July 19, 1863

Camp near Pelham

July the 19th 1863

Dear Sarah,

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 15, 1863

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

Information on Captain Jerome B Cox

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 11, 1863

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

Wm Forder
G Hubbard

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 10, 1863

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 1, 1863

May the 1th 1863

Dear Sarah,

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.

April 19, 1863

April the 19th 1863

Dear Sarah,

It is with great pleasure that I seat my self this lovely sabath day to rite a few lines to you in answer to your very cinde letter that I received a few minits a go. It was rote on the 15th. I was very glad to hear that you ware all well. I am well at this time and so are the rest of the boys and I hope when this comes to hand it may finde you enjoying the same great blessing. You did not say weather you had got the money I sent or not. We got paid agan some 3 weeks ago and I put a 10 dollar bill in a letter for you at the first of weak before last and the first of last weak I put 2 5 dollar bills in a nother letter which would make 20 dollars that I haven’t heard from yet. I have a little more to send but I will wait until I rite again before I send it. We are to start out in the morning on a 6 days scout so that it will be Saturday evening before we return but I would rather beout a scouting around than laying in camp for we have ben laying hear to long that I am bored of the place. We have had a nice time lately. The weather has ben nice and we have a plenty to eat and not much to doo.
I believe I will put a cupple of dollars in this letter and risk it. I want you to be sur to let me know wheather you get the money or not. You wanted to know if we got any eggs hear. The suthars bring them hear and sell them for 5 cents a piece or 60 cents a dozen. I shall have to close for this time hoping to remain your loving husband while life that last.
Wm. Forder to SA Forder and all the friends. Rite as often as you can.

The upside down passages were odd at first but on examination, they flow next to each other from page one to 4 to make a coherent message. Strung together, with a “-” where the line moved from page 1 to four, the message ultimately reads:

I would like to rite – to to your pah but I
haven’t time. Now tell – him I will rite to him the
next time. Tell all – the friends to write

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.

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Be sure to rite often.