February 1th 1863
I take the present opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will finde you and our little girll and all the rest of the friends well as I am thankful to say that I am torable well. I have a bad cold at this time but that doesn’t amount to any thing. We are at time leying in our old camp yet. The wether is warm the most of the time but it was rather rany fide. We haven’t had scarcly any snow this winter. I haven’t saw any ice over 1 inch thick this winter.
I never was at such a loss for something to rite as I am at this time. We have ben leying here so long that every thing has becom old. O Sarah, I do wish that this war would play out so that I could come home so that I could tell to you with my mout what I now have to rite. It seams to me it can’t last mutch longer. Their is bound to be lots of desertions after we get paid but I don’t think I shal ever come to that. I think to much of you and my friends to bring this disgrace. This niger question is a going to make bad work in our army I am afraid.
You wanted to know wether I eat any horse meet or not. I did but I did not know it untill after I had eat it for I had a plenty of crackers to eat so that their was no danger of my starving but their was lots of the boys that was glad to eat horse meat or anything else that they could get. Turn over if you plez
Well Sarah, you have ben wanting to send me something. I will tell you what you may send me. That is a checked shirt and if it comes all rite you may send me a nother so that I will have 2. But don’t try to send but 1 at a time. Now I must close. Try and be a good girl and don’t forget to pray for me that I may prove faith to you and our god out that it ma not be long untill I should be able to return to you. Yours truly
Wm Forder to his loving wife Sarah Forder.
Note: The use of the word “niger” is quite offensive in modern vernacular, however back in 1863 this was the polite term to describe an individual of African decent. To remain true to the transcriptions, I am required to leave the text exactly as written.
January the 30th 1863
Dear Wife and Friends
I take the preasant opportunity to rite a few lines to you in answer to your cinde letters that came to hande yesterday. I was glad to hear from you and to hear that you and our little girl is all and all the rest of the friends ware well. It came threw in a hurry. It was mailed on the 24th and I got it on the 29th. I had thought I would not rite for a day or to but as you sent the material for a letter, I thought I would fill it out while I had a chance for the chat is that we are going to leave hear before long but I don’t know whare we will go to.
The wether had ben a little cold for a few days but it is clear and pleasant to day. I received 2 letters this morning. 1 from Uncle Billey and Albert and one from Ira Hiatt. Uncle Billey said they was all well and that times was prety good. He said money was plenty and Ira said his paw had made a greate trade. He has trade old lock for a 6 shooter and a shot gun. That looks war like don’t it but I ken he ain’t dangerous. I rote to him the other day and told him I wanted him to pay my sate with the money he got for that hay and told him the reason I had not rote to him before was that I did not feald very well toward him since I know of that mistreatment of riting he got up for you to sign. I also told him I intended for him to pay himself out of the corn for his trubble but I thought I had try rather deep. I expect he will rare up behind but I don’t care of he does.
I will now say that I am well and all the rest of the boys. Jim Mc got a letter from home this morning and he got a pare of socks but he don’t know who sent them tho postage on them was 9 cents. I also got a letter from Melaine this morning. She said she had got a letter from you. You had aught to se what she said about me to hear hir tell it I am one of the best men in the world wich is a grand mistake. I only wish I was as good as I should be for I know that I am a pore unworthy crecher of the dust.
I will now close by saying I want you to rite as often as you can. I know it is a hard trile for you for you have nothing to draw your attention like I have but I hope the war will soon be over so that we can all come home. So fare well for this time. From your loving husband
William Forder to his loving wife Sarah Forder
Dear Father and Mother and Brothers and Sisters,
I will name your names if I can’t doo any meare just to let you know that I haven’t forgotten you. I often think of you and hope it will not belong untill I can come home and have a good time with you. Give my respects to all the friends and except the same from your loving sun and brother
Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard
Don’t forget to rite so fare well. Rite rite rite
Note: Ira Hiatt was the son of Silas Hiatt, born 1850, died 1915.
Albert undoubtedly refers to his brother, Albert Forder. He was born in 1842 and enlisted in Company D, Indiana 38th Infantry on September 18th, 1861 at the age of 18. He died of Typhoid Fever on April 1, 1862.
