Regimental History

On the {???} August the movement over the Cumberland mountains began. General Wood moved from Hillsboro, by Pelham, to Thurman, in Sequatchie Valley. From thence Wagner’s brigade (the Tenth Battery accompanying it), moved to the Tennessee river, opposite Chattanooga, the battery shelling the town on several occasions.
During the movement that resulted in the battle of Chicamauga, the battery was stationed at Chattanooga, with Wagner’s brigade which garrisoned that post.

Note:  On this particular page and part of the formal regimental history, a large ink blot had obscured a significant section of the text.  Some of the words for the previous portions affected were only partly obscured, allowing me to extrapolate the information under the blot.  Unfortunately, the exact date in August indicated was completely covered in the thickest part of the mark and therefore unreadable. I am posting this part of the history on the 21st of August which is when Wagner’s brigade shelled Chattanooga. 

Civil War Portraits

During the American Civil War, photography was coming into it’s own as an art form and widespread practice. For the first time, photographers ventured out into the battle field, sending home poignant images of the horrors of war. Soldiers lined up to have their portraits taken and requested the same from beloved and missed family members at home. As you read through the letters, at several points William specifically requests that pictures of Sarah and very specifically his daughter Melissa, be taken and sent to him.

There were several basic processes for photography during the civil war. These were daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, iron tintypes and cartes de visite (or card photographs) and stereographs. Tintypes were enormously popular during the Civil War because they were inexpensive, quickly produced, durable and could easily be mailed without fear of damage. During the civil war, it became common for soldiers who were about to leave to pose in uniform so their loved ones had a photo before they left. Itinerant photographers also visited the encampments, setting up temporary studios near the army camps to take portraits of the soldiers to be sent home.

Tintype photos are made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion. There were two different processes that could be used, wet and dry. In the wet process, a collodion emulsion with silver halide had to be formed on the plate just before it was exposed in the camera while still wet. Chemical treatment then reduced infused crystals to microscopic particles of metallic silver in proportion to the intensity and duration of their exposure to light, resulting in a visible image. The dry process was similar but used a gelatin emulsion which could be applied to the plate long before use and exposed in the camera dry. With both processes, an underexposed negative would be produced where densest areas appeared gray whereas the darkest areas of the subject would be transparent. Once set against the dark lacquer backing of the metal plate, these transparent areas would appear black.

Many soldiers felt it important to document their lives and existence through portraits just prior to and during the war.  Thus enters an interesting conflict with this portrait of James Grigg.

The photo is clearly labeled as being of James Grigg and the website we obtained it from identified him as being from the Indiana 10th.  However James was not an officer, but the man in the portrait is wearing an officer’s uniform, thus lending some doubt as to if this was our James. Some extensive discussion among family members and the Indiana State Library, followed by a process of elimination for all other James Grigg we can find in Civil War archives for the State of Indiana, basically identifies the man in the portrait as my own ancestor. So why then the officer’s jacket? The best answer we have is that the jacket had been loaned to James to wear for his portrait.

Having your portrait taken during this time was considered a formal occasion.  Most portraits of this period featured individuals in their “Sunday best” and if a subject did not have appropriate clothing, the photographer may have kept a stock of suitable items for their patrons to borrow for their sitting. In the end, these portraits would become valuable and important keepsakes for friends and family to remember their beloved soldier in his absence and possible death. On the soldier’s end, portraits from home helped them keep a connection to their sorely missed loved ones and serve as a reminder of their purpose.

For us, these portraits that endure gives us a glimpse into the determined, sometimes eager and brazen, individuals who fought in the most divisive wars in US history. It puts a face to the conflict like no other. For more information on Civil War Portraits, Yale University has an online exhibition here.

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

June 6, 1863

Murfreesboro Tenn

June the 6th 1863

Dear Sarah,

I take the preasant opportunity to rite a few lines to you in answer to your very cinde leter that I received on Wednesday. I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well and hope when this comes to hand it ma finde you all well as I am thankful today that I am well and so are all the rest of the boys but Iseral and I haven’t heard from him since I rote last. We are still leying in our old camp with 7 days rations in our haversacks and napsacks redy to march at any time. Their was hevy cannonading in the direction of Franklin day before yesterday but we haven’t heard what the fracus was yet but we get the Nashville papers every day and they will be hear in a few minits and I think it will give a detail of the afare.
Well this is about 4 o’clock today. Papers states that thier has ben a fite at Franklin but give {illegible}.

I received your letter of day before yesterday a little while ago in witch you stated that Robert was wounded. I hope that he is not hurt very bad and I hope he will get home for I know that he can be taken a great deal better care of at home than he can in a hospittle. I hope you will hear the particulars about him before you rite again. I wasn’t expecting a letter from yo today as I had got one from you this week but you neadent think that I got mad about it for I would be glad to hear from you every day. I dreamed last nite of being with you and clasping my arms around your waist and prest you to my boosem and having a long talk with you. You ma guge of my disappointment. When I woke and found myself griled up in my dog tent but my prayer to God is that the time will soon come when I with many more can enjoy that great pleasure ma god speed the day.

If any thing thing should turn up that we should have to leave hear and you shouldn’t get a letter for some time you will know the reason for when we go their is no telling when I will get to rite. Be of good chear. I don’t think the rebs can hold out mutch longer the way they ar getting whiped on every side but I must clsoe for this time. I looked for a letter from your Pah this weak but I expect he is very buisy at this time. Tell the old gentleman I haven’t for got hime and I would give 5 cents at least to se him but I must quit so good by for this time.

Wm Forder to a loving wife S. A Forder and all the rest rite rite.

Note:  The part marked as illegible was a small bit of writing crunched in at the end of the first page to complete his sentence.  It runs upwards to the end of the page and is nearly impossible to read. 

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 24, 1863

May the 24th 63

Dear Sarah,

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.

Turn over.

Page 4th

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.

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