A Brief History of William Forder

William Forder was born in Alton, Hampshire, England in 1837 and was named after his father, William Forder Sr.  William Sr., his wife Maria, William Jr., and younger son James came to the United States about 1840.  William Jr. would have been about 3 years old. They first settled in Indiana and had about ten more children.  William married Sarah Hubbard August 28, 1860 and their daughter Milissa was born a year later.  Sarah and William were married only 2 years and their child was a year old when he enlisted. 
 
Photo of a young William Forder.  Notations on the photo indicate it may have been a tin type.
 
William Forder had three brothers who also served the Union during the Civil War.  According to the collection’s inventory, there are letters to and from these brothers which are not included at this time.
 
James Forder, Pvt, enlisted at age 22, on Sept. 18, 1861, Co. D, 38th Indiana Infantry. Listed as missing at Chickamauga. Reenlisted as a veteran volunteer on Dec. 28, 1863, at Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sent to Chattanooga hospital Nov. 20, 1864, for chronic Rheumatism. Transferred to a Nashville hospital. Mustered out July 15, 1865.
 
Albert Forder, Pvt, enlisted at age 18, on Sept. 18, 1861, Co. D, 38th Indiana Infantry. Died in Nashville hospital, April 1, 1862, of Typhoid Fever.
 
Robert H. Forder, Pvt, Co. B, 16th Rgt, Indiana Volunteers. Wounded at Vicksburg on May 19, 1863. Died at Washington hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, Nov. 10, 1863.

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September 28, 1882

Sep the 28th 1862

Dear Sarah

I take the present opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will find you well and dooing well as thank god it leaves me and all the rest of our squad. Well, I will now tell you a little a bout our movements. We got on the train at Indapolis bound for Louisville Friday night at 5 oclock. We got to our batry a little before day lite. We then ladown and selp about 7 our. Our batery was down at the loer end of town. We had orders to march as soon as we eat breakfast so we hitched up and started. We hadn’t the least idear where we were going but we started up the river and went up threw town. We hadn’t went far before it commenst raining. We marched some 6 mils and went in to a camp again. It rained on us until nearly night when it cleared of so that we had a pleasant knight and it is still pleasant this morning. I can’t tell how long we will stay hear but not long. I expect for there is no danger of the rebbels coming hear. It is a general beleaf that the fiting is a bout over.

I have taken charge of 2 horses. There is 6 horses to each cannon and 3 drivers. I drive the wheel horses of canon No. 2 witch is a 10 pounder and will throw a ball 5 mils. I will now come to close for this time I will rite again in a few days and I want you to rite and let me know how you are getting along. I hope you have become better satesfided by this time. I don’t want you to worey your self about me for I assure that I am dooing well and seing an easy time. Don’t forget to pray for me that I ma be spared to return to enjoy our society.

So fare well from your loving husband
Wm Forder to Sarah Forder and daughter

Jacob Marty is hear now and I saw Dave Sands yesterday. I don’t know how many boys I have saw since I have ben hear that I know. I saw Jrd Cad yesterday. He told me to send his respect to you and all the rest of the folks. Direct your letters to the 10th Ind batery Cap Cox 21 brigade 6th Division.

 

Notes:

William here mentions three friends, “Jacob Marty”, “Dave Sands” and “Jrd Cad”. No soldiers with the name Marty or Cad served with the Indiana 10th Battery though about a dozen soldiers by the name of “Jacob Martin” served with various Indiana and Illinois units. There is also no David Sands with the unit but a volunteer by the name of Thomas H.B. Sands from Darlington is listed. He mustered in on September 13, 1862 and mustered out on July 10, 1965.

“Cap Cox” refers to the unit’s Captain, Jerome Cox. He received his commission on November 20, 1861 and resigned on June 2, 1863. More on him to be posted.

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Excerpt from Regimental History

Note:  The following is a section from the official Regimental history as recorded in the Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana, Volume 3, by W.H.H. Terrell, Adjutant General, Indiana, 1866.  Additional excerpts will be posted prior to each major movement of the regiment, with links to sites detailing the histories of the battles that are indicated in the report.

