

Upside down on page 4

William Forder Emily Hubbard

April 11, 1863

April the 11th 63

Dear Sarah,

I seat myself this after noon to rite a few lines to you in answer to your cinde letter of the 5th wich came to hand day before yester day. I was very glad to hear that you ware all well and I hope thoes few lines ma finde you still enjoying that great blessing as I am happy to say that I am enjoying good health at this time. We are still in our old camp yet. Their is a romer a in camp that we are going out on a scout to morrow and if we do go we mea begon several days. So I thought I had better rite to day so that you would be sure to get a letter next weeak. But if we don’t go I will rite again the first of the weeak.
It cinder bores mee the way Sil Hiatt is a dooing but I have trust that it is best to take things coolly. So I seat down yesterday and rote him a torable deasant letter and asked him to send me an account of the settlement before him and {Illegible} and I told him after he had sent the account and saw how they stood if there was any thing coming to him I would send it to him or have it sent for I wanted that note and the note I must have.
Now this is acting the hipacrit for mee to rite him a friendly letter and it goes against the grit to do so but you know as well as I do it is no use trying to force him to do any thing. So I think the best way is to be as easy as possible untill we get clear of him.
I rote Issac Booher a letter last March. I forgot to say that his letter was in yours that I got day before yesterday. It hasn’t rained any hear for over a weaks. It is getting very dirty. I should have to close for this time. Hoping to remain your loving husband
Wm Forder
Ciss our little girl for me. Rite as often as you can

 

Notes:  “Tand Sudisil” would be the closest literal transcription of two words that appear in the text in the section marked illegible.  I have no idea what the actual text was, though the writing was mostly clear.  When attempting to transcribe these two words, both Alysia and I even went as far as tracing over the words in an attempt to ferret out the actual text but the technique did not work in this case.  I speculate that there is a name indicated here.

A family history on the Booher family indicates that a Jacob Booher settled in Darlington, Indiana and had a younger brother named Issac who lived in Virginia.  It’s likely that William met him through Jacob.  

April 5, 1863

April the 5th 1863

Dear Sarah,

I seat myself this beautiful Sabbath evening to rite a few lines to you in answer to your very cinde letter that came to hand to day witch was dated April the 2th . I was glad to hear that you ware all well and I hope when thoes few lines come to hand they may finde you and all the rest of the folks still enjoying that greatest of blessings as I am very thankful to say that I am enjoying as good helth at this time as I have since I came in the searvice. The weather has been quite cold for last 5 days but to day the sun is shining as clear and was as thoe it were May. When I say it has ben cold I don’t mean it has ben freezing for it hasn’t froze any for some time. We are still leying whar we ware when I last rote in side the breast works and I haven’t any idear how long we will stay hear.

I will now tell you that we have got pay again for 2 months witch was 26 doll. I am going to put 10 dollars in this letter for you and when I hear from it I will send some more. You said you did not get are a letter last week. I rite a letter to you every week and I want you to do the same. You said Pap wanted mee to se Jim as he rote he ws sick. He was hear to day and one of my old schoomates Heimel Sulivan.

Jim said he hadn’t ben very well for some time but he is well now.

O Sarah. How hapy I should be if I could be at home this evening to enjoy the sweet society of my dear little family and friends and I trust it will not be long untill I can enjoy that great pleasure. I shal have to close for this time hoping to remain your loving Husband.

Wm Forder to his loving wife SA Forder and all the friends.

Upside down on Page 3
Be sure to rite often.

The Copperhead Movement

In up coming letters, you will start to hear William discuss the local “Copperheads”  The Copperheads or “Peace Democrats” were northern sympathizers to the confederates.  They were defined by being anti-war, pro-slavery, and very vocal about their stance.  Historians note that many Copperheads focused on political activities such as organizing anti-war political rallies, opposing pro-war and abolitionist candidates, and fighting against the draft.  Some Copperheads attempted to talk Union soldiers into deserting.  There were also indications that some Copperheads had been planning to assist with the escape of Confederate prisoners and sometimes served as paid informants to Confederate agents.  A series of trials in 1864 accused prominent Copperheads of treason.

The majority of Copperheads were in the southern Midwest in southern Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana which is likely why they feature so frequently in letters between William and his family in Darlington, Indiana.  Demographically, members of the Copperhead movement consisted of former Southerners who had moved north of the Ohio River, the poor, and merchants whose businesses were suffering due to loss of business down south.  The group also consisted of many German and Irish Catholics from mill town and mining communities.

