December 21, 1862

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. 

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December 16, 1862

Well Sarah,

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

Rite often

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December 9, 1862

December 9th 1862

Dear Cousin

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.

G Hubbard
William Booher

Ther was 20 hogs in number.

Transcription note – A math problem was also on the page

403
20
_________
8060
3
_________
24180

Note:  This appears to be a letter to William from George Hubbard and William Booher providing him details on hogs.

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December 6, 1862

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.

You truly,
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. 

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December 2, 1863

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.

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A brief History of Jim McMullen

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. 

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A Brief History on the Hubbard Family

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

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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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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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