The Tenth Battery of Light Artillery was ordered to be raised on the 13th of November, 1861 and was recruited in the Eight Congressional District during the remainder of the fall and winter of that year, with recruiting headquarters at Lafayette. Rendezvousing at Indianapolis it was there mustered into service on the 25th of January, 1861 with Jermone B Cox as Captain and on the same day left the state capital for Louisville. At that place it went into Camp Gilbert, where it remained until February 1862, drilling and preparing for the Tennessee campaign. Joining General Nelson’s division of Buell’s army, it marched with it to Nashville, assisting in the capture of that place.

In March, the division moved to the Tennessee river and crossing over participated in the Battle of Shiloh on the second day. The battery, however, owing to the lack of transportation, was compelled to remain at Savannah until after the battle. After camping on the field of Shiloh for a brief period the battery moved with the army against Corinth and participated in the siege of that place. Upon its evacuation it marched with Buell’s army into Northern Alabama to Athens where it was placed in the reserved artillery. Remaining there until the latter part of July, it then moved to Decherd Station, Tennessee, where it joined Gen. Thomas J. Wood’s division and, with that division, campaigned through Northern Alabama and Southern Tennessee. Upon the advance of Bragg’s army it fell back to Nashville, and from thence marched through Kentucky to Louisville. From Louisville the battery moved through Kentucky, participating in the campaign that ended in driving from that state the rebel General Bragg’s invading army.

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FAQ

1. What’s up with the spelling? Readers will notice that some of the spelling in these letters are, to be blunt, atrocious. This is not me. I attempted to preserve the spelling and syntax as accurately as possible against the original. However, readers should note that photocopies from microfilm are not always that clear, the handwriting is not always stellar and sometimes the spelling was so bad that a given word was unfathomable. Therefore, in some cases, I was forced to use context along with general word shape and in some few cases experience with the writer’s writing style in order to glean the best transcription from a jumble of nonsense. Therefore, if some small parts are not 110% accurate against the original, I do beg the reader’s indulgence.

2. Can you post the original, handwritten letters? You will not at any time see a scan or image of any of the full, original letters posted to this blog. These are transcriptions only. The reason for this is that the microfilm copies technically belong to the Indiana Historical Society and they are bound by specific rules, sometimes set out by the donor of the collection. Therefore, I was given very specific instructions on what I can and cannot post. I can post the transcriptions and the graphics from the stationery, but not a scan or image of the entire letter. If you wish to view the original microfilm, they can be found at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis. Their website is www.indianahistory.org. You can request copies via email or visit to view the microfilm in person. Please reference “Letters of Forder and Hubbard Families Microfilm Collection F90” when making your request.  Photocopies are available for a fee.  The original, original letters were returned to their owners after being photographed to microfilm in 1963 and their current location or owners are unknown. 

3. Is this the complete “Letters of Hubbard and Forder” collection? No. More letters existed going as far back as 1860 within the collection and as far forward as 1867. I largely requested letters starting when William Forder joined the 10th in 1862 and going through his and Jim McMullen’s time of service with the unit and stopping in 1865. Most of the letters are from them, but I included a few from other family members that relate directly to war conditions of the time.

4. Do you have any photos of William, Sarah or anyone else? Not at the time this blog was established but if any come to light, I will be sure to make a supplemental posting of them or include them in a letter post if I am so permitted.

5. Was your ancestor James actually friends with William? Why transcribe letters from someone you are not related to? As indicated in the first post to this blog, it is possible that James and William crossed paths and even worked together. Just because William doesn’t mention James in a letter does not mean that a connection was not possible, it’s just not confirmed. However, I volunteered to transcribe this section of the collection because I felt it would give me good insight into James’ day to day existence.

6. Are you going to transcribe the rest? This was a volunteer project that held personal interest for me, which is why I targeted only letters relating to William and Jim McMullen’s service periods as they were contemporaries of my ancestor. With the demands of my current day job and other projects, I don’t have the spare time to transcribe the rest at this time. However, that doesn’t rule out future possibilities.

7. Some letters are undated. How do you know when they were written? Unfortunately I don’t. For now we have to assume that any letters were kept in relative order by their keepers through the years and scanned in that order. Therefore, any undated letters are included in relation to the other letters in the collection and will be posted the day after the previous letter.

8.  How will we know when the next post/letter is coming?  Can you post more frequently or regularly?  The release of letters is timed to the date they were written on.  Sometimes there are gaps in the timeline for the letters.  I’m hoping that the supplemental information will help fill in some of the bigger gaps but otherwise, we are all bound by the writing schedule of William Forder and company.  Please take lack of updates up with them.

