October the 10th 63
I take the presant opportunity to rite a few lines to you hoping they will finde you and Malisa and all the friends well as I am happy to say that I am well. I fealt somewhat uneasy about you as I have not got any letter for over 2 weeks. The last letter that I got from you was rote the 13th of September. I can’t imagine what is the reason. We are in just the same position as we ware when I rote last. Our boys are firing a few shots at the Lookout Mountain at this time but for some cause unknown the rebs don’t reply to our shots. We are all in fine spirits allto grub is rather scarce. The most of the boys know what it is to not have anuf to eat. I hope this battle will soon be wound to a close and I think it will be for we are all getting reinforced from the arma of the Potomac, but the papers will ceep you better posted than I can.
Jim Mc. is gone to Stevnson Alabama with his horses. All the middle drivers from all the battery was sent to their about a week ago to fead their horses awhile for feed was so scarce hear. It is about 60 miles from hear. I haven’t any idear when they will be back. The knights are very cold but the days are warm and pleasant. But I can’t think of any thing to rite as I haven’t got a letter from you for so long, but I hope the time will soon come when we can all return home to our dear familys and friends. My prayer to god is that he will spair our lives to meet again on earth to enjoy each others society. I long to se that happy day when we can ley our guns aside and dwell in peace at home. God speed that happy day.
But I will close for this time and I hope the time is close at hand when I will get a letter from you and then I will rite again. I want you to rite as often as you can and don’t forget to pray for me.
I still hope to remain your true and loving husband
William Forder to Sarah A Forder
Tell the friends if any of them feald like riting to me to do so and I will insure them they will get an answer.
Note: It’s likely that Jim McMullen was sent to Fort Harker in Stevenson, Alabama. The fort was constructed in 1862 by Union Soldiers and freed slaves. It helped guard strategic rail lines but saw little more action than the occasional skirmish. General Rosecrans established headquarters at Fort Harker in July, 1863, from where he directed a successful campaign against the position of Confederate General Braxton Bragg in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Fort Harker would be abandoned after the war. Today the site has been restored as a city park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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.
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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.
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.
July the 26th 1863
I take the preasnt opportunity to rite you a few lines to you to let you know that I am well and I hope these few lines will finde you and Leisa and all the rest of the folks well. I feated somewhat disappointed as I did not get any letter today. I rote your Pah a letter 3 or 4 days ago. I sent it to Salem. I told him that I had made arrangements to have 40.00 expressed to Salem for you. It will be expressed in your pahs name. We expected to have been paid before this time but we are not paid yet but I think we will be in a day or to and as soon as we are paid the rols will be sent rite on to Indianapolis to state agent and the money will be paid to him and he will express it to wharever it is to go. So you can ceep send of a lookout of it. This is a purportedly safe way to send our money home. We are to get 4 months pay this time.
Well I will now tell you that we have mooved campe since I rote to you last. We mooved last Monday about one mile and a half. We crost over Elk River and went into camp rite at the foot of the mountain. We have got a very nice situation hear. Everything is quiet. Their is no indication of a moove at preasant but their is nothing what will turn up but thier is one thing surtain if we have to cross the mountains hear we will have a good time cleaning out roads. When the rebs left hear they choped down trees across the roads and whare they could they blasted rock out of the cliffs in to the road but I think they will have the fun of clearing out thier own roads after the war is settled. Their has been but very little news in the paper for a few days but I am in hopes it won’t be many day untill we hear of the fall of Charls town. Ma God speed the day when Charlstown and all the rest of the strong holds of the trators shall be cleaned out. I think the rebellion has got its head cut of and I don’t think it can live long with it’s head off at least I hope it but still I am not tired enuf of the survace yet to give the theavs one inch. I would rather fite them 10 years than give them one inch. My polacy is when ever they return to thier loyality is to forgive the common soliders but hang the leaders.
You said in your last that Malisa was sick. Purhaps there is something serious the matter that I did not get any letter today. So I will wait untill tomorrow before I seal this up purhaps I will get a letter tomorrow.
This is Tuesday morning and I am still enjoying good health. I got a letter from you yesterday. It was mailed the 24th of this month. You wanted to know if I had got my shirt. I told you all about it in one letter. Perhaps you never got it. I got it in due time. It fits first rate. I have got a good supply of clothing. Now, we are seeing a very nice time hear . Now, if I could only se you and our little girl once in a while I would be satisfied. But I want to close. Hopeing to still remain you true and loving Husband.
Wm Forder to Sarah A Forder and child and all the friends
Rite soon and often all the news you can.
Home July 23rd 1863
With pleasure I sett myself afternoon to answer your letter that I received long enough ago to have answered it a dozon times but I have much to do as the men are working at our house. I expect they will get done next week. O Sarah, did old Morgan teare you away from your home. The Home Guards all went from here. Wes and all said if they got to go down to Salem they were going out to see you all but they only got to go as far as Meichell. They stayed there four days and then was ordered home. Wes said he would have down to see but he was taking sick and could not go.
I wish he could have went to see you all. He did not get to see old Morgan but I think the old fox will be caught yet. I wish I could have been at Salem that day when he eat dinner there. I think I should have him something in his dinner so he would not have felt like riding so fast soon again. But there is other men so mean as him and hear in our state too. They copperheads are just as mean as him every bit. They are drilling here every Saturday. The whole Booher get from beginning to ending except Pah and Bill H Booher. Some of them would not give their names or ages to the enrolling officer. Bill Martz said he would kill him if he come back there again. They say they won’t go if they drafted. We will see about that.
