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
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 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
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.
Camp near Pelham
July the 19th 1863
I take the presant opportunity to rite a few lines to you in answer to your very cinde letter of the 8th of this month which came to hand on the 13th. I was very glad to hear that you and all the rest of the friends were well and I hope when these few lines come to hand they ma finde you and Leisey and all the rest of the friends still enjoying that great blessing as I am thankful to say that I am enjoying the best of helth. We are still enjoying the laying in our old camp yet near Pelham. Everything seams to be quiet hear. Everything is going along smoothly at this time. I have just received your letter of the 14th. I am sorey to hear that our little girl was sick but I hope she is well before this.
I expect you to have had quite an exciting time their. I was very ancious to hear from you to know weather the scamps pade you a visit or not but it seams that they did not have time to run around mutch. I want you to send me the news paper account of the afare as you did of the other raid they made. I se by the paper that the theaving band are a way in Ohio. It looks strange to me that thier can’t be a force raised sufficient to head them in thier wild carear. But I have no dout but what it is the best thing that ever happened for it will show the Butternuts what the rebs would do if they had a chance. I think it is the best thing that ever happened and when I get home I will tell you why I think so.
The prospect is fare for us to get home this fall and I trust to God that it will be so for I long to se the day when peace and quiettude shal prevail over this once happy country. O won’t that be a joy beyond measure when we soldiers can return to our dear familys and friends. I long to se that happy day. You said Paps had got a letter from Jim stating that they had ben on half rashens. We have had a great deal less than half rashens ishewed to us ever since we started from Murpheesboro untill the last 2 or 3 days. We get full rashens of crackers, meat, coffee and sugar but that is all we do get from the comosary department but their is no danger but what we will ceep fat while we get that for their is lots of burys and apls and the peaches will be ripe after a while and the corn will be in rosten ear in 3 or 4 weeks but you must not think we starved or eaven went hungry for their was lots of hay and cattle for meat and potatoes in the gardens for bread but anuf of that.
I expect to send you some money in the next letter for the pay master is hear and he will pay us in a day or 2. We are to get 4 months and 17 days due us. I will have to come to a close for this time. My prayer to God is that he will watch over us and preserve our livs to meet again on earth to enjoy ourselves together. Give my respect to all the friends and tell them to rite when ever they feild like it. It always does me a heap of good to hear from any of my friends. I got a letter from Uncle Billey and the girls last weeak . They ware all well. I rote them on answer the same day but I must say good by for this time. Rite soon and often.
Willam Forder to Sarah A Forder
June the 15th 63
Dear Father and Mother,
I take the preasant opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will finde you all well as I am thankful to day that I am well. You said I must excuse you for not riting sooner. Will do so this time hoping you will do better. The next time I don’t want you to bother about my affars out North for it will do no good for I can’t se but what we have done our duty so If they are mean anuf to take what little I have let them have it thier way for a while but the time will come when they will have to give an account of thier procedings. I am willing to let them rest untill fall.
Purhaps some thime ma turn up by that time so that I can come home. I would be willing to sacrifice every sent I am worth if it would crush this rebellion for what would our property be worth if this government is let go down. I say let us fite them untill they are whiped and in the next place I am willing to fite them with negros or anything els and thier is but very few men hear but what is in for fiting them with negros as they have commenst the game first. But perhaps I had better stop for you ma think this letter has rather a black appearance but it is my sentiments at least but I will close hoping to remain your loving sun in law while life that last
Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard
Rite soon and often
Finding information on Captain Jerome Bonaparte “Bony” Cox proved to be a challenge at first. We know that he received his commission on November 20, 1861 and resigned on June 2, 1863. We assume he mustered out with the rest of the 10th Indiana Battery. There was no reason given as to why he resigned and none are indicated in these letters. However, a news article indicates there was an issue with misappropriation of funds, a charge which was brought forth against him at some point but eventually dismissed.
His life after the war did garner some greater attention. Following his service, Captain Cox and his family moved to California sometime before a third daughter was born in 1867. He engaged in a business deal that eventually turned bad and ended up filing a law suit. The suit continued on for years and became so heated that Cox shot and killed the man he had sued. There was a trial but he ended getting off. The lawsuit itself continued all the way to the California State Supreme Court where he won a large settlement, including interest.
The incident is alluded to in his obituary which reads:
Funeral of Jerome Cox
A touching Eulogy by General W.H.L. Barnes
Amid appropriate ceremonies and a profusion of flowers the remains of Captain Jerome B Cox were laid to rest yesterday in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. The funeral services were held at the Masonic Temple, and were attended by the members of Pacific Lodge No. 136 Free and Accepted Masons of which the deceased was a member, and a number of friends and relatives.
After the services of the Masonic order had been read General Barnes delivered eulogy which visibly affected his hearers. He began by saying he had come to speak one kind word for his old friend who had been summoned to meet his maker.
Continuing, he said: “Considering the vicissitudes of his life I do not feel like saying that this is an hour of sadness. To him the sky is no longer clouded; his ears are no longer filled with the conflict of life. He has passed from us, and I trust, that in his future home he will be happier than he was while in our midst. There is no patriot who loved his country more than Jerome Cox. No man has done more for his country than the one whose cold and rigid body is about to be consigned to the grave. He lived a useful life but circumstances prevented him from enjoying it. The serious trouble in which he was involved is, in one sense, to be regretted, yet we all felt he was justified. He was persecuted and laughed at, and in a moment of frenzy he fired the shot that terminated the career of a relentless enemy. He was right, and I trust that the recording angel will forever wipe the stain from the book of life and allow him to enjoy the peace and happiness that rightfully belong to him.”