At this time we are unsure as to who Uncle Billy or Melaine are.
After this battle the battery remained in the vicinity of Murfreesboro until the forward movement against Tullahoma was commenced.
December 21st Sunday Evening.
All is well but Betts. He is very sick yet he has the fever.
Dear Father and Mother,
I embrace the preasant opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will finde you all well and doing well as I am thankful to say that I am well and Jim is able for duty again. I received your and Sarah’s letter day before yesterday. I am always very glad to her from any of you. We are still laying in our old camp yet and I think we will still lay hear untill the river rises. It looks a good deal like rain this eavning. We haven’t had any very cold wether yet. The ground has ben froze a little for some time but not over 7 1/2 inches at any time. We have lost a great many men at the Fredricksburg fite. I am a fraid it is a bad go on us but you know as mutch about that as I do. It seams that I have riten every thing I can think of at this time as you will se what I have riten to Sarah. I hope it will not be long untill I will be able to return home and then we will talk our trubbls and triles over. Rite soon and often.
I hope to remain your loving son-in-law,
Wm Forder to G and C Hubbard
Note: Francis M. Betts of Darlington mustered in on September 3, 1862 and was discharged on an unknown date in 1863.
It is nearly nite and the sun is a going down. I don’t know hardly what I would give to be at home to knight to get in to a good bed with you and our sweet little girl. I hope it will not be longe untill I shall bable to enjoy that great pleasure but there is no chance to get I furlow. None but I hope that Uncle Abe will give me an honorable discharge after awhile witch will be better than all the furlows.
The greatest pleasure that I se is when I am a sleep for very often you and our little girl pays me a visit or rather I visit you. If I could only se you as often as I dream I do I would be glad.
I want you to fix your Crismas dinner and eat at just 12 OCL and eat a little for me and tell me what you had to eat and I will think of you at that time and tell you what I had for dinner.
I recieved your Pap’s letter in due time. I will rite to him in a few days. I sent Sils letter. I want you and and your pap to tell me what you think of it.
This is the evening of the 16th and I am still well. You will have to pay for this letter for I haven’t got any stamps. I will have to close for this time hoping to remain your loving husband,
WM Forder to S. Forder.
Give my respects to all the friends and tell them to rite.
Upside down on page one
Rite rite rite
Often often often
December 9th 1862
I will inform you what I have been doing to day. I have bin weighing my hogs. I will give you the weights. The white sow coub is 614 lbs. The next best 564 lbs next best 545 lbs. I write now tell you how much thay all average 403 pounds.
Ther was 20 hogs in number.
Transcription note – A math problem was also on the page
Note: This appears to be a letter to William from George Hubbard and William Booher providing him details on hogs.
December 6th 1862
Dear Father and Mother
I seat my self this morning to answer your very cinde letters that came to hand yesterday. I hope thoes fine lines will finde you all well as thank God they have mee enjoying the best of heath. You can’t imagin the joy that I experienced yesterday when I received two such large letters yours and Sarahs. It made me leap and jump for gladness and shed a silent tear for long you may think this strange but if you ware away from home and friends as I am you would better better under stand it. I don’t wish you to think that I am complaining for I am dooing as well as any of the pore soldiers. It snowed and blowed and tore up back yesterday but it cleared up last night and the sun is shining very pleasant today.
I will now turn to your letter and in the first place say that I am 1,000 times a bliged to you for your goodness and trubble. I am well satesfided with the way you disposed of my things. I never would have thought that Silas would have done the way he has at the least calculation. He has got 190 bushells of my corn but this is rite I recon. If it ain’t, I hope it will be some time and as for my owing him any thing that is something I know nothing about. He seemed to think that you thought I was gon for life but it would not supprise me if he hadn’t better pray that it might be so for if I am sparede to get back he will have to straten a few things.
You thought if I could se that instrument of riting it would make my blud boil. I want you to send it for it can’t make me any mader than I was last week when I got Sarahs other letter. She said he wanted hir to sign a libill. It made mee so mad it would not of done for me to have some sil then, but a nuff of that. We can talk those things over at length when I come back and I hope that will not be longe. It is a continual wish amonge the soldiers that the war would close. I will close for this time. I want you to be sure to rite soon and often.
