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.

Indiana 10th Inventory

An Artillery Battery is a unit that specializes in heavy fire power weapons.  Modern day artillery units carry rockets, mortars, and missiles.  However, during the time of the civil war, this generally meant one thing.

Cannons. 

And variations thereof.

Historically a “Battery” consisted of a group of cannons, howitzers, and mortars coordinating fire.  The Cannons and Howitzers are defined by the weight of the ordinance it can hurl.  Therefore, a 10lb cannon can fire a 10lb cannon ball.  According to www.civilwarhome.com, the term “Light Artillery” indicated that the cannoniers were mounted and therefore could move faster than their unmounted counterparts.  The guns were typically lower in weight in order to aid in their mobility. 

Another civil war blog, To the Sound of the Guns, lists ordinance records and inventory from various Indiana Batteries including the 10th.  According to these inventories, the unit carried two 12pd field howitzers and four 10pd Parrotts.  For those who are interested, To the Sound of the Guns also lists inventories of related equipment gleaned at various points from the units. 

Image of a 10lb Parrott

Image of a 12 lb Howitzer

Excerpt from Regimental History

On the morning of the 26th of December with Wood’s division, it broke up its encampment in the vicinity of Nashville, and marching with the left wing of the Fourteenth Army Crops to Lavergne, portions of the enemy were there encountered and some fighting ensued. On the 29th, the division moved forward, Cox’s battery supporting Wagner’s brigade, and on arriving within two miles and a half of Murfreesboro the rebel army, under Bragg, was discovered in full force, in line of battle. The division was halted for the afternoon and night. On the following day, the skirmishers kept up an active fire with the enemy, the rebels and about nine A.M., opening fire upon Cox’s battery (which was between the pike and the railroad, and it’s front partly covered in woods.) The artillery fire of the enemy was soon silenced by the well directed shots of the battery.

On the 31st the engagement became general and during the day the extreme left of the division became the object of the enemy’s attention. Skirmishers were seen descending the slope on the opposite side of Stone River, as also working their way down the stream for the purpose apparently, of gaining our left flank and rear. A few well directed charges of grape and canister from Cox’s battery, drove the enemy’s artillery, posted on the heights on the southern side of the river. The enemy concluded his operations against left as night approached, by opening on it with his artillery. Cox’s battery gallantly and effectually replied, but darkness soon put an end to this battery dual.

On the 1st of January, 1863, the division lay in line of battle all day, with nothing more than picket firing and an occasional artillery dual to break the silence. On the 2d the artillery firing was kept up quite heavily during most of the day, and on the following day the battle ended with occasional picket firing. During the entire engagement at Stone River the Tenth Battery had one killed and four wounded.

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.

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.

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.

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