There remains a fair amount of debate among historians on the effect of the Copperhead movement on the war as well as the extent of their loyalty to the Union and the depth of their racist views. 

 

Undated – Dear Father and Mother

Dear Father and Mother

I don’t know wether I can think of any thing to rite or not as I have rote about all I can think of but it makes no difference wo I rite to. You all get to se what I rite. I am always very glad to hear from any of you.
I can’t think of anything els to rite so I will give you a short discription of the country. Hear it may be interesting to you. Murpheesboro has ben a prety smart town but like all the rest of the Southern towns they are going to ruin. In the place of improving farm 4 to 5 miles and in some places father around merfreesboro the land is level and torable good. Where ever the land is level it is inclined to be rather smampy and for that reason the roads are all graded but in agreat many places the roads are ruined. There has been so much wagoning done. I believe about one half of the timber in this state is sedar. Nearly all the rails are made of sedar. I have saw hundreds of acres of sedar so thick a man could not ride threw it and again I have saw acres in a body that could se nothing but rack. The farmers turn thier attention generaly to the groth of cotten but thier will be but very little of any thing raised this season for the men are nearly all gon both white and black. I shall have to close for the time hoping to remain your loving sun and brother.

Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard and all the rest.

Upside down on Page 1
Be sure to rite whenever you can and tell me all the news

Murfreesboro, TN

Murfreesboro TN

Dear Father and Mother.

I take the opportunity and rite a few lines to you as I haven’t told Sarah whare we are now. We have mooved back within half a mild of town in side the breast works. Their is a fite expected hear and if there is one it will be a big one and I think if we whip them hear it will about test the tale for them. We are well pirs (?) for them. We are on the east side of town and there is a line of breast that is 7 milds long on this side and it extends clear around the town and then their is some of the toulest breast work on the North West side of town I ever saw and they have got a lot of seage guns planted in there but a nuf of that. The peach trees are in full blossem but it turned cold last nite and the wind fairly blows today but it is to late in the season hear to freeze. I will have to close for this time hoping to remain your loving sun in law and brother while if that lasts.

Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard and Children and all the friends rite soon

Upside down on page 2
Rite soon and tell all me all the news you can

Transcription Note: The word “pirs” was an enigma and remains so even after several attempts by myself and Alysia to determine the actual word. In context, a word such as “prepared” or “ready” should have been implied. But even going over assumed misspellings, abbreviations or slang options, we couldn’t really determine what exactly William had written. His “h” sometimes tended to drop below the line or it could have been an “f” or “p” which also appear similar in William’s handwriting. In short, we are unsure exactly what word he had indicated, hence the question mark following it.

March 8, 1863

March the 8th, 1863

Dear Sarah

I again seat myself to rite a few lines to you in answer to your cinde letter that came to hand yesterday. I was very glad to get such a large letter or letters I might say for it was from you and your pap. It and the shirt was mailed the 5 and I got them the 7. The shirt came rite a long with the letter. I got the minitures and the socks all rite but I told you about that in my other letters. I sent 5 dollars in my last letter and and I want you to let me know as soon as you can wether you get it or not. I rote it the 4th of the month.
We are still laying in our old camp yet but I can’t tell how long we will stay hear for. Sunday as it is thier is heavy firing going on West of town and it can’t be over 7 or 8 milds from the way it sounds. There is scouting partys out all the time and they they are running in to prowling bnds of rebs every once in a while. They say they was a party of our men atacked yesterday by 4 regiments of negros but the negros got baddly whiped thank fortune.
This is in the afternoon and every thing is quiet. The firing that was heard this morning has ceased. I have just come from a buring. There is a fare fellow has to take his leap of death every few days by sicness but that is nothing in compareason to the deaths carried by powder and lead. It is aweful to ce how this country is being strewed with graves. You can’t go any place hardly but what you can se graves fore fellows. They are sleeping their long sleep and I am a fraid their is but very few of them prepared to met thier god for this is the awefulest place for wickedness I ever saw. It seams like they think they can’t be a soldier unless they can sware, play cards, drink whiskey allthoe Their are some are captains. Thank god the trepassing part of our croud from our Neighborhood are all dooing as well as can be expected under existing circumstances. I will now tell you that I am well and all the rest of the boys except G Sands and Jim has ben to ce him to today and he is getting some better but he is not able to set up yet. I hope this will finde you all well. Ciss our little girl for me. I will have to quit for this time. Rite home soon and often.