May the 11th 63
This is Monday morning. I thought I had rote anuf this time but I feald so good over the good news that I must tell you. The news reached hear last nite a bout 7 o’clock that we had Richmond and of all the cheering and yelling I ever heard it took place at that time. It went around the lines like the roling waves of the see. It made very loyal hart bound with joy. The word was braut to the preacher while he was preaching last nite. He stoped short and says the stars and stripes are waving over Richmond and you better believe their went forth to the skies and meity chear.
We all feald as thoe the war can’t last mutch longer. My prayer to God is that the time has come that this war shall close. This is a beautful morning every thing looks chearing to the to the loyal.
I must close for this time. I want you to rite a great big long letter. Yours forever
Note: This bit of news is somewhat surprising and may be a false or incorrect report to the men. According to all historical accounts I can find, the Confederate Capital of Richmond was not taken by the Union Army (even on a temporary basis) until 1865. During this general period of time, the only happenings of note within the city is an event referred to as the “Richmond Bread Riot”. On April 3, 1863 the women of Richmond marched on Governor Letcher’s office to demand action on the massive overcrowding, inflation and other issues plaguing the city. They were turned away and this resulted in a full two days of rioting throughout the city.
A perceived victory in Richmond could have been confused with the capture of Fredricksburg during the Second Battle of Fredericksburg, also in Virginia, which ultimately would be part of the bigger yet doomed Chancellorsville Campaign.
May the 10th 1863
Dear Father and Mother and Sisters and Brothers
I take the present opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will finde you all well as I am thankful to say that I am enjoying the best of health. The boys are all well and in fine spirits. The health was never better than it is at this and the boys are all in fine spirits. Alto the news are rather discuriging from Hookers arma at this time but I am in hopes they will come out all rite yet. I think if they are successful the war can’t last meutch longer at the least I hope not. We are still laying in camp near Murpheesboro but their is no telling how long we will stay hear if we should go out on a scout and you shouldent hear from me for a week or 2. You must not be uneasy about us for I would rather be out scouting around than laying hear in camp. Some think because a man is in the arma he is as good as dead but I don’t think so. I feald just as safe heare as I would at home and if I had nobody but my self to care for I should be very well contented. But as it is I hope it will not be long untill I can return to those I love.
I am going to send Siles letter. I don’t want you to get any ways excited about it. Just consider the source and let it rest untill I get back and I think I can straten things out a little. It seams to rather stick the old fellow that I thanked you for what you had done and didn’t thank him. I generally try to thank thoes whome thanks are due. If I hadn’t thought you deserved thanking I shouldn’t have do so but what you done the very best you could for it was to your intrust to do so but let the old jent slide. He will get his pay some of thoes days. I will have to close for this time. Hopeing to remain your loving and tru friend and suninlaw
Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard and Children and friends
Note: “Hooker’s Arma” refers to Major General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker who at this time had command of the Army of the Potomac. He was best known for a major defeat at Chancellorsville which was a battle fought from April 30 to May 6, 1863 which is likely the news that William found discouraging. May 3red of that battle was considered the second bloodiest day of the civil war.
May the 1th 1863
Threw the goodness of god I am purmitted to rite you a nother letter witch I hope will finde you and all the rest of the friends well as I am thankful to say that I am enjoying as good health at this time as I have for several years. I know that you will think their is some thing to matter that I didn’t riter last weeak. I will now tell you the reasons. I told you in my last letter that we ware going out on a 6 days scout but as it happened it tured out to be a 10 days scout. We started out on the 20 and got back on the 30. We went out a bout 40 milds. We had a good time. We first went to MacMinville and took 200 prisners and burned the town and then went Leiberty and took a few more prisners and burnt a part of the town. We went from their to Alicande got some more prisionrs. Thier our calvra and mounted infantry went to Lebinon.
I haven’t heard what they done thier but there was between 3 and 4 hundred prisners braut in and where there was 50 familys mooved in with us, I think, and mabee more that many any how.
Well anuf of that you wanted to know how I liked my shirts. I like them first rate. I could have sold them for 3 dollars a peace but I would not take twice befor them for they are so much better than the wolen shirts. I have got everything you have sent me all rite. I got a letter from Jsade Booher yesterday. He wants to know if I will sell queen. He thinks it would be for the best. He thinks the money on in trust will be better than the mare. I am going to tell him to set hir and loan the money and send you the note for I know she will be a bother to him. I will send Sils last letter so you can se what he has to say. I rote to him to send me the note and
Upside down on page 1
You neednt to let Sile know that I sent all his letters to you.
Upside down on page 3
If I get time I will rite to your pah tomorrow tell all the friends to rite
Notes: The letter appears to be incomplete and ends here. With regards to the raids, it’s worth noting that during the Civil War, it was common for the soldiers, after raiding a small town that the unit did not have the man power to hold, to evacuate the residents and burn the property after stripping it of anything useful. This way, the enemy would not be able to avail themselves of anything useful as well.