Wm Forder to G. and C. Hubbard and to all the friends
Upside down on page 2 and 3
You requested me to sende Silases letter to you but I had don so before I got your letter I thought you would like to see it so good bye rite soon.
Note: It appears at this point that there was a dispute with Silas Hiatt regarding some debits or other financial affairs between Silas and William and at some point Silas attempted to pressure Sarah into signing some documents. It’s interesting to note that in Silas’s obituary, his reputation as an “honest man” was extolled. I don’t believe William would have agreed.
December the 2th 1862
Dear Father and Mother
I take my pen to drop a few lines to you hoping they will finde you all well as thank god it leaves me well and Jim is getting about well again. I just mailed a letter to Sarah this morning but since that I have got a letter from Mr. Hiatt and I thought I would just send it to you and Sarah just to let you what he has to say. Now I don’t want any of you to let him know that I sent it to you or that I ever said any thing about it or if you do just pleas wait untill after I am dead but I hope threw the goodness of God to be able to return to thoes that I esteem dearer to me than life and to enjoy the society of my friends. As for my little property, I have no idear but what you have done the very best you could with it. Sarah said you was going to rite and when I get that I expect to hear how you dispatched of the things. I desire you to let the leas go, for the expense would be more than the profit so I want you to let it go. Sarah did not say how you sold the thing but all that will be in your letter. This will make 3 letters to you since I have got any from you and tell Paps it would pleas me very much to get a letter from them as I have never got but one from them since I left. I remind we are in camp 3 miles east of Nashville. I will have to close for this time as it will soon be bed time and as I was on guard last night I am a little sleepy.
So fare well and when I say fare well you know what I mean. I want you to rite often and tell all the friends to rite for you have but little idear how much good it does me to hear from my friends.
You true true and faithful son-in-law
Wm Forder to G Hubbard and friends
Printed upside down on Page 1
Send me some stamps. I got 8 a good while ago but they are gone.
Printed in the margins on page 3 where he discusses Mr. Hiatt’s letter.
I got hir letters yesterday after I had sealed up my letter.
Note: George Hubbard’s date of birth is unknown. He died 1892.
James “Jim” McMullen was William’s main companion at the Indiana 10th. He and William were essentially brothers-in-law, having married Hubbard sisters Sarah and Julia. Jim McMullin was born August 1841 but there is no exact date and no information available at this time on his parents. He and Julia married on October 3, 1861 and had no children at the time of his enlistment.
It is interesting to note that unlike James Grigg and William Forder, Jim McMullen’s occupations on the census records do NOT include smithing as an occupation. Instead, he has been listed as being a butcher, a janitor at a school house, and a mail carrier. However, these come from post war census records, so perhaps at one time he was a blacksmith as well. Or perhaps he opted to accompany his good friend and brother-in-law to war with the Indiana 10th.
The Hubbard family figures largely in the letters as Sarah, her father, and family are the main recipients of William’s letters. George Hubbard was born on May 12, 1803. His wife, Charlotte Stewart was born on Mary 30, 1805. They married on January 2, 1827 and had 13 children together.
Sarah Hubbard was the 7th child, born on September 1, 1835. She married William Forder on August 28, 1860. Their daugther Milissa Alice Forder who was born August 11, 1861. Milissa would have been only a year old when William enlisted in 1862.
Sarah’s sisters Emily and Julia are frequently mentioned and included in letters. Emily was born December 4, 1843 and Julia August 6, 1835. Her sister Julia married Jim McMullen on October 3, 1861.
Other siblings mentioned are Peter Taylor Hubbard and Winfield Scott Hubbard, born 1848 (14 years) and 1851 (11 years) respectively. They would have been too young to have joined the war efforts.
Aside from her husband and brothers-in-law, Sarah had two additional brothers in service. These were:
William Cornet Hubbard – Company G, 58th Indiana Infantry
James Frank Hubbard – Company G, 58th Indiana Infantry