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Credits

I wanted to take a brief moment to acknowledge a few contributors to this blog.

The first credit should go to Kate Scott and the References Services Department at the Indiana Historical Society for providing me with photocopies of the letters and giving permission for me to create this blog. They are the official holders of this collection on microfilm and Kate has been an enthusiastic supporter of my project since I first emailed about the letters. If you enjoy these letters, please consider visiting their website at www.indianahistory.org and becoming a member or making a donation to their mission.

Second, design credit should go to Alysia Robinette for lending her graphic design skills to this project. Not all the letters photocopied cleanly and some came in with some fantastic letterhead that I desperately wanted to preserve and use. Also, she was determined that this blog looked better than “just a bunch of text” and made it so.

Credit for help with supplemental information goes to my Aunt Clara Carlson who leveraged her subscriptions to genealogy websites and an unwavering and intense interest in history to assist in this project.

Design and Transcription supervisors are Morgana and Scorn who have ensured that all letters were typed with cat-warmed hands and that nobody sat at a desk for too long without a nose or tail in their face.

I also wanted to acknowledge the Forder and Hubbard families and William Max Norris who loaned this collection to the Indiana Historical Society in 1963. Without their preservation of these documents, we would not have them today. If any of you see this blog and wish to send me any additional historical information on your family, please feel free to do so.

And of course full credit should be given to William, Sarah, and Jim and all the “rest of the friends” for writing to each other and thus recording a first hand account of the history they lived.

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Introduction to the Indiana 10th Project

As William would put it “I take the preasant opportunity to seat myself and rite you a few lines hoping they will find you all well as I am happy to say I am well….”

Welcome to the Indiana 10th Project. This blog features letters and information relating to the Indiana 10th Battery, Light Artillery who fought for the Union Army during the Civil War. I first engaged on this project during a genealogy project tracing some of the history of my Great Great Grandfather James Grigg who was enlisted with the unit. Very little details on James exist and most of that information came from public records and paperwork. He was born to Noah Grigg(s) and Catherine Dillman in 1827 and worked as a farmer and blacksmith. This would explain why he was recruited into a battery as the big guns required maintenance and the assistance of horses, making smithing skills such as shoeing horses and repairing guns important to the battery. He served with the Indiana 10th Battery, Light Artillery from 1862 to 1865. His first marriage was to Ellen Parkinson and upon his return, he filed for divorce with the reason listed as infidelity. Ellen was expecting but he hadn’t had a furlough in the three years he served. No death or future records of her exist, so we assume she died in child birth. James then quickly married Sarah Galbreath, who had a 3 year old son named Edward – my great grandfather, who assumed James’ family name. Our family has a host of theories on that one so feel free to come up with your own.

James died in 1911 and was buried in Rensselaer, Indiana. We also located and confirmed a single photo featured on the Indiana State Library website, posted below. Finally, we know that James was completely illiterate, unable to even sign his name to any documents. Instead, he indicated his signature with a simple “x” and a witness signed that the mark was his. This fact is relevant to this project as it means that no other documents, such as letters or diaries, exist from him. Eager to know more about his day to day activities during the Civil War, and having already taken an interest in reading Civil War letters from Union Soldiers, I set about to see if any letters exist from the Indiana 10th Battery. My primary hope was to see if any of the letters mentioned James.


The following letters are a selection from the “Forder and Hubbard Families Letters” Collection at the Indiana Historical Society representing the civil war years only. William Forder is the principal writer through the bulk of these letters. Most of them are to his wife Sarah and their daughter Melissa. It is possible that James and William crossed paths but he was never mentioned in William’s letters. This is most likely because William and Sarah came from Darlington, Indiana and therefore Sarah and the others would not have known him and James likely didn’t contribute anything of note to William’s time or service. The companion mentioned most in these letters is Jim McMullen, William’s brother-in-law, who also served in the 10th. He had also contributed letters to this collection. Other contributors include various family members writing about the war to each other.

In addition to the letters, this blog will also feature some information on the battery’s movements, the fights they contributed to, and other bits to help put the contents of the letters into context. The letters will be posted on the same dates as when they were written, 155 years after the fact. I hope everyone enjoys the letters as much as I did transcribing them.

Hoping to remain your faithful and true transcriber

Christine Griggs

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