When Wes was coming home from Crawfordsville with some of the Wallice Blue, John Booher overtook them. Wes said how are you John but He never so much as turned his head to look at him. First because he went to dive old Morgan out of Indiana. If it was not for the Union men I would want him to come through here and take erything they had. I would be glad to see them.
But Sarah if you was here I would tell you so much about the old butternuts.
I would love to see yours so well and see Sissy and Clarkie tak a romp. Charles has got to be quite a man. He wears pants. You out to see him when his pa come home from Michall, Clarkie asked him if he shot old Morgan. Martha made him a flag and he will take it and when the men comes in wave it saying three cheers for the red white and blue, but I hope it won’t be long before the boys can come home and then we can see each other talk. That will be better than to write. I must have a little chat with Julia.
Your loving cousin
Well Julia you wrote to the girls that if I did not write before long you would come up and tend to me. If I though that would bring you up I would not write at all. If you got here I think you would get in a good humor. Oh Julia, I wish you could have been here the 4th of July. We had such a nice time. The ladies of Darling presented the Wallace Blues with a new flag. We made a dinner and got over a hundred dollars. I must get some more paper or I can’t rite no more.
Note: While this letter is specifically from one of Sarah’s cousins and not from or to William or other members of the 10th, it does give an interesting cross view of the incident with the Morgan Raids so I felt it would be appropriate to include it. Plus, I like Rhoda’s cheek.
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
May the 24th 63
I again seat myself to rite a few lines to you in answer to your very welcom letter that came to hand yesterday. I was glad to hear that you was well. You said Leisey wasn’t very well but I hope you and hir and all the rest of the friends will be well when this comes to hand as I am happy today that I am well and doing the best I can. The rest of the boys are all torable well except Isreal Moore. His is at the hospittle at town. He has the cronic direa. The days are very warm hear now but the nites get torable cold towards morning. I can’t hardly rite for fiting the flies. I never saw the like of flies before in my life but we can’t expect any thing els for we can’t go in any direction but what you can se hundreads of dead horses and muells and besides that filth of all cinds in abundance. I should be glad to leave hear just to get rid of the filth and smell that is hear. We are liable to make a forward moove ment at any time for thier is a heavy forces gon out in front down some whare. Whare but I don’t know whare our men are still very buisy at work on the breast works hear. They are mounting some very heavy guns hear. The boys are all in fine spirits and ancious for the rebs to advance on us but I think they know better than that.
Well this is Monday and I am still well. You said you wanted to know if Isac said anything about quean loosing hir calf. He did not all he said was that he thought I had better sell hir for he had no use for hir and he thought the money on interest would be worth more to mee than the mare. I told him to sell hir for 70 dollars and as meuch more as he could get. I have no dout but what he will do the best he can. I told Sile that I wanted that note of stocks and you can se by his letter that he near said a word.
Dear Father and Mother
I don’t know wether I can think of any thing to rite or not as I have rote about all I can think of but it makes no difference wo I rite to. You all get to se what I rite. I am always very glad to hear from any of you.
I can’t think of anything els to rite so I will give you a short discription of the country. Hear it may be interesting to you. Murpheesboro has ben a prety smart town but like all the rest of the Southern towns they are going to ruin. In the place of improving farm 4 to 5 miles and in some places father around merfreesboro the land is level and torable good. Where ever the land is level it is inclined to be rather smampy and for that reason the roads are all graded but in agreat many places the roads are ruined. There has been so much wagoning done. I believe about one half of the timber in this state is sedar. Nearly all the rails are made of sedar. I have saw hundreds of acres of sedar so thick a man could not ride threw it and again I have saw acres in a body that could se nothing but rack. The farmers turn thier attention generaly to the groth of cotten but thier will be but very little of any thing raised this season for the men are nearly all gon both white and black. I shall have to close for the time hoping to remain your loving sun and brother.
Wm Forder to G & C Hubbard and all the rest.
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Be sure to rite whenever you can and tell me all the news
March the 8th, 1863
I again seat myself to rite a few lines to you in answer to your cinde letter that came to hand yesterday. I was very glad to get such a large letter or letters I might say for it was from you and your pap. It and the shirt was mailed the 5 and I got them the 7. The shirt came rite a long with the letter. I got the minitures and the socks all rite but I told you about that in my other letters. I sent 5 dollars in my last letter and and I want you to let me know as soon as you can wether you get it or not. I rote it the 4th of the month.
We are still laying in our old camp yet but I can’t tell how long we will stay hear for. Sunday as it is thier is heavy firing going on West of town and it can’t be over 7 or 8 milds from the way it sounds. There is scouting partys out all the time and they they are running in to prowling bnds of rebs every once in a while. They say they was a party of our men atacked yesterday by 4 regiments of negros but the negros got baddly whiped thank fortune.
This is in the afternoon and every thing is quiet. The firing that was heard this morning has ceased. I have just come from a buring. There is a fare fellow has to take his leap of death every few days by sicness but that is nothing in compareason to the deaths carried by powder and lead. It is aweful to ce how this country is being strewed with graves. You can’t go any place hardly but what you can se graves fore fellows. They are sleeping their long sleep and I am a fraid their is but very few of them prepared to met thier god for this is the awefulest place for wickedness I ever saw. It seams like they think they can’t be a soldier unless they can sware, play cards, drink whiskey allthoe Their are some are captains. Thank god the trepassing part of our croud from our Neighborhood are all dooing as well as can be expected under existing circumstances. I will now tell you that I am well and all the rest of the boys except G Sands and Jim has ben to ce him to today and he is getting some better but he is not able to set up yet. I hope this will finde you all well. Ciss our little girl for me. I will have to quit for this time. Rite home soon and often.
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I hope to remain true and loving husband while life shal last. Wm Forder to SA Forder
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.
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Rite rite rite
Often often often