Upside down on Page 1

I hope to remain true and loving husband while life shal last. Wm Forder to SA Forder

February 26, 1863

February the 26th 1863

Dear Father and Mother and Brothers and Sister

I take the preasant opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will find you all well as I am thankful to say that I am well. I am always very glad to hear from you and it would do me a heap more good to se you all but I am willing to wate with patance for the sake of our beloved country. I know that I could not be satesfide at home while the simpesithers are are cutting up so I don’t want to come home until I can stay for I don’t think I could stand it to part with my dear family and friends again. I hope it will not be long untill this thing will be settled. I wish all the northern simpesithers ware in a fite with a nuff powder under them to blow them to heaven and I had a orders to touch it off. I hope that will have more sense than to make it necessary for an army to pass threw our beloved state for it is awful to se the destruction of property where an army goes. The farming is all destroyed for 2 or 3 milds around Murfreesboro and from hear to Nashville within site of the road there is a great many large farms that thier ain’t hardly a rail left or any timber left to make rails. We are still laying in camp near Murfreesboro and I haven’t any I dear how long we will lay hear but I hope we will stay untill the wether settles. We have had a heep of rain and lately it has rained for 36 ours and it is still raining rite along.

I told Sarah that I would send hir a little money but I haven’t had any chance to sende it yet. If I don’t get a chance to send it before long I will sende it in a letter but I will let you know when I send it and how I sent it. I will have to close for this time.

Hoping to remain your loving Sun and Brother

Wm Forder to GS Hubbard and children
Rote as often as you can. Rite rite rite

Upside down on page one
I forgot to say that Jim McMullen is well fat and sasey

February 20, 1863

February the 20th 1963

Dear Sarah,

I take the preasnt opportunity to rite a few lines to you in answer to your cinde letter that came hand yesterday and the miniturs came all rite. I was assuredly glad to get them. I think yours look just like you but Leissy’s I can’t tell anything about it. I think it would have taken better in dark close but it will doo very well. Every body wonders how I came to get such a good looking woman. That’s our business, not theirs and they say that is a cute little girl too. The socks haven’t come yet but you neadnt to bother about that part. I have socks a plenty . We got a little money yesterday and but a little. We only got 3 months pay and after paying our clothing bill we hadn’t much left. We are aloud 3 1/2 dollars a month for clothing and you know we had to draw a full suit in the start. So after getting the clothing bill I got 21.85 and thier is a month and a half behind to go uppon. I can’t send very mutch home. I had borwed a little and I want to ceep a little to wich you will have no objection. I know the express man will be hear today. I guess if not he will be hear in a day or to and then I will express 12.00 to Salim in your paps name. This is a very small sum but it is the best I can do to ceep 10 or 5 dollars to buy a little something fit to eat once in awhile. This will be enough to buy you and our little girl a dress or to. You said you wished I could se the little girls playing together. I wish I could. It would be joy beyond measure.

You wanted to know if my teeth bothered any more. I haven’t had the tooth ache 5 minits for 4 months or more. I expect you would like to know wether I am well or not. I can tell you that I feald better now than I have for a long time. The rest of the boys are all well except T Sands. He is frechly sick. He has a severe cold settled on his lungs.
I hope when this comes to hand it will finde you all well. I will have to close for this time. Rite soon.

From your loving husband
Wm Forder to Sarah Forder

February 20, 1863

February the 20th

I guess near Merfreesboro TN
They say it is Thursday. I don’t know.

Dear Father and Mother

I take this opportunity to rite a few lines to you. I am well and hope when thoes few lines I come to hand they may finde you all well. You have me some of the price of things and said you expected I didn’t know much about the prices hear. I don’t know anything about the price of iron or sow belly or hard tacks or any thing that Uncle Abe gives us. The drifters sell cheap ham 30 ct to 50 ct a pound and butter from 50 to 60 ct. a pound. They have fruit in quart cans and they sell them from 1 to 2 dollars according to the scareyty of them and everything in accordance with those figures and they sell thier whiskey for $1.00 a pound but thank fortune that don’t cost me any thing but some will have the critter but a nuf of that. They say hey are arming the negros. I wish they would let the niger question alone for it will truly cause trubble in the union army if they do arm them. I do hope this war will be settled before long for it seams the longer the worse. But I hope they will have more sense to than to gote fiting in the North for it looks distressing to se the destruction of property where the army goes. I will have to close. Rite soon I hope to remain your loving son in law life shall last.

Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard and children

Upside down on page one
Rite soon and give all the news you can think up. Give my respect to all the friends.